An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
AFTER MUCH RESISTANCE, the provincial government has finally declared a state of emergency, effective today, due to the wildfires consuming the Interior.
According to Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, the decision “ensures federal, provincial and local resources can be delivered in a co-ordinated response to protect the public.”
Well, gosh, that’s what a growing chorus of leadership groups and the general public from this part of the province have been telling the government for at least two weeks. Until now, the answer has been that all necessary resources were being provided without need for a state of emergency.
Warnings from on-the-ground responders that B.C. is woefully short of firefighting personnel and resources, and the serious shortage of accommodation for evacuees, fell on deaf ears in Victoria until yesterday.
But, says Farnworth, the state of emergency will secure the necessary spaces should a mass evacuation become necessary. While Farnworth had doubled down on the NDP government’s refusal to declare a state of emergency only the day before, his rationale now for doing what should have been done in the first place is that we’re in for more bad weather.
More crummy weather coming? Thanks, Captain Obvious.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.