By PETER MILOBAR
MLA, Kamloops-North Thompson
THE FALL SITTING of the Legislature brings another opportunity for the Official Opposition to ask tough questions of government and get the answers British Columbians are seeking. It also presents an opportunity for John Horgan and the NDP to finally own up to some of their mistakes, instead of continuing to duck and dodge.
The most egregious evasion of responsibility came during this summer’s unprecedented heat wave. The premier brushed off hundreds of deaths of vulnerable British Columbians by saying “fatalities are a part of life” and that “there’s a level of personal responsibility” — basically, a polite way of blaming others instead of himself for failing to communicate appropriate warnings to the public.
The reality is that a 2019 Strategic Climate Risk Assessment, among other reports, noted these fatalities and other dangerous outcomes were a possibility, yet the government ignored the warnings.
Nearly 600 people lost their lives, many of them vulnerable seniors who lived alone. It’s incredibly tragic and heartbreaking, and their loved ones left behind find no comfort in John Horgan’s finger-pointing.
The premier has also refused to take responsibility for the lack of progress on the opioid crisis which continues to claim far too many lives — 1,204 so far this year. Since setting up a standalone Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions more than four years ago, the NDP has continually claimed it would change the trajectory of mental health and addictions.
The opposition also plans to hold government to account for its failed programs and policies related to the COVID-19 pandemic. While we have been supportive of public health orders from the start, we have been asking questions about John Horgan and the NDP’s botched economic recovery programs for individuals and businesses — as well as their confusing messaging and lack of data transparency, which has caused needless stress and anxiety for many British Columbians.
Wildfires have also been a tremendous source of stress for people. It’s been nearly 100 days since the community of Lytton was destroyed by fire, yet residents still don’t have full access to their properties and are wondering where they will go as winter approaches.
Those who lost homes in Monte Lake and the Paxton Valley and in some Kelowna communities, also have questions and want to know government has their back.
Indeed, there is much that John Horgan and the NDP need to answer for this session. They have been in power long enough — they need to take responsibility for their significant missteps and for their constant delays in taking action on the issues people care about.
British Columbians deserve a responsive and helpful government, not one that simply plays the ‘blame game’ when the going gets tough.
Peter Milobar is the MLA for Kamloops-North Thompson.