Not a time to back down on Caribou plan

DAWSON CREEK (April 24,2019) – Local MLAs Mike Bernier and Dan Davies are congratulating the people of the Peace for raising their voices and expressing their concerns on the caribou protection plans being imposed by John Horgan and the NDP. However, both MLAs want the public to keep the pressure up.

“The voice of the Peace was so loud because of the incredible work by the Concerned Citizens for Caribou Recovery and others who collected more than 30,000 signatures on their petition,” said Mike Bernier, MLA for Peace River South. “It was one of the highlights of my entire time in public life to deliver that petition on the floor of the Legislature on April 10 and fight for our region.”

Residents in the Peace River region are calling on John Horgan the NDP to halt the process, conduct broader consultations, implement economic and socio-economic impact assessments of the proposals, and provide baseline scientific data on the proposed closures.

“I’ve been working hard with my B.C. Liberal colleagues to ensure backcountry users and industry have a voice at the table,” said Dan Davies, MLA for Peace River North, “I do not believe that a one month extension is enough and government needs to ensure all stakeholders have been engaged prior to imposing this agreement.”

“Premier John Horgan created this mess and has been taking the Peace region for granted,” Davies added. “He figures he can make decisions from Victoria that affect our lives without even listening to our concerns. After years of never visiting our region, Horgan finally acknowledged the issue, flew into town, and said ‘my bad’. All this without committing to anything to reassure the people of the Peace that the lifestyle we enjoy will be protected.”

“There is still plenty to hear on all of these topics,” Bernier added. “The Government planned community meetings have been a farce. People in the Peace have been calling for meaningful consultation for over 18 months and John Horgan ignored those reasonable requests. At this stage of the planning process, Horgan has now decided to add an extra month of consultations. The people of the Peace don’t deserve smoke and mirrors, they deserve to have their voices heard.”

Both Peace Region MLAs are committed to keeping this issue as a top priority.

“Until we get the answers, we will continue to tell John Horgan that the Peace region deserves better from him and his NDP government,” Bernier continued. “What’s at stake is enjoyment of the lifestyle that is the reason why so many of us call the Peace our home. There are also serious concerns about the resource activity that builds our communities, supports our families, and sends tax dollars to be spent far away in Victoria.”

“We will continue to stand up for the people of the Peace, Davies concluded. “This includes calling on Blair Lekstrom to release his report directly to the public, rather than quietly sending it to the Premier. If we are to rebuild any trust between the Peace and Victoria, we demand transparency.”

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