Folks in the northeast have their doubts. “Caribou consultations: Are they already a foregone conclusion?” as the headline in the Dawson Creek Mirror put it last week.
VICTORIA — The NDP government’s rush-job consultations on a caribou protection plan have generated protests among northeast residents fearing for jobs and feeling left out of the process.
Provincial officials spent almost a year consulting on the plan with the federal government and local First Nations, all the while excluding other local governments and residents from knowing what was in the works.
Forests and Lands Minister Doug Donaldson finally took the wraps off the plan in late March, leaving by his own admission a mere five weeks to gather feedback via public consultations.
Several of those sessions took place in the Peace River country last week, and by all accounts, they mainly served to raise the level of alienation and alarm.
One of the emblematic exchanges, reported in both print and radio, occurred in Chetwynd, where a fifth of the local population turned out for the session.