Wildfires in Fort McMurray—Emergency AppealPublished on 4 May 2016 Hansard and Statements by Senator Claudette Tardif (retired)
Hon. Claudette Tardif:
Honourable senators, today our hearts and prayers are with the people of Fort McMurray. Indeed, a massive wildfire fueled by abnormally hot and dry temperatures has been wreaking havoc in Fort McMurray since yesterday. All of the city’s 80,000 residents were forced to evacuate and had precious little time to do so. This evacuation is the largest in Alberta’s history, but fortunately it appears that everyone has managed to flee safely. Entire neighbourhoods have been destroyed. Many others are still at risk. Things are only expected to get worse today as hot, dry and windy conditions persist.
Fortunately, help is coming together quickly across the country. Canada as a whole is concerned by what is happening in Fort McMurray, and Canadians are rallying together at this time to find ways to provide help.
Our thoughts are with the firefighters and first responders who are risking their lives to try to get this worrisome situation under control and get the people of Fort McMurray out of harm’s way. Many worked hard through the night and are still at it today. More first responders will lend a hand to those who are already there, as reinforcements are on the way.
Preparations are under way at the Department of National Defence to help the people in the region. A contingent of soldiers and equipment has already been deployed and will arrive in Fort McMurray shortly. Several companies and organizations, including the Red Cross, are mobilizing to provide support to the evacuees.
Prime Minister Trudeau has already indicated that the federal government will offer its full support and further assistance in the long term. I am certain that provinces, municipalities and all Canadians will come together and answer this call for assistance. I know many people are wondering how they can help. The Red Cross has set up an emergency Alberta fires appeal. Please go to their website for additional information.
My thoughts are with my fellow Albertans. I sympathize with everyone in Fort McMurray who has lost their home, their job and all their belongings and is left with nothing for the immediate future because of this terrible fire. Again, I want to acknowledge the invaluable support of Canadians who are banding together to offer their help to the people of Fort McMurray at this time.