Caribou Recovery Plan petitions arrive in Victoria

Taylor MacIntyre
04/10/2019

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An update on the controversial Caribou Recovery Plan. 

Earlier this morning (April 10, 2019), Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier, members of the 'Concerned Citizens for Caribou Recovery,' and representatives of the Peace Region, presented their petition of more than 30,000 signatures to the provincial government in Victoria. 

The petition asks the government to halt the closure of the backcountry - designed for caribou preservation - as critics say the draft plan lacked consultation with locals. 

But, as we know, there was input from First Nations. 

The opposition says proposed backcountry closures will lead to massive job loss - specifically in forestry.

"We asked them to give us science and data that would support the data and the closures and the hard plans and what they were looking at doing in our community. They didn't do that either, so the petition resulted in about 35-thousand signatures," says Kathleen Connolly, member of the 'Concerned Citizens for Caribou Recovery.'

The B.C. government says it's creating a 'Made-in-B.C' solution - after the Liberals' patchwork efforts - so the federal government won't impose a solution under the 'Species at Risk' act.

Following this meeting and Question Period in the B.C. Legislature, CJDC-TV spoke with Peace River South MLA, Mike Bernier.

He says the petitions now sit with the Premier and ministers. 

"The next steps obviously will be to keep pressuring the government." Bernier adds, "We can't just take our foot off the gas pedal right now down here in Victoria. We need to make sure as over the next couple of weeks unfold, as consultation around the province continues on, that we continue to hammer home that they have not done an adequate job, that they haven't made decisions based on science and facts, and until they actually stop, and slow down on this process, I don't think we have any choice but to keep the pressure on."

MLA Bernier says that during the meeting and Question Period, the Premier and Ministers were defensive - he fears a decision has already been made.

"What I'm really hoping is that Cabinet and the Premier will actually look at this, hear the pressure, and understand that more work needs to be done. Everybody is saying that we need to do our part - protecting the caribou habitat." Bernier continues, "But at the end of the day, we also need to figure out how to co-exist together. So, hopefully, the Premier and his government will realize the error in their ways and that they have to really think this through before any drastic decisions are made that will negatively affect our economy."

CJDC-TV will continue to follow this story through the coming weeks and provide updates as they become available. 

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