Mayor Lee Pratt and a few councillors are representing Cranbrook at an annual gathering of municipal and provincial politicians in Vancouver this week.
The Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) is holding it’s yearly convention where local politicians hound provincial counterparts and government staff to advocate for local projects and issues.
Pratt is joined by councillors Ron Popoff, John Hudak, Wes Graham and Mike Peabody, all of whom will spend the next few days attending workshops and forums on topics such as forestry, mining, Interior Health, and other smaller gatherings relating to small and medium sized communities.
In addition to the forums and workshops, politicians will have the opportunity to vote on resolutions submitted by municipal and regional district representatives. The resolutions are non-binding, but serve as a tool to exert the provincial government to take action on particular policy items or issues.
Cranbrook is not authoring any resolutions, however, the Regional District of East Kootenay is proposing four — sustainable funding for Search and Rescue, capital funding for fire departments, broadband infrastructure taxation, and Agricultural Land Reserve use regulation.
Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka is also present at the convention to as per his role as the provincial energy, mines and petroleum resources critic.
He noted a recent trend of municipalities endorsing the possibility of launching class-action lawsuits against oil and gas companies in order to recoup costs incurred due to climate change.
Victoria city council has endorsed legal action, while other municipalities in the province have also endorsed motions to send letters to oil and gas companies asking for climate change compensation.
A resolution from the City of Victoria at UBCM deals with that exact subject, as it asks UBCM to consider exploring a class-action lawsuit against major fossil fuel companies, with support from the provincial government.
“One of the resolutions that’s coming forward that I’ll be present at — I’m not sure if it’ll make the table or not, is suing oil companies and mining companies for carbon emissions and that kind of nonsense,” Shypitka said. “It’s just absolutely mind-blowing that the social license has gone this far.”
A counter-resolution from Fort St. John notes that the class-action lawsuits would ‘hinder rather than help’ communities that have signed onto Climate Action Charter that outlines commitments to carbon neutral operations and greenhouse gas emission reduction.
The Fort St. John resolution asks for B.C. municipalities to support de-carbonization while supporting the resource sector.