MP Calls for Feds to Meet With Those Impacted by Cariboo Wildfires
Prince George, B.C. – The Provincial State of Emergency declared because of the wildfire situation may be over but Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty is calling on the Federal Government to work directly with those impacted by the fires as the region moves into recovery mode.
Doherty rose in the House of Parliament yesterday and delivered the grim statistics about the impact the wildfires have had on his riding. 30 thousand cattle lost, more than a million hectares burned, homes and businesses lost.
“We may not be in the headlines anymore, but we are still burning” says Doherty. He says the Prime Minister has struck a Ministerial committee to assist with recovery, but Doherty says the Committee is not meeting with the right people “They say they’ve held some round table meetings, that they’ve met with leaders, but last week I spent time in the riding meeting with Mayors and talking with the Regional District and they haven’t been included, so who are they talking to? ”
He says at the very least, the committee should be meeting with the local leaders “who are tasked with leading our communities and putting lives back together.” He says he wanted to add some sobering facts so the Government would understand just how devastating the wildfires have been to the Cariboo.”I want to make sure, that while we may not be on the front page , I will not let our communities in rural British Columbia be forgotten.”
Doherty says there are many families and industries that have been devastated. So far , there has been no dollar figure mentioned on what might be needed to help the region recover, but Doherty says the recovery in Fort McMurray was said to have more than $10 billion dollars in economic loss and damage “You can’t compare the two incidents, but our tourism industry, our agriculture industry, our forestry industry, mining, small mom and pops, communities that already have a hard time recruiting and retaining families. We need to see what we can do to ensure we can recruit professionals, recruit families and retain families in the region.”
He says while it’s hard to put a price tag on the losses, it is imperative the community leaders are part of the discussion “Those leaders have to be at the table when our Prime Minster or Ministerial Committee is having the discussion. We need those discussions going on now, we can’t afford any lag time, we need to have the discussion now so we can look a the short term, the mid term and what the long term future looks like and what are the measures we can put in place to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”