Prime Minister Trudeau on the wildfires in Fort McMurray
Thank You Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in this house to speak to the ongoing wildfire situation in Fort McMurray, Alberta. It is with a heavy heart that all Canadians have watched the devastation unfold over the last few days. Over 80,000 residents have been evacuated in the largest fire evacuation in Alberta's history. Homes have been destroyed, neighborhoods have gone up in flames.
The footage we've seen of cars racing down highways while fire rages on all sides is nothing short of terrifying. I know I speak for all members of this house and 36 million Canadians when I say that our hearts go out to all affected families. We are thinking of and praying for the people of Fort McMurray.
Though Alberta's loss is profound, we will get through this tragedy together, as friends, as neighbors, as Canadians. The people of Fort McMurray can count on the full support of this government. We will weather this storm together and together we will rebuild. While it's too soon to comprehend the full extent of the damage, we know that it is far-reaching and utterly devastating. I have spoken with Premier Notley and our orders of government are in close contact as we monitor the situation every step of the way. I want to assure the people of Alberta that we are doing everything we can to help. The Government Operations Centre which is under the responsibility of Public Safety Canada is coordinating on behalf of the Government of Canada. The GOC is also working to collect the necessary resources and to prepare for the upcoming deployment. This organization is monitoring the situation in Fort McMurray and is reporting on it 24 hours a day. It is exchanging information with federal authorities and with the Government of Alberta.
The GOC is working with a wide range of partners including the police, emergency management organizations, and NGOs to name just a few.
The Government Operations Centre is the central information collection point in real time. It's a valuable source of information as the situation continues to evolve. Because of its experience acquired over many years, the GOC has put in place systems and products that are effective in helping emergency interventions. The Government Operations Centre know what they're doing and do their job well.
They've been in communication with various partners on how to properly address this crisis.
Partners like Natural Resources Canada, Health Canada, National Defence, Indigenous and Northern Affairs, the RCMP, the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre and emergency management organizations like the Canadian Red Cross. In addition, the people of Fort McMurray have the support of the Canadian Armed Forces.
Our forces are always ready to offer help in crisis situations, no matter where or when, including in natural disaster situations.
The Department of National Defence is currently working with provincial and federal authorities to determine what is the best way for our forces to contribute to relief efforts.
Currently, the RCAF is deploying four CH-146 Griffon helicopters to Fort McMurray and one CC-130J Hercules to CFB Cold Lake. The RCAF is ready to provide support to the province of Alberta in the provision of air assets to assist with the evacuation efforts, deliver essential aid to affected regions, and transport firefighting personnel and equipment to these regions.
In addition to the forces, to the efforts of our forces, as well as the GOC's coordination of information, supplies, and services for response and recovery activity, we're announcing further help for the people of Alberta. Today I'm pleased to announce that in addition to the Government of Canada providing future assistance through the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangement, the government will also be matching individual charitable donations made to the Canadian Red Cross in support of disaster relief in efforts for the affected community.
The outpouring of goodwill and compassion from Canadians right across the country has not only been inspirational, it has been entirely characteristic of who we are, the fundamental human values we share as Canadians.
As Canadians are opening their doors and making donations to organizations to organizations like the Canadian Red Cross, our government is offering its full support and will continue to do so in the difficult days and weeks to come.
Personally I was in Fort McMurray four or five times over the past few years and because one of those instances was a few visits for a by-election, I got to do a lot of door-to-door. I met with a number of homeowners, people who were rightly proud of the homes they built in the beautiful town.
And to think now of the number of doors and homes that I knocked on, that I visited, that all of us as politicians visit regularly, to see the pictures out of Fort McMurray right now that could be taken in war torn corner of the world instead of our own backyard, is a reminder of how Canadians will and must stand together to support our friends and neighbors in this difficult time. To those displaced, please remember, we are resilient, we are Canadians, and we will make it through this most difficult time together.