Too little, too late as lack of NDP action on the forestry crisis hurts rural B.C.

VANDERHOOF (August 15, 2019) – After failing to take any meaningful action to address the forestry crisis, John Horgan and the NDP are only now getting around to finally asking the federal government for support, something the BC Liberals called for months ago.

“There are steps that the provincial government should have taken months ago, including asking for immediate federal assistance,” says BC Liberal forestry critic and Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad. “My concern is that the province waited until ten weeks before a federal election before it finally decided to act. Layoffs and mill shutdowns have been happening for months and the provincial government has done nothing to help workers and their families except ask Ottawa for help at the very last minute.”

Calls for action have been coming from all over. A month ago the United Way wrote to Premier Horgan with an urgent appeal for $3 million to help small communities deal with mill shutdowns, while 21 mayors in communities devastated by the crisis also wrote directly to the federal government with an appeal for assistance after expressing their frustration with a lack of action on the part of John Horgan and the NDP.

“The fact that municipal leaders and regional districts had to try and handle this crisis alone without any leadership from the provincial government is unacceptable,” Rustad adds. “We’ve had a very light wildfire season and Forests Minister Doug Donaldson should have been at the forefront of this crisis, instead he’s done nothing.”

In June the BC Liberals released a five-point action plan that included engaging the federal government.

“The NDP has only just acted on one aspect of the BC Liberal five-point action plan and much more needs to be done to stem further job loss,” Rustad concludes.

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