Wilkinson Calls on Government to Listen to Communities

Andrew Wilkinson, Leader of the Official Opposition, charged the NDP government of a failure to listen to the views of all citizens and local governments in an address to UBCM delegates. 

Wilkinson said a protest on Wednesday that brought 250 logging trucks to downtown Vancouver demonstrates as the acute level of frustration in forest dependent communities following the closure or curtailing of 89 mills since January. The Opposition Leader blamed B.C.’s high stumpage fees as displacing forest activity to Alberta.

NDP Government policies that either increased local government costs (Employer Health Tax) or limited local decision making (Speculation Tax) also came under criticism. Wilkinson also referenced pushback in some communities regarding the citing of modular units or the dissatisfaction among affected communities Mountain Cariboo Consultations as examples of the government not listening to rural governments and citizens.

Wilkinson touched on the issue of mental health and addictions and the impact that the opioid-overdose-epidemic has had on the lives of all British Columbians.  “As a former doctor, I know that addiction is first and foremost a medical issue, so let’s treat it that way. People need healthcare that includes treatment and recovery options,” said Wilkinson. “We need to treat people with the dignity they deserve and find pathways to get people off drugs.

Wilkinson closed by reiterating that higher levels of government need to continue to listen to the people of British Columbia and the local governments that govern their daily lives.  “If any of us stop listening we become irrelevant to our citizens.”

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