OTTAWA – Bob Zimmer, Member of Parliament for Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies, issued the following statement on the announced two year moratorium on new resource development in the region:
“Residents from across the region have expressed their concerns with the draft caribou recovery plans and what it will mean for our communities. Instead of listening to these concerns, the province, along with their federal Liberal counterparts, have decided to impose a two year moratorium on new resource development in our region.
“I personally attended most of these meetings and a moratorium was always an “only if all else fails” option but instead it’s the first course of action. We have also heard from local experts that a moratorium would not necessarily be effective in seeing caribou numbers increase. In fact, in some cases caribou numbers have increased where no moratorium exists and caribou numbers have decreased in areas like Tweedsmuir and Jasper Provincial Parks where no resource development exists.
“I care about caribou, conservation and doing what needs to be done to bring the herds back but it needs to be done through real and sincere consultation with the backcountry experts who truly understand caribou and their habitat.
“I am deeply concerned that this interim moratorium will lead to permanent restrictions, especially under this current provincial government that is determined to keep all resources in the ground. I fail to see how pushing pause on natural resource development will “limit economic impacts” as Minister Donaldson would have us believe.
“Sadly, we see that local mill closures are likely a result of actions like these with more closures likely to come.
“We are now seeing the worst-case scenario play out before us. The province was forced to act under threat of unilateral action by the federal government. I place the blame on the Liberal government and Minister McKenna’s unreasonable demands.”