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Posted: March 31, 2019

Mafioso-style governance must be stopped

Letter to the Editor

Consultation and engagement are words that conjure up images of collaboration, equality, and well-represented regional decision-making. Yet it seems not so with our current government.

The issue of the loss of our caribou herds in British Columbia is a troubling one, as these magnificent creatures are an iconic symbol of Canada and deeply important to our First Nations. A holistic framework for the long-term success of our wildlife population is what this province has been lacking for a long time.

This is an issue that myself and the BC Liberal caucus have been very vocal about. We have asked repeatedly why the NDP has not kept its promise of consultation and engagement from all local and regional government, industry, user groups and stakeholders. We have been met with virtual silence by the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

Now, after months of an extremely closed process that saw absolutely no consultation outside of the Minister’s circle, a draft plan to the Federal government has been issued and now it seems the province wants to engage with the above noted groups. Though I am pleased to know that consultations will finally take place, there is also the added caveat that this needs to be done in just over a month. This is a slap to the face of transparency and public consultation, especially to those groups that will be directly and financially impacted by this eleventh hour public outreach.

We have our natural resource sector to consider. Recreation, ranching, farming, tourism and all the things that make B.C. attractive and financially healthy. We do not want to be on the outside looking in on what makes rural B.C. a great place to live.

Has the management plan already been struck? Does the government value local consultation or is this just merely window dressing and a quick check-box to show due diligence? Does our current government have some unpaid favours to make whole with some certain controlling organizations? I think we all know the answers to this and we should be concerned and very upset.

This has become a very scary pattern this government has been implementing since being put into power. They firmly believe that the less say constituents have and the more say government has is the best policy. From taking away landowner rights, to forcing workers to join special unions, to taking away the free enterprise system, this government has a clear agenda.

If the government gets its way, it will be in power for a long, long time with their paid off buddies and special interest groups. This is something the NDP has accused former governments of, except in this case it is a hard-baked plan that involves complicated signed agreements and federal tie-ins that would take decades to reverse. We need to put a stop to this Mafioso-style form of governance before it is too late.

Tom Shypitka,

MLA for Kootenay East

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