About a year ago, when we learned that the average British Columbia family was going to be forced to spend even more for user fees to visit a provincial park, Mark Hume wrote a very important piece in the Globe.
One passage that caught my eye was the following:
...In 2001, there were 27 full-time park rangers in the province. Today there are 11, patrolling more than 13 million hectares between them.
Ministry of Environment documents released by the NDP last week show that there isn’t enough money to replace the aging infrastructure in parks or to hire adequate staff.
The documents state that with costs rising and the budget static for years, BC Parks has been “forced … to shorten operating seasons, eliminate park ranger positions, reduce preventive maintenance and implement other program cuts.”...
Why did this get my attention?
Because I wrote about the slow, decade-long strangling of the park ranger budget a long time ago, back in the last days of GordCo.
And, in so doing, I compared the miniscule number of full time park rangers left at the time (10) to the number of very fine folks workin' it in Mr. Campbell's 'Public Affair's Bureau' (223; affectionately known as PAB-Bots 'round these here parts back in the days of Railgate; the name has since changed 'Government Communications & Public Engagement').
Coming back to the present...
...Which was a recommendation of the Select Standing Committee On Finance And Government Services, an all party committee of the BC Legislature earlier this year, I doubt much has changed in Ranger land given that the Ministry of Environment (where Parks is housed) budget was flatlined in the latest budget:
But, so what if I'm wrong.
Because even if there was suddenly a 50% increase in full time Park Rangers there would only be 17 of them, which would still be way below pre-GordCo levels.
And it would also be below the number of very fine PAB-Botian folks, right here and right now, whose very specific job is to monitor the media, and that includes blogs, so that they can put little green (for Clarklandian favourable) or red (for Clarklandian unfavourable) squares beside the 'monitored' bits.
How do we know this is happening?
Because Laila discovered it yesterday and later confirmed, via Bob Mackin, that there are 18 of these Bots doing the deed.
So, with all that in mind....
Next time you're in a park and need a ranger.
Well, you know whose job is way more important to Ms. Clark and friends.
As for social workers, mental health workers, librarians, educational aides, etc....Who needs them when you've got an army of PAB-Bots ready to head out and do stuff like, say....This.