Statement by Michael Lee on Wildfires

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Vancouver - Fires are burning across British Columbia in a wildfire season that is shaping up to be the worst in many years. During my leadership campaign travels this summer to meet with BC Liberal Party members and the public, I've heard major concerns about safety, whether our government is doing enough, and why Premier John Horgan won't allow a state of emergency to be called.

Calling a state of emergency isn't just a symbolic step. It gives many additional tools to the government to help control the spread of fires. The NDP knows this. In 2018, the NDP's own public safety minister said - about calling a state of emergency during that year's wildfire season - that "taking this step will further ensure we can protect the public, property and infrastructure, and assist with firefighting efforts."

Nearly every local government stakeholder in affected areas is pleading for a state of emergency from the provincial NDP government. Why won't the Premier and his team take action and invest all resources possible into fighting these fires?

The Thompson Nicola Regional District board voted 26-0 (unanimously) to call on the government to declare a state of emergency.

The Mayor of Barriere told media yesterday that "[he's] not trying to raise alarm bells, but we better get on it right now or sh*t’s gonna hit the fan."

The Mayor of Clearwater says "It’s time for a Provincial State of Emergency on Wildfires.  The forecast is horrendous, hot and no rain for 2 weeks. Most local BC Wildfire resources have been shifted out of our district. Time to act, not react. All hands on deck."

Brett Mineer from Radio NL in Kamloops asked: "Are we not in a provincial state of emergency due to wildfires because it's not smokey in the Lower Mainland? Serious question. Easy to ignore if you're not choking when you breathe."

BC needs true leadership during this emergency. The NDP is ignoring this issue and is out of touch with the needs of the BC Interior. Please join me and my BC Liberal Party colleagues in publicly calling on the government to do the right thing and respond to the urgent needs of local communities - before it's too late.

Michael Lee
BC Liberal Party Leadership Candidate & MLA

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About Michael

Michael Lee is a BC Liberal Party leadership candidate and the MLA for Vancouver-Langara. Before entering politics, Michael was a prominent business lawyer in Vancouver, where he worked for 20 years with forestry, mining, energy, and technology companies across BC. He also has a strong record of community service for over 30 years, including with social service, educational, and children and youth organizations. A son of immigrants, Michael was born and raised in Vancouver. He and his wife Christina have three young adult children.

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