Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
Mr. Chair, one thing that makes us think of war times, of course, is seeing the enormous struggles on the ground of communities like Fort McMurray. All Canadians are looking at that community and thinking, “Oh, my goodness, how are they facing this?” They had the economic downturn, the fires and now the floods. The other day, the Deputy Prime Minister referred to spring as flood season and summer as fire season. Before the climate crisis, we used to call them spring and summer.
In the context of this pandemic, acknowledging that we are also in a climate emergency, what preparations has the government taken to help house people under evacuation while maintaining the COVID public health advice?
Hon. Bill Blair (Scarborough Southwest)
Mr. Chair, I thank the member opposite for a very important question. We share her concern about the challenges facing communities that are experiencing flooding conditions, and that will also perhaps eventually face fire conditions, and ensuring that we can safely house them during those climate emergencies that do take place in our country. We are already facing a situation in Fort McMurray, and we anticipate that in the very near future in many indigenous northern communities we’ll face a similar challenge with regard to ensuring that we find safe housing.
Historically, we would put these people perhaps in a community centre, but that’s not appropriate during this particular medical crisis. We are exploring with our provincial partners all of the ways in which we can safely house those individuals as they face those crises of flooding and fires in their communities.