Over 200 wildfires are burning in British Columbia today, prompting the province to declare its first state of emergency since 2003.
Wildfires are still top of mind for Western Canadians after the Fort McMurray wildfire that devastated the city and the heart of our oil and gas industry, so it's no surprise that Albertans were among the first to organize relief efforts in getting supplies and money over to BC.
We thank our generous neighbours for that support.
But, when disaster strikes, the spotlight isn’t only on the grassroots support from our friends and neighbours but also on our politicians since it’s truly up to them to coordinate efforts to prevent the fires from threatening properties and lives.
And given the unique situation BC is in with Premier-designate John Horgan to be sworn in with his new government on July 18, it was quite the contrast of reactions by outgoing Premier Christy Clark and incoming Premier Mr. Horgan.
Watch as I contrast the slow response from the NDP and Horgan who only visited with evacuees after a last minute cancellation of his attendance at the Victoria Pride Parade, versus outgoing Premier Clark who spent the entire weekend meeting with those affected and coordinating relief efforts with the federal government.
Several fires are burning thousands of hectares right now, so both the outgoing and incoming governments should be scrambling to tender contracts to get some of those Martin Mars water bombers, similar to the contracts Rachel Notley infamously cut ahead of the wildfire season that resulted in the Fort Mac fire.
Maybe Christy Clark should hold Horgan's hand for the next eight days to ensure that the NDP ineptitude we saw in Alberta doesn't repeat itself in British Columbia.