Another year passes with no meaningful consultation on caribou recovery.

The start of a new year — particularly a new decade — is always a time of remembering anniversaries and deadlines. Of looking back at where we have come from and where we are headed. In the North and throughout rural B.C., 2020 marks yet another year without any meaningful consultation on caribou recovery.

The previous BC Liberal government committed $27 million to enhance caribou recovery in early 2017 and yet, nearly three years later, the NDP have made little progress on the file. At every opportunity, they have frustrated locals and shut communities out of a process that will directly affect them, including the Peace River Regional District.

In the few occasions where the NDP government has taken the time to engage with the public, they have ignored the feedback and gone forward with plans that are set to kill jobs and shut down key parts of B.C.’s northern economy.

It is clear that this government has little understanding of the realities of life in rural B.C. and the impacts of their decisions on the resource-dependent communities that are most affected by their caribou recovery plans.

Instead, they choose to ignore expert recommendations from the Community Liaison, Blair Lekstrom — who they appointed themselves — as well as the feedback from communities and, instead, chose to plough forward with their own agenda.

My constituents made their voices clear, through petitions carrying over 12,000 signatures and outreach, we called for greater public participation in the consultation process.

It is my hope that in 2020, John Horgan learns from his mistakes and finally holds meaningful consultation on the ground in the regions where people will be directly impacted.

Rural B.C. is tired of being ignored by this government, and if John Horgan and his NDP government want to convince people that they care about anywhere other than the Lower Mainland, it is high time that they start listening.