Flooding in FORT FRANCES: Ontario Needs to Submit Request for Assistance to Feds
FORT FRANCES – NEWS – Marcus Powlowski, MP for Thunder Bay-Rainy River was in the Fort Frances region this past weekend to see first-hand the devastation in the towns and First Nations caused by the recent flooding. In Fort Frances, MP Powlowski met with Mayor June Caul and Operations & Facilities Manager Travis Rob.
“My office has been receiving a number of calls from constituents in the region upset with what is happening to their homes and community. I needed to drive down myself to talk with them and see the flooding first-hand,” says Powlowski
“The Provincial Government has the initial responsibility to respond to emergencies that happen within its borders. However, when the Province is facing an emergency that is beyond its capacity to handle, it can submit a Request for Assistance (RFA) to the Federal Government if it wants federal help, including military assistance. Without an RFA, the federal government cannot legally send in assistance,” explains Powlowski.
Powlowski adds, “I believe the Province of Ontario is offering as much help as it can to the people of Northwestern Ontario. Many provincial workers and firefighters are here helping our communities. However, from the people I have talked to and the damage I have seen, I think it is arguable that the province is facing an emergency beyond its capacity. On this basis, I think a strong case can be made that the province should submit an RFA to the federal government for additional assistance. I encourage the Province to make this request. I know that my Government is more than ready to assist if this RFA comes in.”
Together they toured areas hit hard by the flooding and discussed what needs to be done. MP Powlowski also visited flooding sites in Watten Township, Halkirk Township, Couchiching First Nation, and Seine River First Nation.
MP Powlowski assisted with sandbagging efforts and was amazed to see the affected communities come together, providing assistance where needed. At the same time, it was difficult to see so many of his constituents stressed and exhausted from protecting their properties night and day for the past several weeks.
Powlowski is encouraging the Province to put the wheels in motion and submit a Request for Federal Assistance (RFA) so the Federal Government can lend assistance to the people of the region. RFAs allow the Federal Government to lend additional support to a Province facing an emergency beyond its capacity to respond to. Without an RFA, the Federal Government cannot send in additional support, including the military.
Powlowski has also been in contact with the Federal Government’s Minister of Emergency Preparedness, Bill Blair, who has been regularly briefed on the situation and reassured Powlowski the Federal Government is willing to help if needed.