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Wednesday, 10 July 2013 13:29

More questions than answers for government and flood victims

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As people continue to clean up and rebuild some semblance of their lives in southern Alberta following the June floods, now the questions arise. So. Many. Questions.

Calgary’s drainage system is going to cost $170 million while $50 million has been spent on $1,200 debit cards for adults and $500 per child. Basically, $50 million has bought the government time — perhaps a week or two.
Now, one can hear the rumblings on social media of people complaining the $1,200 isn’t enough and some are looking for more. Of course, the peanut gallery critics of these payments are saying the system is being taken advantage of: either by those who don’t deserve or need it. Others’ attitude is “too bad for building where you did, but you should’ve known better.”
In a Calgary Herald column by the brilliant Don Braid, he interviewed Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths who said the government hasn’t figured out where the money is coming from yet, or what the criteria will be i.e. if Premier Alison Redford promised to cover the costs of a new home for those who cannot go back because it’s not habitable.
Knowing people in High River, both who had damage to their houses or are (expected to be) total write-offs, I can understand their plights. They have enough uncertainty now with trying to find people to fix their homes and not knowing when can they even get into their homes.
Will they get compensation for the assessed value of their homes or market value? Where will these displaced people build? Do those in the flood plain tempt fate again? Does the government limit where those people or those in the future can re-build?
There is also debate about whether the provincial government could’ve done more to prevent this catastrophe (see George Groenveld and his 2006 report on what the province should do following the 2005 flood). Many agree his recommendations could’ve been put in place and there still would’ve been flooding, but no one will ever know for sure.
Questions galore, but the provincial and federal governments need to have an effective plan in place. Perhaps the government could limit assistance to those who have a certain gross household income for example or have it on a grading scale.
While it’s a Progressive Conservative government both provincially in Alberta and federally and their general mantra is to be fiscally conservative and governments should try to stay out of the lives of people as much as possible, now is not the time to follow traditional ideology — just be smart about it.
For taxpayers of Alberta, after suffering from years of perceived mismanagement and spending waste ny the provincial government, we all wait with bated breath to see how this tragedy is handled.
Ryan Dahlman is managing editor with the Prairie Post. Contact him with your comments about this opinion piece at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor