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“Climate change is having an impact,”: PG MLA responds to John Rustad’s exit from BC Liberals

Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond said major weather events like last summer’s heat dome that claimed the lives of over 600 people mean climate change is a real threat.

Fourteen of the deaths related to the heat dome occurred in Prince George according to data released by the BC Coroners Service in June.

The reaction comes after Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad was booted from the BC Liberals caucus yesterday (Thursday) after a social media post related to the topic was visible on his pages.

Bond told Vista Radio while every party member may not share the same viewpoint on climate change, any major discussions on the topic need to be kept in-house.

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“Not everyone comes from the same perspective. But, that discussion needs to take place in the caucus room in an open and candid way, which is encouraged in our party. It is only when there is a lack of discipline and a move away from what the leader has made clear is our position.”

“We’ve seen catastrophic situations in our province. I will always be deeply impacted by the heat dome that took the lives of more than 600 residents, mean of which were frail and elderly including seniors here in the Prince George region.”

Bond added while she was interim party leader, Rustad would have been made aware of the Liberal’s position on climate change.

“It would not have been a surprise to John that we have a view and a plan to move forward on the issue of climate change, Kevin (Falcon) did what leaders need to do, and that is to make sure that we operate as a team.”

“Climate change is having a significant impact. We need to grapple with that and the issue is complex. But, we are unified from our leader that the climate change is real.”

She mentioned when the Liberals were in power they made the carbon tax revenue neutral, a policy the NDP changed after they dethroned the Christy Clark government.

As for how her relationship with Rustad changes, Bond was emphatic that it will have zero bearing on how she represents her riding.

“It won’t change how I work on behalf of my constituents. I will continue to work hard and I would assume that John will do the same as he works on behalf of his constituents.”

Rustad is now an Independent MLA.

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