Prince George, B.C. – Shocked.
The reaction of North Coast NDP MLA Jennifer Rice to recommendations made this week by the Missing Women’s Commission.
“I actually read the report three times because I thought to myself I’m misreading this,” says Rice.
“There’s no new money (for a shuttle service). I was also greatly disappointed to find out this website they’ve (provincial government) created (see here) for the Highway 16 corridor from Prince Rupert to Prince George is a list of links. In fact they talk about a limo being an option for people in the north.”
She concedes Victoria has provided one time funding of $75,000 for First Nations driver licensing programs but says it doesn’t go far enough.
“I’m beyond frustrated. People here are beyond frustrated.”
Ideally Rice says she’d like to see $1 million put towards linking northern communities through a shuttle service.
“$1 million is a drop in the province’s $44 billion provincial budget to improve safety for women, particularly aboriginal women and girls.”
Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach shares Rice’s frustration noting local government leaders up and down the highway corridor had really hoped for much more.
“Really what Mr. Oppal called for (in his Missing Women’s Report) was enhanced transit service between northern communities. And although maybe you could interpret this week’s announcement as tiny baby steps in that direction, I’m not confident it’s going to result in a measurable improvement to passenger transportation services between our communities.”