December 20, 2018 – Leader of the Official Opposition Andrew Wilkinson is calling on the NDP to provide answers as they refuse to release their plan for the proposed mountain caribou conservation agreement.
“I find it extremely disappointing that over the past nine months, British Columbians have been kept in the dark on what the NDP is planning for mountain caribou,” said Wilkinson. “The minister responsible is from rural British Columbia and has completely evaded the issue. Efforts to save remaining caribou populations could affect everything from industry to recreational activity and yet there is no information available for the public. Everyone wants to protect caribou and their habitat, but we need discussions at the local level to come up with solutions that can work for all communities, and these just aren’t happening.”
Sixteen BC Liberal MLAs from across the province wrote to Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, and George Heyman, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Strategy, requesting that the government immediately starts a broad public consultation process on this issue. Local MLAs have been advocating for a meeting with Minister Donaldson for months to no avail. Wilkinson insists that First Nations, local governments and stakeholders in the resource and tourism industries should have the opportunity to voice their concerns and be a part of the caribou recovery process.
“We want a solution that is based on science and takes into account all of the land uses that could be affected by a heavy-handed response by the NDP,” Wilkinson added. “Local governments have been calling for greater involvement since the UBCM meeting last September and like local MLAs, have been ignored. The preservation and survival of caribou populations is important but the general public has to be a part of the solution.”