July 21st, 2017

What’s the rest of the story of Fort Mac fire?

By Letter to the Editor on June 18, 2017.

And now you don’t know the rest of the story.

We have all seen a lot of media stories regarding the single-biggest natural disaster in Canadian history, the Fort McMurray wildfire. $10 billion in cost and still rising, 80,000 people evacuated, 1,800 homes and other structures destroyed and let’s not forget about the human suffering that is still ongoing. We need to give an immense thank you and credit to all the front-line responders, the citizens of the affected area and the unbelievable generosity of people that helped with donations.

So, what role did the provincial NDP government play in this tragedy? After the wildfire turned into the “Beast,” I think they did an admirable job. But did the government play even a bigger role in why this wildfire turned into the “Beast”? Did the government cut the wildfire budget to $200 million when we spent $500 million last year and why?

Did the government cancel all contracts with water bombers 10 days before the fire? Did the government only renew the contacts on May 2, one day after the fire began and what impact did that have on the ultimate consequences? Did the premier accuse Brian Jean of fear-mongering, even after he lost his home in the fire, because he was asking these tough questions?

I still have a lot of questions and it is difficult to get to the truth and the truth matters. People need to be held accountable for these kinds of mistakes. This letter is not about how the government handled this situation. Politicians being politicians, I would expect them to make sure the taxpayers never find out the story behind the story.

Who I hold responsible for this is the mainstream media. If the questions I asked have any truth to them, then the second-biggest story of the year should have been reported by some mainstream media outlet, and would have reported the rest of the story. In a democracy, the mainstream media must play a pivotal role in keeping the public they serve informed and search for the truth behind the headlines.

If you search the internet you can come across all kinds of information, but you should always question the validity of the information. As Paul Harvey said, “Now you know the rest of the story.” Too bad we don’t. I fear the media has their own agenda.

Barrie Orich


4 Responses to “What’s the rest of the story of Fort Mac fire?”

  1. biff says:

    i appreciate your letter. moreover, i am left to wonder how many people remain without adequate support and compensation in fort mac. insurance companies too often are allowed to weasel out of obligations, as fine print seems to overrule implied understanding. i wonder, too, how much of the donated monies finds its way in an honest manner to those in need. meanwhile, we should be aware that so many people still remain without compensation following the floods of 2013. again, so many insurers found their way out of compensating their paying customers. gov’t seemed to look after the wealthiest first, while the many have seemingly been forgotten. but god bless the effort to ensure the stampede would not be missed. the saddledome was rescued as though it was the center of humanity. small business and small folk left to languish.

  2. phlushie says:

    One question that should be answered is : Why did the PC government allow Fort Mc Murray to expand without the necessary fire guards that were previously in place to protect the City? Was it due to the commercial pressure of expansion and the need to make money from the new development without the safeguards that were legislated and would have decreased the net profit. This seems how big business operates. The risk should be minimal so why should we mitigate it when it would cost us less if there is a loss. Memories of the gas filler in to old Ford Pinto that would incinerate the car from a rear end collsion, but risk could have completely non existant for a cost o $9.95 to replace the the filler pipe in each car. Enough said. Corporation did not take a risk but the people suffered for the corporate profit.

  3. Fedup Conservative says:

    This is what people from Fort McMurray have been telling me. Under the Lougheed and Getty governments, government funding was being provided to create and maintain a large fire break between the city and the forest. As the city grew the fire break grew. The Klein government eliminated this funding and under the Klein, Stelmach and Redford governments this fire break literally disappeared.

    It’s just one more thing for the Klein-lovers to brag about. After all they helped it happen. Hope they enjoy paying for the $10 billion it’s cost us. Add that to the $300 billion for the orphan wells Klein created for them and there is going to be a lot of seniors in financial ruin.

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