EDITORIAL: Coming together for Fort McMurray

The past week has been one of which all Canadians should be proud.

In the face of incredible adversity, we, as a nation, have come together to help out our fellow patriots.

For many of us, the Fort McMurray fires hit on a personal level. There are many commuters from the Comox Valley who make their living by flying in and out of the northern Alberta city.

Others have friends, or family, directly affected by the terrible fire situation that continues to unfold in the region.

Fortunately there was no immediate loss of life, although the firefighters who continue to battle the situation are constantly in danger’s way, and our thoughts are with them.

But to see how people from one end of this country to the other immediately discarded their prejudices and opinions about Alberta and reached out to help in any way they could was a testament to what makes this nation great.

A brewery stopped producing beer, so it could can water. A passenger airline flew numerous additional flights, landing at private airstrips to evacuate workers who had been stranded in camps.

More impressive yet has been the response from individuals.

Families opening their homes to evacuees. People driving across the province, or in from neighbouring provinces, with truckloads of water, clothing and food. There have been impromptu fundraising efforts from B.C. to Newfoundland, to help the cause.

As of Monday morning, the Red Cross had received more than $54 million in donations and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that Ottawa will match donations to the Red Cross up to May 31, without a cap.

It will take a lot more than that to rebuild the once-thriving oil city. Insurance estimates have already exceeded $9 billion in losses. More than 1,600 structures have been torched.

It will take years to recoup everything. But we are already working on it, and that’s what makes us special.

It is an intriguing juxtaposition to what’s happening in the United States right now, with a Republican candidate spewing hate and fear all the way to the top of the polls.

Be proud, Canada. We are a great nation of people.

–Terry Farrell

 

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