Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the Southern Alberta floods, the largest natural disaster in the history of our province. On Thursday, my friend, colleague and fellow Alberta elected Senator, Scott Tannas, delivered this statement to honour the occasion. You can read his statement below.
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.
“The devastating floods have been met with unprecedented responses from Albertans, both northern and southern, as well as from citizens across Canada. This response has renewed our sense of community spirit and confidence in our ability to unite for the greater good. This is not our first encounter with disaster, nor will it be our last. Albertans continue to showcase the resilient and pioneering Prairie spirit that will help us to move on.
Last Friday, I paid tribute in the Senate to the emergency services personnel who were working around the clock to keep Albertans safe. Their work, and the tens of thousands of Albertans offering assistance to neighbours in need, reminds me how privileged I am to serve our province.
It has also been heartening to witness the political response to this disaster. Premier Alison Redford, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and mayors across southern Alberta are demonstrating the kind of leadership Albertans deserve and expect. Their honesty and accessibility, together with strong commitments of future assistance, have given comfort to flood victims and to all Albertans.
Let us hope that our politicians will do us proud and maintain their inspired and praiseworthy efforts to date.
Doug Black, Ottawa
Doug Black is an Alberta senator from Calgary”
Printed June 27, 2013 in the Calgary Herald.