B.C. Liberal Opposition Leader Shirley Bond Sept 15 praised front line workers and municipal governments for ensuring services remained open and active during the COVID-19 pandemic.
And, said Bond, people throughout the province have come together to deal with other ongoing multiple crises including the opioid crisis, economic recovery, the discovery of residential school children’s graves, the heat wave and forest fires.
Bond made the remarks at the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) annual conference Sept. 15.
She first addressed the ongoing work of medical services people for their pandemic work.
“You have our support and our sincere thanks,” Bond said.
She said opposition members have talked with people through the province about their pandemic experiences and needs. She stressed cooperation between all levels of government in meeting those needs.
But, she said, “No government at any level has all the answers – and, yes, they make mistakes.”
The discovery of hundreds of residential school children’s graves adds more urgency to the need for reconciliation with Indigenous people, Bond said.
She said the renewal of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Victoria and the UBCM is gratifying.
The MOU renewal confirms the UBCM's support for advancing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples throughout the province at the local level and underscores local governments' role as valued partners in advancing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
“Reconciliation means we shine a light on the past while looking forward to the future with Indigenous voices,” Bond said.
Bond said more than 1,100 people in B.C. have lost their lives so far this year due to the opioid crisis.
“It’s happening all over the province in communities large and small,” Bond said.
She said she and the Green Party leader have written to Premier John Horgan requesting the Legislature’s Standing Committee on Health be activated to examine the crisis declared a public health emergency in April 2016.
Bond said the heat wave left many dead and ravaged the province, including the destruction of the town of Lytton.
She said the crises mean policy and programs to help in all cases need to be examined to see what can be done better and what approaches should be discarded.
“It will take challenging and, at times, uncomfortable conversations about what happened,” Bond said.