BC Liberals call for independent review of heat wave response

THE BC Liberals on Wednesday called for an independent review of the Province’s response to the heat wave that saw a surge in deaths.

“While British Columbians were suffering and the number of deaths increasing daily due to the searing heat, Premier [John] Horgan said it was a matter of ‘personal responsibility.’ It is clear that lessons need to be learned from the devastating loss of life and the impacts on British Columbians all across the province,” said B.C. Liberal Interim Leader Shirley Bond. “As the total numbers and ineffective response become clearer, it’s imperative that we review what happened so that we are better prepared to avoid a repeat of this tragedy.”

A 2019 report to the provincial government provided warning of what could occur during a major heat wave and yet it appears the NDP failed to heed the advice provided, said the BC Liberals.

A review would examine:

* Why did the province not take a stronger role in communicating the threat posed by the heat?
* Why did provincial operations — like emergency health services — fail to respond quickly and effectively?
* What extra precautions were taken to assist seniors and ensure isolated individuals had the support they needed?
* Did the province have a plan to provide cooling centers and water?
* What work was done as a follow up to the 2019 report that outlined significant concerns about an event of this magnitude?
“Aside from a tweet featuring a meme, the provincial government didn’t communicate clearly to British Columbians the danger that existed across the entire province,” said Bond. “The coroner has been clear that the public didn’t understand the serious risk the heat wave posed. Municipalities struggled to meet the demands of residents and the province simply did not step up and provide those needed resources. To have people dying alone at home or in the driveway of a fire hall is unacceptable. We need a clear understanding of why the breakdowns occurred and a clear plan to ensure that these tragic outcomes are not repeated when our province faces future extreme weather events.”

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