This recent bout of extreme weather hitting canadian metropolises has led some of us here at the Bouillon to question what would happen to our own metropolis, the city of Montreal, were disaster to strike, more importantly, how would the Quebec government respond? A little background: parts of southern Alberta (including Calgary) recently experienced a few months worth of rain in only a few hours. Although the emergency response time has been called admirable by most, the results of the flooding were still disastrous. The toll on infrastructure alone will cost the city and the federal government close to one quarter of a billion dollars and hundreds of thousands of people were forced to evacuate their homes. More than a few of such people will never be able to return to their homes again, as the water not only washed away many structures, but also altered the landscape in doing so.
This being said, due to commendable crisis management the downtown core was mostly opened up again 12 days after the flooding, and worked into the 256.6$ million dollar relief plan, that is up to 10,000$ per flood victim. Last week the city of Toronto also experienced extreme rainfall, though not as intense as the flooding in Southern Alberta, 700,000 Greater Toronto Area residents were without power after 126mm of rain in two hours. The cost to the city of Toronto sits at a cool 600$ million according to early estimates.
It came out a few days ago that Calgary had just been crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s on a major disaster plan that had been put together in wake of 2005 flooding. The city did have an emergency plan in place, and early on huge evacuation orders were signed, explaining the smooth emergency response. Toronto also did pretty well, but subway service was halted for days and some 17,000 remain without power due to important Hydro One equipment flooding.Luckily, we in Quebec have not experienced such extreme weather lately, though that doesn’t mean our citizens are strangers to disaster. As mentioned in last week’s weekly, the town of Lac Megantic was recently ravaged by an exploded train carrying oil. The train had been parked on a hill above the town, and somehow during the night was unbraked, causing the train togo barrelling through the town and explode. The magnitude of the destruction is not yet known, but so far the Quebec government has put up 60$ million in relief funding (this will help reconstruct some of the downtown core and provide direct funding to families). Federal funding has not yet been determined. Marois being Marois couldn’t help by mentioning that although it might be on “their” (Quebecois) land, railway is really an Ottawa issue, and thus the federal government should be taking care of it. Yes, even in times of tragedy the dead horse that is Quebec constitutional drama can be beaten.
For your Bouillon reading check out this breakdown of US-Russia relations by Samuel Ramani. What comes next for these strange geo-political bedfellows in light of the Snowden drama? Stephen Harper just can’t catch a break lately. After seven years relatively even-keeled leadership scandal upon scandal has piled up and it looks like the conservative PM just might not weather the storm. Read more in Stephen Harper et les conservateurs s’essoufflent by Hugo Guerche.
Featured photo: the Hindrew, Creative Commons, Flickr