April 26, 2019 – Prince George, British Columbia
Parliamentary Secretary Sean Fraser issued the following statement today on behalf of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna:
“We are working with the Province of British Columbia, Indigenous leaders, communities and industry in the Peace River region to reach a constructive resolution that ensures the protection and recovery of the Southern Mountain Caribou , while also supporting local workers and communities dependent on resource development. Urgent action is needed to ensure this iconic species are not driven to extinction in northeastern B.C. The Government of Canada is also standing up for local jobs and sustainable economic development in the Peace River region.
“This week, we heard directly from many people in the region who have serious concerns about how their jobs and communities could be affected by the proposed measures. We acknowledge and understand those concerns, and we are working closely with B.C. and all parties involved to proactively address those concerns in any measures to protect the caribou.
“British Columbians know firsthand that a strong economy depends on a healthy environment, and they expect governments to take serious action to protect species at risk. Decades of inaction by successive provincial governments have resulted in the critical situation we face today. The Government of Canada is required by law to step in to protect species at risk if other measures taken by the responsible province are not effective.
“It’s clear to all parties involved that, if we don’t act now, we could lose the caribou forever. This is why the Government of Canada has invested significantly in conservation measures for southern mountain caribou, and is currently seeking input on draft agreements with the Province of B.C. and with B.C. and several First Nations communities.
“In particular, the Saulteau and West Moberly First Nations have shown critical leadership in working with B.C. and Canada on solutions to protect the southern mountain caribou. I am profoundly disappointed that some individuals are trying to spread misinformation and stoke division and discrimination in an effort to block action to protect caribou in the region.
“The Government of Canada is committed to working with the province, concerned citizens, community leaders, Indigenous peoples and industry to promote informed, inclusive and productive public engagement on this issue. We will continue to seek public input on this critical issue until May 31.”