Earlier this week, NDP MP Richard Cannings (South Okanagan—West Kootenay) raised how important it is to help communities in the face of the ongoing flooding in B.C. He asked the minister in Question Period if he would support communities like Princeton, BC recovery financially from the flooding. Right now, the municipality is on the hook for 20 per cent of the rebuilding funding, which they won’t be able to pay. Cannings and the NDP are calling for the federal government to waive or reduce the amount municipalities have to pay under traditional disaster funding so that communities devastated by flooding can get back on their feet.
“The weather emergencies in BC have been devastating for families and communities,” said Cannings. “And the way the federal government plans to rebuild leaves municipalities with a hefty bill. The town of Princeton could be responsible for paying millions of dollars to rebuild. Federal and provincial governments have downloaded a lot onto municipal governments when it comes to infrastructure, construction and maintenance. These local governments need real help to rebuild and dedicated funds for forward looking plans to strengthen infrastructure for the future.
Cannings pointed to the flooding of Grand Forks in his riding in 2018. “The aftermath of that flood and rebuilding has been extremely painful for that community and I know the citizens of Lytton and now Princeton and Merritt face that same frustration. The federal government needs to help small communities who have already been through so much.”
In addition to calling on the government to invest in building the climate resistant infrastructure communities desperately need, the NDP asked the government to listen to the dire warning from the Environment and Sustainable Development Commissioner’s report last week and finally take meaningful action on the climate crisis by cutting emissions and helping workers and communities transition into a low-carbon future.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and the NDP have continually called for investments in a renewable future, with a focus on helping workers find good jobs in renewable energy and helping prepare communities in the face of the climate crisis.
“While Canadians have endured forest fires and extreme flooding in the past four months alone, Justin Trudeau keeps pretending to be a climate leader. He continues to give big oil and gas billions in fossil fuel subsidies,” said Singh. “What’s worse is that they have no plan to help workers transition to renewable energy jobs that will allow them to keep providing for their families while ensuring we are doing our part to address climate change. New Democrats have the courage to act. We can address the climate crisis while ensuring workers and communities have the support they need.”
Last week’s report reinforced the need for a national plan to help provinces, territories, industry, and the federal government meet Canada’s energy interests and needs while aligning with climate targets. The report also made it clear that a plan is needed to “shield workers and communities from the effects of an industrial transition."
Enclosed: Video of MP Cannings in the House of Commons calling for federal funding to help rebuild after weather emergencies