BC United Statement on Bill 31

VICTORIA (November 1, 2023) – BC United Shadow Minister for Emergency Management and Climate Readiness Lorne Doerkson has released the following statement on the passing of Bill 31, the Emergency Management Amendment Act:

“First and foremost, this NDP bill represents a missed opportunity to address the pressing concerns of British Columbians faced with climate-related disasters. This policy does nothing to mitigate the impacts people will face during the next wildfire season, heat dome, drought or flood.

“After six years of work, the NDP have put forward an incomplete piece of legislation that does little to alter this government’s failed approach to disaster management, one marked by inaction and crippling bureaucratic delays.

“Bill 31, overlooks the emergencies that British Columbians have endured over the past two years, offering little relief or tangible change for those affected. It does not facilitate quicker recovery for those displaced from their homes, leaves the existing gaps in disaster financial assistance and compensation, and neglects a much-needed overhaul of the BC Wildfire Service. Further, this bill includes several compliance provisions that allow for very punitive measures with minimal detail about how they will be imposed.

“We simply cannot support this incomplete legislation that fails to deliver the supports and reassurance British Columbians need and deserve.

“It’s time for a bold new approach to disaster management that protects our communities, environment, and economy. BC United has proposed a comprehensive plan to overhaul wildfire management and disaster response that includes modernized firefighting services, leveraging local expertise, empowering local response teams, and swift support for evacuees. This is the kind of approach to climate-related disasters that will make a real difference in the lives of everyday people across B.C.”