Monday, August 16, 2021

As much of the BC interior burns, Opposition Liberals ask where's the Premier?

A large portion of British Columbia came waiting to see what comes next, that out of another weekend of evacuations and a non stop wildfire work by a very dedicated group of responders. 

The last 24 hours providing some some alarming and dramatic visuals of wind fuelled fire racing down mountainsides, closing a major provincial highway and threatening one of the provinces largest urban areas in the Okanagan.


The overnight drama gave cause to what came across as a rather pedestrian social media message ostensibly from Premier John Horgan, which also featured an assist from North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice, the Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparation who has offered up sporadic comment through the fire season on social media. 

The Premier's missive one that was worded in such generic fashion, that it immediately caught the attention of the Opposition BC Liberals.

Such was the tone of that social media theme and a few others of the weekend that the Opposition party  seems to have determined that it may have been more of a communication team missive than the personal concerns of Mr. Horgan, spurring on a question that has rolled through the day of exactly where is the Premier as the Okanagan area continues to burn.

With a sudden interest in the Premier's whereabouts the provincial media groups launched a parade of inquiries of the Premier's office through the day today, finally receiving a brief update this afternoon that notes the Premier is away on some vacation time with the family, destined for a return on Thursday.

The text of a statement delivered to BC Media today that outlines
the Premier's current status

The update on the Premier's summer plans, not exactly resonating positively with the Liberals, who have been busy this afternoon offering up their thoughts on the Premier's holiday scheduling, the current wildfire situation and how the Provincial government has approached it.

Today's messaging mis-step from the NDP government comes following what has been a string of faux pas in their communication stream of late, most recently finding the party apologizing for a tweet that lacked a fair bit of empathy for those dealing with the prospect of lost homes and property.

Earlier this month, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth found himself facing criticism for his comments related to the wildfire, which while correctly noting that instructions of the officials on the scene need to be heeded, did not seem to take into account that it was those very property owners that are facing the emotional toll of an endless summer of worry.

For their part, those residents and many more in the days that have followed have outlined their concerns over how the Province has approached the wildfire fight.

That is a theme that Skeena MLA Ellis Ross, who is also in the quest for the BC Liberal leadership called attention to last week, that as the Skeena MLA has spent the last few days checking in on communities that are facing the wildfires head on.

As for the current status of the wildfires, the situation remains one of extreme concern, with evacuation orders still in place, and increasing winds shifting he fire lines by the hour, though with some hopes that some precipitation may provide for some relief for those battling the blazes from Kamloops area south into the Okanagan.

How the next few days on those fire lines go, may shape the focus for further study when the Premier returns to take some questions later this week, ready to comment as to how he and his government have responded to the summer crisis.

The latest notes on the BC Wildfires can be reviewed here

Updates are also released through Social media

A day to day look at some of the stories of note from the BC interior can be reviewed from our political blog D'Arcy McGee and our Victoria Viewpoints archive

1 comment:

  1. Farnworth is out of his depth as Minister of Public Safety.

    Horgan needs to shuffle him off this file. If he doesn't, the voices that are already questioning Horgan's leadership will grow louder.