For immediate release
June 7, 2023
VICTORIA, B.C. – As wildfires continue to rage across Canada and B.C., 2023 is poised to be the most devastating year on record. Urgent measures are required to safeguard the well-being of all British Columbians.
“Communities across British Columbia have sadly grown accustomed to the haunting sight of smoke-filled skies during the summer months,” said Sonia Furstenau, Leader of the B.C. Greens and MLA for Cowichan Valley. “It is our responsibility to proactively safeguard the health and safety of our community members, especially our seniors, children, and most vulnerable.
“The BC NDP must act now to ensure clean air and protect against extreme heat, prioritizing the installation of air filtration systems in schools and public spaces, and ensuring clean and breathable air for every individual.”
The high temperatures, including the warmest May in 85 years, highlight the pressing need to address extreme heat events and take action to minimize their impact. However, the 2023 budget only invested $300 million in capital funding to repair infrastructure damaged by climate emergencies, when climate emergencies in 2021 cost the province $17 billion.
The BC Green Caucus is calling on the BC NDP to prioritize:
1. Swift implementation of air filtration systems in schools and public spaces to safeguard the health and well-being of all residents, with a focus on protecting children from harmful smoke.
2. Urgent distribution of cooling units and fans in all social housing and housing for seniors and people with disabilities, mitigating the health risks associated with extreme heat events and ensuring that no one is left defenseless against rising temperatures.
3. Acceleration of the updates to B.C.’s emergency management legislation, facilitating prompt enactment of necessary regulatory, funding, and enforcement changes to enhance overall preparedness and response capabilities.
4. Providing multi-year, stable funding to organizations that are building resilient neighbourhoods as an important aspect of emergency preparedness.
5. Better involvement of First Nations in emergency planning and preparedness, as per the recommendations of the 2018 Report “Addressing the New Normal: 21st Century Disaster Management in British Columbia.
By implementing these measures, the BC NDP can demonstrate leadership and show their commitment to proactive and effective management of the ongoing and accelerating climate crisis.
B.C. Green Caucus
+1 250-882-6187 | firstname.lastname@example.org