LIBERALS AREN’T LIKELY TO CHANGE THEIR MIND ABOUT NATIONAL PARK DESPITE RELEASE OF FEASIBILITY STUDY
Posted on 23 May 2012 by admin
While many people who support the concept of a national park for this area are likely very excited with the release of the Proposed National Park Reserve for the South Okangan-Lower Similkameen Feasibility Assessment last week, their enthusiasm should be tempered with the reality not much is likely to change any time soon.
The reality is the current Liberal government, under the leadership of Premier Christy Clark, has shown no inclination whatsoever to change its mind about the national park issue in this area and appears more adamant than ever that talks to resume discussions about the park are not a priority in any way, shape or form.
As everyone remotely interested in this subject can recall, Minister of Environment Terry Lake shocked everyone when he suddenly announced back in January that the province was withdrawing its support for the national park following almost a decade of negotiations and discussions between Parks Canada and various stakeholders.
Those stakeholders included First Nations leaders, ranchers, anglers, hunters, ATV enthusiasts and the public at large.
Lake was very evasive when questioned about the government’s decision, simply stating there was no longer sufficient public support for the national park and issued a terse decision making it clear the government had decided to withdraw support and had no intention of changing its mind.
As Doug Brown, president of the Oliver Osoyoos Naturalists Club, stated so bluntly, he doesn’t expect the Liberal government to make this issue a priority any time soon.
One of the few things people who have strong opinions about the national park can agree on is this subject is sure to become a major election issue when and if a provincial election is held in the next year or two.
Negotiations relating to a national park took place over a 10-year period, which took a lot of time, effort and energy by a large number of people. To have the government of the day make a decision without explanation and expect this issue to just disappear is simply not going to happen. Those in favour or against the national park should be very upset this same government tried to use all of its power to suppress the information contained in the feasibility study. This was a taxpayer-funded document and should have been released the day following the Liberals decision to withdraw support. The Liberals should be ashamed it took so much effort for it to be released.