Premier John Horgan met with Chief Ken Cameron of the Saulteau First Nations and Chief Roland Willson of the West Moberly First Nations on Wednesday to discuss moving forward with a leaders’ table to support the recovery of the endangered central group of the southern mountain caribou.
The goal is to support the recovery of the herd while maintaining the social and economic well-being of communities in the northeast region of British Columbia.
The leaders’ table will build on the work initiated by Minister Doug Donaldson and staff with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
The leaders’ table will discuss next steps in moving forward to implement the intergovernmental partnership agreement that was negotiated in response to the threat to the caribou identified under the federal Species at Risk Act. The leaders’ table will also review potential approaches to mitigating natural resource and land use impacts of the agreement, while advancing caribou protection.
The leaders’ table will include the chiefs of the two nations, CEOs and executives from the forestry, mining and oil and gas industries, local government representatives, including mayors and a representative of the Peace River Regional District, as well as deputy ministers from the governments of Canada and British Columbia.
The recovery plan has come under heavy criticism from people in the Interior for not involving local government, industry, and recreational stakeholders. Horgan, earlier this year, acknowledged government had dropped the ball on the issue and appointed former Liberal MLA Blair Lekstrom to be government’s liaison in the northeast.
It is anticipated that the first meeting of the leaders’ table will take place later this month. The province’s facilitation team will be in touch with participants over the next few days to arrange a meeting date.