MLA Dan Davies – Weekly Column – No change on the caribou issue

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After months of advocating for a seat at the table, the Peace River Regional District learnt they were being left out in the cold as the NDP government works toward a conservation and recovery plan for caribou. After promises from John Horgan and the NDP to include everyone – especially local government – it comes as no surprise but complete disappointment to see a key local government body left out of the consultation process.

For months, negotiations had been held behind closed doors. Not until the community quickly discovered John Horgan’s so-called consultation process amounted to no input from local governments and residents, did the NDP mount little more than a public-relations campaign to try and sooth the outrage felt by many throughout the region.

The Lekstrom report commissioned by Horgan clearly outlined the need for government to halt moving forward with the Partnership Agreement without broader engagement for public support. Specifically citing to include the McLeod lake Indian Band and the Lheidli-T’enneh First Nation in particular, as well as local governments, and key stakeholders.

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It has become clear though, nothing has changed since Community Liaison Blair Lekstrom delivered his extensive recommendations to government. How can the government move forward with any plan, without having a key stakeholder, the Peace River Regional District, included in the planning process?

The news confirms our worst fears about the phoney consultation process; the NDP clearly never took this process seriously in the first place. For months, the Government cancelled meetings at the last minute and failed to consult fully with key stakeholders, now they are repeating their mistakes all over again and expecting the public to think differently.

My constituents made their voices clear, through petitions and outreach, we called for greater public participation in the consultation process.

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Everyone wants to find the right solution that works to protect endangered wildlife. Yet John Horgan and the NDP continue to shut the door on proper consultation.

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