Statement from Conservative BC leader Trevor Bolin, regarding the Auditor General’s report on the management of Conservation Lands
What we see is a Ministry which, through successive governments, has not updated its missions or goals in over 30 years!
Conservatives in BC find it disturbing to hear that the Office of the Auditor General has, not for the first time, found NDP Premier John Horgan’s government to be failing in its obligations.
Topping the list of issues, regarding the Management of Conservation Lands by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD), was this comment:
“We concluded that the ministry had not effectively managed the Conservation Lands Program to conserve important habitat.”
Overall, this audit shows a lack of oversight and management by the government of the day, and of big government in general. It speaks of an absence of overall direction including collaboration with First Nations, plans which are neither current nor approved, and an inadequate inventory of conservation lands.
Furthermore, there is a failure by Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations, led by Minister Katrine Conroy, to monitor the effectiveness of existing programs.
The Auditor General’s report shows this government ministry, with the power to take land away from public access, and one responsible for protecting habitat for some of our most at risk species, doesn’t even have an accurate inventory of the lands they are employed to protect!
What we see is a Ministry which, through successive governments, has not updated its missions or goals in over 30 years! There are no performance measurements, targets or public reports that can be used to assess its progress.
And finally, this current NDP government has failed to support Ministry staff in collaborating with Indigenous peoples when securing or managing conservation lands.
Given what appears to be the abject failure of the Forests Lands and Natural Resource Development ministry to effectively manage conservation lands, it’s time for that to become a priority.
ADDITIONAL/ EXPANDED NOTES:
- The Audit seems biased from an environmentalist’s point of view.
- Grizzly bears are listed as a species at risk. The Talhtan Government and many other groups have called for a reversal of the moratorium on the Grizzly bear hunt. Populations are surging across the province and having a detrimental effect on ungulates as well as posing risks to human life. Ungulate populations are low and need protecting, if we are to use a science based and Indigenous knowledge-based approach to protecting the ungulate populations the first step is a proper predator management approach. The article found at https://www.interior-news.com/news/northern-b-c-first-nations-call-for-reversal-of-grizzly-bear-hunting-ban/ provides the position of the Talhtan people.
- The Ministry needs to rank habitat by importance, which will ensure the most critical habitat is being protected in the appropriate manner. Without a ranking system, habitat that is already protected in sufficient quantity may be the priority, while habitat lacking in quantity may be of less priority, resulting in the FLNORD Ministry staff focusing their efforts in the wrong direction.
- The Ministry has not updated their missions and goals for over 30 years. The Ministry also does not have a way to measure their performance. This is unacceptable and seems to be a theme in our government ministries under the big political parties of the day. BC’s Conservatives actually care about our province, environment, and British Columbians, not just about keeping and maintaining a comfy taxpayer funded job.
- Although the Ministry states that it will work collaboratively with Indigenous peoples it has failed to support staff to collaborate with Indigenous peoples when securing and managing conservation lands; one of the core principles of the Ministry’s goals.
- The Ministry does not have an accurate inventory of the Conservation Lands and its data is not consistent or readily available. If a Ministry is capable of taking away people’s livelihoods such as grazing lands, and also responsible for protecting entire species of animals, at least they could have an accurate inventory of the protected lands.
- The program lacks performance measures and targets against which to assess its progress. A Ministry that can remove crown land from public access while being responsible for protecting multiple species of animals and their habitat has no way to assess its progress and has not reported publicly the effectiveness of the program, failing the people of British Columbia.