The wildfires in Fort McMurray devastated the city last year and forced the largest evacuation in Alberta’s history. The fire destroyed over 2,400 homes and buildings, spread over 590,000 hectares and still smoulders even after all this time.
One demographic devastated by the fires were business owners, with over 4,000 businesses shuttered by the natural disaster.
You would think the NDP would get to work helping businesses and services prepare for the return of evacuees, but I have emails between Minister Deron Bilous and Minister Danielle Larivee’s staff showing they were more concerned with their image during the crisis.
The emails detail an invitation-only roundtable that was used as a PR photo op, rather than being used to put the needs of businesses at the forefront.
The whole thing was staged for the purpose of making the government look good. Out of 4,000 businesses, only a dozen were invited. And there was panic over pictures-securing a photographer was mentioned over twenty times before the meeting took place.
Conversely, there was barely any mention of the actual plan to address business concerns, but there was discussion about scripted opening remarks that might come off as awkward.
And of course, during a telephone conference, only the “best comments” were put forth because why air anything that’s critical of the government?
Perhaps the most stunning comment came from Bilous himself though. He questioned which businesses out of 4,000, actually deserved grants if they were struggling before the fires. Does that sound like someone that’s concerned about a natural disaster and the state of emergency that followed?
We showed that the NDP made cuts to the wildfire budget, we showed that they cancelled water bomber contracts and we showed that the local oil industry was frustrated with how the government was mishandling the situation on the ground.
The NDP directed more effort into putting out political fires in order to save face than they did in actually doing anything beneficial for Fort McMurray businesses during a crisis.
Their main priority was the NDP. But what else is new when it comes to these ideologues whose ideas aren’t rooted in reality?