Mr. Speaker, as a woman whose first career was in the forest industry, I rise to recognize the many British Columbians who have been impacted by forest fires, like my niece's family, evacuated from their ranch north of Kamloops. The year 2017 is the most devastating year on record, and with over one million hectares of forest already burned, 124 wildfires are still burning today. In many areas, the forest harvest, sawmilling, and replanting operations were suspended and back-country tourism shut down, and local residents breathed smoke for weeks. Business owners, employees, ranchers, livestock, and individual health are all paying a hefty price.
I was proud that members of the cabinet committee on federal recovery efforts for 2017 B.C. wildfires toured Prince George and Kamloops to hear from community members directly and pledge increased federal help. I would ask that everyone listening to this today would please consider donating to the Canadian Red Cross to help B.C.'s many wildfire victims.