When Will Canadians Count?

MAY 10, 2016
By Carol Webster
Watching the news reports on the Fort McMurray fire fills me with dread.  It was only 4 years ago, we watched in horror as Slave Lake went up in flames and now here we are again, watching helplessly as our northern neighbours deal with the same thing.  In the back of my mind, I’m wondering if we too could be in such a situation.  
Well wishes, donations and help continues to pour in as Canadian banks and companies donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to aid in relief, community groups from towns and cities across Alberta have already begun collecting dollars, food and clothing, Albertans have gone on Facebook opening their homes to shelter people and pets.  I even received a press release from the Queen giving her condolences and well wishes to the people of Fort McMurray.
We live in a wildfire zone, its unfortunate but it is something we have to face.  Sadly there are those that don’t really care.  I’m speaking about those idiots who continue to throw their live cigarettes on the ground, those that don’t clean their ATV’s properly, those that don’t bother to ensure their campfires are completely out.  And of course the stupidest of all, the arsonists.  The fires in Mayerthorpe for example.  There are just no words to express how dumbfounding it is to hear that those fires were intentional.  They were able to prove that the Slave Lake fire was caused by careless humans.  No charges were ever laid.  How could you live with yourself knowing that your actions burnt down 60% of a community?  I really hope that this fire in Fort McMurray is not caused by man, but laws of average says it probably is.
But even after all is said and done, the most frustrating of all is our Federal and Provincial governments.  We can give Sirian refugees $2500/month guaranteed for however many years; and all they can come up for their own TAXPAYERS is a sickening $1200 one time payment.  REALLY????  Do Canadians no longer count?  Where in the hell is the government going to get their money if we all stood up and refused to pay our taxes?  How sad is it that we have to fundraise to help out our own citizens when a disaster happens?  The last total I’ve heard is that $54 million has been raised through the Canadian Red Cross and it is thanks to the shear generosity  of people and businesses that have brought hope to those affected.
Sure the federal and provincial governments will match donations raised.  But we have to raise the money first?  Where is the disaster plan?  Did we learn nothing from Slave Lake?  Our governments should have a plan that can be put into action immediately and one that does not require donation matching.  The people of Fort McMurray  have paid their taxes like everyone else.  They are not refugees but if they were, surely they would be treated better.
Be safe everyone and welcome to our Fort McMurray friends who will be staying with us for awhile.

Carol Webster

Carol Webster is the Editor/Publisher of The Grizzly Gazette. Beginning her newspaper career in 1989 as a typesetter for the Swan Hills Grizzly Gazette, Carol and her family were given the opportunity to purchase the weekly newspaper from Barrhead Printers and Stationers in September, 1990; bringing the publication back home to Swan Hills. As a second generation Swan Hillian, Carol continues to live in Swan Hills with her family; husband Robyn and son Aaron.

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