OTTAWA – Thunder Bay – Rainy River Member of Parliament John Rafferty rose during Question Period in the House of Commons to request federal assistance with the rebuilding of public infrastructure following the devastating flood event in Thunder Bay, and the surrounding areas of Conmee, Oliver Paipoonge, and the Fort William First Nation.
Rafferty’s question; “When the damage to public infrastructure is fully assessed it will be in the tens of millions of dollars. When the request for financial assistance comes from the municipalities and the province, is this government prepared to help the people of Thunder Bay and surrounding areas rebuild after this unfortunate event?”
In response, the Minister for Public Safety affirmed; “The Government of Canada remains ready to assist should we be requested to do so.”
Since the flood event began Rafferty and his staff have been in frequent and direct contact with local officials in Oliver Paipoonge, Conmee, and Thunder Bay, as well as the Red Cross, the Minister for Public Safety, and the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.
One of the quiet situations not covered extensively in the media are the conditions on Fort William First Nation.
On Monday evening Rafferty raised the issue personally with the Public Safety Minister following a series of votes in parliament and said the Minister expressed concern.
With the declaration of a ‘State of Emergency,’ the affected areas can seek emergency funding from the province, which in turn can request assistance from the federal government. Rafferty said that he is unsure if a formal request has been made, but will be encouraging local and provincial officials to make the request as soon as possible and is prepared to assist them with the process.