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Man in blue suit thanks firefighters

A firefighter stands behind the Prime Minister and Premier Christy Clark during a staged photo op in West Kelowna Thursday afternoon.
July 23, 2015 - 6:59 PM

WEST KELOWNA – For a second straight day, firefighting efforts at the Westside Road fire were the backdrop for political photo ops.

Today, several federal politicians stood around waiting, occasionally wiping dirt from their clothing while sweaty, ash-covered, exhausted-looking firefighters surrounded them for the tightly controlled photo opportunity. Helicopters carrying empty buckets buzzed overhead and a steady stream of wildfire fighting aircraft circled prior to the event.

Handlers for the federal and provincial leaders promised reporters a chance to ask questions but B.C. Premier and local MLA Christy Clark answered only two, while the Prime Minister declined to answer all but one question. He made various statements about firefighting efforts, including a possible discussion sometime in the future about sharing in firefighting efforts.

Provinces fund their own firefighting. It’s not a federal responsibility.

After more than an hour wait, the press conference was over after less than five minutes. The Prime Minister would not take questions about why he was there, how much time the photo opportunity took from firefighters or what resources were used in the photo effort.

A federal election is less than three months away.

The Shelter Cove wildfire remains uncontained at around 460 hectares.

- This story was edited for style at 10:16 p.m.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at aproskiw@infonews.ca or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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