A town hall meeting hosted by Cariboo Prince George MP Todd Doherty at Thompson Rivers University Williams Lake Campus Monday evening attracted about 30 people.
Doherty fielded a wide range of questions from the audience.
Topics such as wildfire mitigation, veteran supports, water in First Nation and rural communities, Bill C-36: the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act which is coming up for review, the carbon tax and the cost of fuel were discussed.
Cariboo Regional District Area D director Steve Forseth asked Doherty to lobby for more federal dollars to assist communities with firesmarting.
“We do simply do not have the resources to deal with this challenge,” Forseth said. “The provincial government only has a small pocket of money to deal with it.”
Doherty said he agreed with Forseth and will continue to push for more federal support.
“It is important that we ensure we don’t have too much fuel in and around our communities,” he said. “The $175 million they gave for fire mitigation is really a drop in the bucket. We have to make sure we are providing resources to communities to make them as safe as possible.”
When questioned about the Carbon Tax, Doherty said he does not think it is an environmental plan but a revenue plan.
Former Williams Lake city councillor Surinderpal Rathor asked Doherty to find out why the Service Canada office in Williams Lake is closed on Mondays and the one in Quesnel is closed on Fridays. He had sent one of his community income tax customers to get a form and she’d gone on Monday in Williams Lake and then Friday in Quesnel.
Doherty also talked about his continued work since his bill on the need to develop a national framework for PTSD was passed.
Last week he attended a two-day PTSD conference in Ottawa where more than 200 delegates participated in the discussions.
“I firmly believe as elected officials we have to do everything in our power to address the serious issue of suicide,” he said. “I want people to know they have a choice to choose life over death. I get messages everyday about another person who has taken their own life.”
Doherty said he met earlier in the day with Williams Lake city council.