NEWS RELEASE · 23rd August 2010
BC NDP Caucus
An explosive new report from B.C.’s Auditor General shows that the B.C. Liberal government is failing to protect the provinces parks, say New Democrats.
“This report shows how the B.C. Liberal government is failing to protect B.C.'s treasured Class A parks and ecological reserves,” said New Democrat environment critic Rob Fleming. “This is just one more glaring example of the B.C. Liberal government’s environmental hypocrisy.”
The Auditor General’s report set out to answer three key questions about the government’s commitment to conserving ecological integrity in the park system. These questions were:
1. Does the ministry have a vision, plans and operational policies for conserving ecological integrity in the parks and protected areas system?
2. Is the ministry ensuring that ecological integrity is being conserved in the province’s Class A parks and ecological reserves?
3. Is the ministry reporting on the state of ecological integrity within the parks and protected areas system?
In every case the Auditor General’s answer was a resounding ‘no,’ noted Fleming.
“Just a few years ago, the B.C. Liberal premier promised to make our parks the best managed in the world. It's clear from this report that in ten years the B.C. Liberals haven’t even done the basic scientific work necessary for informed parks planning and are failing to make and implement plans to stop the decline of species at risk of extinction." said Fleming.
“If we want to protect species and ensure that generations after us can enjoy the natural beauty of our province, we have to do better.”
The report found that the B.C. Liberals have failed to offer significant protection for some of the most endangered ecosystems in the province, including coastal douglas-fir, and bunchgrass ecosystems. It also showed that while the B.C. Liberals like to talk about climate change impacting our parks, they have taken no action to help protect them from its negative impacts.
“According to the Auditor General’s report, staff in the environment ministry are saying they don’t have the resources to properly manage our parks and ecological reserves,” said Fleming. “Given that between 2008 and 2010, the B.C. Liberals cut the budget for parks and protected areas by $6.95 million, or 18.4 per cent, it’s no wonder that our parks are deteriorating.”