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Time For Judgement On Misjudgement
  Aug 25, 2003

COQUITLAM, BC - According to an article written by Vancouver Sun Columnist Vaughn Palmer, our government has ignored cost-effective methods of fire prevention. This was based on a report written for the BC government by expert Patrick Daigle entitled "Interior Forests of BC". Generally, the report suggests that for one hundred million dollars spread over a few years, the damage caused in the Interior this summer by the devastating fires could have been greatly reduced and in some cases prevented, saving British Columbians upwards of two billion dollars in losses.
The BC Liberal government has known about these fire prevention methods since 1996, as the Report was on the Ministry of Forests website. From a recent survey by ROBBINS SCE Research:

Survey Question #1
In your opinion, should the BC Liberal government be held responsible for the losses to property and suffering of so many British Columbians?
Yes    72 %
No    28 %
Survey Question #2
Should Forests Minister Mike DeJong resign?
Yes    78 %
No    22 %
It is pretty clear that the vast majority of British Columbians believe that preventive measures could have been in place to avoid this summerís catastrophe in the interior of the province. The fact is that the government knew, or certainly ought to have known that this was a possibility.
Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberals revealed a strategy of penny-wise pound-foolish in this matter and as a consequence have to take responsibility for their failure. As costs mount, watch for Ottawa to hold off on paying their proper share of disaster relief, once they come around to pointing the finger back at Gordon Campbell and his Ministers.
Mike Dejong may be having some bad luck, but in politics thatís no excuse. If the Daigle Report was available and accessible for years on his website (presumably for the public to read) one must presume that he read it, and did nothing to act on its recommendations. Accordingly, he should resign.
Questions were taken from a random survey of 840 British Columbians from 14 territories in British Columbia, approximately corresponding to equal numbers of constituent seats - but with no adjustment for population, between August 19 and 25th. This survey features an error rate of 3.5% 18 times out of 20, @ 97% competency.

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