NWT residents who have been forced to evacuate due to wildfires should be receiving financial assistance from the federal government, federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said on Monday.
“Right now, the focus of the federal government must be to keep everybody safe and support communities hit by the wildfires. Once the dust settles, the Northwest Territories and British Columbia will need financial assistance with the bill. The federal government must step in and do its part to support evacuees and communities,” said Singh.
“People and community leaders are dealing with the stress of this horrible situation — they should not have to fend for themselves. The federal government must assure communities that they won’t have to be on their own to rebuild and support is on the way. That’s the message Justin Trudeau should immediately send to the Northwest Territories and other communities dealing with this crisis.”
Over the weekend, NWT Premier Caroline Cochrane confirmed that Trudeau has not committed financial assistance for residents who were forced to evacuate due to raging wildfires.
Singh visited Yellowknife, Hay River and the K’atl’odeeche First Nation a few weeks ago. He saw firsthand the damage from the spring wildfires that struck the K’atl’odeeche First Nation — the band office, Elders’ homes and vital infrastructure burnt to the ground, the NDP wrote in a Monday news release.
Over the summer, Canadians across the country lived through and witnessed the damage wildfires have caused to their communities, and it is essential that Ottawa provides the help they need to rebuild, according to Singh.
“Once this crisis is over, I encourage the Prime Minister to go visit the K’atl’odeeche First Nation and other communities ravaged by the wildfires. They will need support from the federal government to rebuild, but also to better prepare for future climate disasters,” said Singh. “There is a lot of work ahead to keep people safe from extreme weather events, and things won’t get better for people with half-measures or attempts to divide Canadians. The federal government must work with all levels of government and community leaders to ensure that when climate disasters strike, communities have the resources and infrastructure they need to stay safe.”