Central, southern Alberta show spirit

Although the recent floodwaters directly affected a very small area in our riding of Crowfoot, our hearts and prayers go out to the folks

Although the recent floodwaters directly affected a very small area in our riding of Crowfoot, our hearts and prayers go out to the folks in Calgary and surrounding areas for the challenges they are confronting.

Many constituents in our riding are feeling the effects of the flood. Many of us have friends and family in Calgary (and elsewhere) that were directly affected and many constituents work in Calgary or in the path of the flood.

The province is in charge of the co-ordination of disaster response and relief. After an event, the province seeks reimbursement from the federal government.

The Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements provides financial support to provincial and territorial governments to help them respond and recover from natural disasters. We know that this process can take years.

The federal government paid $129 million in costs for the Alberta flood of 2005, and the final reimbursement cheque arrived this past April. Premier Alison Redford has already estimated that the costs will be in the billions of dollars.

On Wednesday of last week in Drumheller (where some residents on the outskirts of town were evacuated), I met with Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Vic Toews, who was in our province to inspect the flood damage.

“The federal government is committed to doing whatever it can to assist Albertans in rebuilding their communities,” Toews said.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has been a key federal spokesman on the scene throughout the crisis, meeting with residents, workers, local officials and keeping the media up to date with information on emergency response procedures. Kenney has advised us that businesses will have a few months longer to file their tax returns, temporary workers will be able to retain their status until paperwork is sorted out, and anyone affected by the flood who has been out of work for five days will be eligible for Employment Insurance.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper saw first-hand the impact of the damage in Calgary. The Canadian Armed Forces dispatched 1,300 troops, helicopters, trucks and other vehicles to assist with evacuation, search and rescue and logistics. Our RCMP detachments have also been working very hard.

“The people of central and southern Alberta are showing tremendous strength, courage and resolve in their reaction to the devastating floods in the Alberta regions,” Harper said.

“The federal government is taking swift action to help municipal and provincial authorities meet the needs of those affected. Members of the RCMP and the Canadian Armed Forces are already on the ground helping with search and rescue, evacuation and other logistics, and our government stands ready to provide all the support required.”

The prime minister also saluted the amazing co-operation, teamwork and humanity being displayed during these very difficult circumstances.

During the Canada Day weekend, I attended events, celebrations and parades in Crowfoot. I also spoke at Rosebud’s 130th anniversary. Rosebud is one of Alberta’s oldest pioneer communities.

Let’s all work to try and live up to our predecessors’ legacy of success, co-operation and determination.

Contact Kevin Sorenson at 4945—50 Street, Camrose, T4V 1P9; call 780-608-4600, 1-800-665-4358; email kevin.sorenson.C1@parl.gc.ca.

— From the Hill

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