KAMLOOPS (July 20, 2021) – After weeks of wildfires raging throughout British Columbia, Boundary-Similkameen MLA Roly Russell and Vernon-Monashee MLA Harwinder Sandhu remain silent on the wildfire threats to their communities and their government’s reluctance to declare a provincial State of Emergency (SOE) and properly allocate resources to B.C.’s wildfire response.
“The Southern Interior is on fire. I’m shocked that with wildfires on their doorsteps, these Interior NDP MLAs are unwilling to speak out and demand action from their own government to help their communities with a State of Emergency and additional resources to protect people and property from the flames and smoke,” said Todd Stone, MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson. “These NDP MLAs are missing in action despite a chorus of calls for a State of Emergency from constituents on the ground desperate for help from the government as well as municipal officials and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. Even the BC Wildfire Service has said they need more resources.”
The Official Opposition first called for a provincial State of Emergency on July 5 and have since been joined by mayors, councillors, regional districts, and First Nations leaders demanding action from John Horgan and the NDP who have steadfastly resisted such calls from those impacted by the wildfires.
“What we’re seeing is a tragic lack of leadership here. John Horgan in Victoria has refused to call a State of Emergency for weeks and his Interior MLAs are just toeing the party line while over 300 wildfires rage throughout B.C.,” added Stone. “An increasing number of British Columbians have been forced to evacuate in the region and are in desperate need of places to stay. They deserve a provincial government and dedicated local MLAs that have their backs and are focused on keeping people safe. We cannot delay any longer, people need help now.”
If declared, a State of Emergency helps heighten public awareness and allows government, among other things, to call on greater resources, cut red tape that slows responses and equipment allocation, procure essential supplies, and deploy qualified personnel from throughout the province as emergency responders.