What They Wrought on this Fine Province


The Liberal Party of British Columbia left a disastrous legacy that reverberates today even after they've been run out of office.

Among other things, during the reign of Gordon Campbell and his successor, Christie Clark, the provincial Libs offloaded responsibility for disaster management onto municipalities.

In 2003 (the Campbell years), the government transferred responsibility for flood management to municipalities.

The offloading has resulted in a hodgepodge of regimes across the province. In Metro Vancouver alone, for example, there are 21 municipal authorities with varying capacity to deal with the growing threats of extreme weather.

During Christie Clark's tenure as premier, the provincial Libs sloughed off responsibility for managing sea level rise, again onto municipalities. I discussed the situation with our town's engineer. It was a bit shocking to learn that each municipality was responsible for hiring its own consultants to estimate sea level rise in the decades ahead, storm surges and the impact of early spring snowcap melting. There was no central planning. Victoria washed its hands of the whole business. Some smaller municipalities, I was told, couldn't afford to hire experts and were winging it. I guess that's what you get for electing rightwing, "free enterprise" governments with a fondness for shady dealing.

We finally sent the BC Liberals packing and brought the New Dems to power in 2017.  They would sort out these problems, right? Wrong. From his energy policy to the Site C dam, to 'old growth' forestry, Horgan sometimes deals from the bottom of the deck. Oh, but they've got sometime in the works.

Aimee Harper, the Emergency Management B.C. spokesperson, said the province’s new flood strategy is anticipated in mid-2022. She also said the province aims to introduce new legislation next fall that will modernize the Emergency Program Act. “This will ensure there’s adequate time to develop the legislation, considering the pause we had to take in July and August during peak wildfire activity and response,” she said.

That the government had to halt its work on emergency-management legislation because of a weather-related emergency is telling. And the situation in B.C., as elsewhere, is only going to get worse.

Now we're being warned of heavy rains returning this week arriving at Haida Gwaii before reaching the mainland and heading south to what we might consider renaming "Disaster Central."


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