Party pledges for firefighting season

·2 min read

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau recently pledged $500 million ahead of the next fire season to train 1,000 new community-based firefighters and fund new equipment — such as water bombers and helicopters — to fight climate change-related events.

Here is what Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo candidates have to say.

Frank Caputo said his Conservatives plan to invest in technology that can better predict and detect wildfires and pledge to address climate change that directly relates to wildfires. He anticipates party leader Erin O’Toole will have more to announce in the coming days.

Caputo noted the Liberals were in power during particularly bad wildfire seasons in 2017 and 2018, arguing their pledge “rings hollow, given they called an election while the province was literally on fire and in a state of emergency.”

He also noted Trudeau did not visit areas of B.C. affected by the wildfires.

O’Toole has also yet to make a stop.

New Democrat Bill Sundhu feels an inquiry will be needed once the wildfire season is over regarding how climate change and wildfires will be managed. He said resources should then be decided upon based on that inquiry.

“I think that anybody who makes up policy in the middle of the wildfire [season] is guessing,” Sundhu said, adding that Trudeau’s promises should be taken with some skepticism.

“They’ve known about the wildfires and climate change. We had terrible wildfires in British Columbia in 2017, 2018 and now it’s election time and Mr. Trudeau makes all kinds of promises,” he said.

Iain Currie said his Greens don’t yet have their platform out with costing, but noted the party has always been clear that there needs to be proactive work managing fire fuels and taking steps on climate change.

Corraly Delwo said she hasn’t yet heard of any specific commitments from the People’s Party, but added that, as MP, she would call for a public inquiry to determine how to improve firefighting services given the number of homes and property lost to wildfires this year.

According to the BC Wildfire Service, 858,000 hectares of land has been burned by wildfires this year, with only 2018 (1.35-million hectares) and 2017 (1.21-million hectares) resulting in more land scorched by wildfires since record began in 1950.

Michael Potestio, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kamloops This Week

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