OTTAWA - As wildfires forced the evacuation of several Northwest Territory communities and approach Yellowknife, the federal government should preemptively deploy all means necessary to help contain the fires and facilitate evacuations, the Green Party of Canada said today.
Reports of Yellowknifers being asked to pay over a $1000 to fly out of the city and of the RCMP telling its non essential staff and relatives to evacuate are most concerning. All those who wish to leave Yellowknife should immediately be assisted by the government, including the most vulnerable, the elderly and those who cannot afford to fly commercially or do not wish to take the risk to drive out of town.
« It is critical that all available federal resources be mobilized to save lives before it becomes too late. Winds can change quickly and evacuating a city is a tricky, lengthy exercise, » said Elizabeth May, Green Party of Canada leader.
" Our governments have a tendency to underestimate nature. Recent events, the world over, show that we shouldn’t and cannot afford to wait too long before declaring an evacuation. Yellowknife cannot become the next Lytton or Maui," said Jonathan Pedneault, Green Party Deputy Leader. "
The federal government has several tools at its disposal to ensure the protection of Yellowknife's civilians and surrounding communities, including through the mobilization of army air assets, RCMP and reservists.
" Now, it’s time to properly support and empower this country’s heroic first line responders to save lives, communities and prevent casualties. But tomorrow, Canadians will need to hear from this government what exactly it is that they propose to do in the long term to protect them from the dreadful consequences of the climate emergency, " Pedneault said.
31 million hectares were burnt by forest fires in 2023, releasing over a billion tonnes of emissions (nearly 1.5 times Canada's total annual emissions). We must act now.
The GPC would like to give its support to MP Richard Cannings' advocacy for a federal fire fighting force. We can also mention the Greens' proposal for purchasing more water bombers.
For more information or to arrange an interview :
Fabrice Lachance Nové