This past summer, we witnessed the worst natural disaster in the history of our province. During a time of great need, as floods shattered the homes of many families across Southern Alberta, Albertans came together from across the province to pitch in, contributing countless hours of volunteer service and millions of dollars in flood relief to help out their fellow citizens. The collective effort made me proud to be an Albertan.
The effects of the flood will linger for some time. Families have been displaced, lives have been lost, and homes have been destroyed. The Alberta government estimates the cost of ongoing recovery efforts could top $5 billion over the next decade. Our communities need help.
Hailing from High River, my colleague, Senator Scott Tannas, recently spoke about the need for support in the wake of the floods. “All levels of government and industry took an enormous hit in such a little community. I think it will help galvanize everybody around the idea that we’ve got to come up with a scheme that will address huge catastrophes and provide for planning and faster response, clearer lines of [responsibility], and potentially putting money away for this eventuality.”
It is not a question of if disasters will come, but a question of when. We need to be prepared to support the families and communities in need. Prior to the flooding, I spoke at length with the Mayor of Canmore about the urgent need for disaster mitigation funding. I have also investigated the issue further through my work in the Senate National Finance Committee. Albertans and Canadians alike need the support of their government in such times of need, and I hope to work with my colleagues in Parliament to ensure that we can reduce the impact of future disasters.