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Wildrose party says NDP needs to explain held reports on Fort McMurray wildfires

Last Updated Jun 12, 2017 at 9:11 am MDT

PHOTO. Brian Jean, leader of the Wildrose party. Captured during a Facebook Live of his response to the wildfire reports released on June 8, 2017.

On June 9, 2017 Brian Jean, leader of the Wildrose Party held a press conference to give their thoughts after the two Fort McMurray wildfire reports were released last night after they had been leaked.

“There were lives lost as part of the evacuation, and it’s a miracle there weren’t more. It’s inexcusable that so many people had to watch flames sweep over their houses and cars, and still haven’t got honest answers from the government,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said. “The fact the government held onto these reports for months to try and whitewash their findings has only further eroded the trust of the people of Fort McMurray. It’s an insult, and they deserve better. They deserve a public inquiry.”

The findings of the report showed communication errors during the evacuation and a lack of readiness to fight and contain the fire after it was discovered on May 1, 2016.

The Municipal and wildland firefighters were on different radio frequencies and some residents only found out through social media or once the fire was on their doorstep.

From the reports one of the main questions that was on many people’s minds was whether or not the evacuation order should have come sooner, to which no government official was able to answer.

Another finding that upset the Wildrose Party from the leaked reports was that they had actually been sitting on the government’s desk since March, despite both Premier Rachel Notley and Agriculture and Forestry Minister Oneil Carlier repeatedly insisting that the reports either were not finished or had not been read.

“It’s clear the government was more worried about trying to spin the report’s findings than being fully open and transparent with Albertans,” Wildrose Shadow Emergency Response & Disaster Preparedness Minister Dave Hanson said, “there are more questions than answers coming out of these reports and we need to get to the bottom of this.”

On May 3 2017, the anniversary of the wildfire, at a press conference in one of the hardest hit neighborhoods of Fort McMurray, Premier Notely said, “we’ve got two reviews underway provincially … and so they’re not complete as of yet, but we expect that they will be in about two to four weeks.”

She also went on to say, “we’re going to wait until the reports come out with the full context,” when asked if she knew if anything in the reviews had been undertaken.

On June 1, Carlier told Postmedia he had yet to see the final report into the Fort McMurray fire and Premier Notely said the two independent reports were “imminent”.

On the same day in Question Period, the Premier said quote “we … are looking forward to receiving the two independent reports that we’ve commissioned.”

Links to the Reports 

Report done by MNP “A Review of the 2016 Horse River Wildfire – Alberta Agriculture and Forestry Preparedness and Response.”

Report done by KPMG “Response to Wood Buffalo Wildfire – KPMG Report Alberta Municipal Affairs.”