Last week up in Fort St. John a meeting between First Nations, industry and the provincial government quickly turned into a meeting First Nations alone after first the provincial officials and then the company reps were asked to leave the room.
At issue was the unexpected announcement that Victoria had issued an Order in Council removing requirements for environmental review processes in cases of sweet gas drilling or resort ski hill developments.
According to one radio news report this meeting was the first many of those in attendance had heard of this change and they were not impressed with the lack of consultation.
Getting tossed from the room must have been a bit embarrassing for the provincial minions who had to get on the phone to the Premier’s office to let her know that her dreams of Liquid Natural Gas funding the future prosperity of the province weren’t going anywhere for a while.
The NDP jumped right in with the observation that, “The chaotic approach to environmental assessment changes creates an atmosphere of distrust and uncertainty for communities, First Nations and industry.”
This isn’t an isolated incident. The Liberal government just passed a bill weakening protections for our parks, and they are trying to make it easier to develop farmland as well. In both cases the government failed to consult First Nations and the broader public about the changes.
Corky Evans may have been right last month when he told a Grand Forks meeting about proposed changes to the ALR that, because the BC Liberals didn’t expect to win last May, they simply got into power without a platform.
Consequently they appear to be grabbing any scheme they can find off the shelves at the Fraser Institute and are trying to paint it as a mandate.