05 May 2016
Hon. Grant Mitchell: Honourable senators, I want to add my voice to those of our other Alberta colleagues, Senators Tardif, Black, Unger and McCoy, who spoke so passionately in statements and in Question Period yesterday and today in acknowledging the crisis facing the people of Fort McMurray and the devastating, almost incomprehensible impact it is having upon their lives and will, in fact, have for many years to come.
Fort McMurray is a very young city. It is filled with children and young families. It is at the cutting edge of our economy and of the technology, initiative and enterprise that drives it. I am struck by one persistent thought that seem stuck in my mind: a family from Fort McMurray who had made their stand in that city, escaping this inferno, driving just inches from this raging fire, in a car with very young children, a few quickly gathered possessions piled around them, mother and father just beginning to absorb that so many of their memories are burning behind them, and they are driving into a future that is about as frightening and unclear as the road ahead of them.
It is likely that the images of the fire will be seared in the memory of every one of us who has seen them for a long time to come. It is absolutely certain that they will be seared in the hearts and psyches and lives of those who are experiencing them.
This massive assault on that community adds insult to the already deep injury that the people of Fort McMurray have experienced over the past number of years due to the dramatic economic downturn. While it is often said, it has been no truer at any time than in this case: The people of Fort McMurray are resilient, tough and strong, and they will recover and thrive once again.
I want to acknowledge the firefighters, paramedics, RCMP officers, public servants, community leaders, the military and the neighbours who are helping one another for all that they are doing, undoubtedly sometimes at great personal risk, to fight this fire and save this community and its people.
I know I speak for Albertans, senators and Canadians everywhere when I say our thoughts, prayers and hopes are with them all.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Please click here to read this speech in French/ Veuillez appuyer ici pour lire ce discours en français.