Gateway Gazette

PCs completely out of touch with flood victims: Alberta Party

Windsor calls remarks by PC Candidate “plainly irresponsible”.

HIGH RIVER, AB – Alberta Party Candidate Joel Windsor says he is baffled by comments made by PC Candidate Carrie Fischer suggesting the flood is not an issue in the constituency.

“I’m not hearing the flood factoring into the election at all,” said Fischer during an interview during a campaign stop by Premier Jim Prentice in High River on Friday.

“It’s plainly irresponsible, and cannot be representative of Highwood, nor Alberta,” said Windsor after a supporter made him aware of Fischer’s comments.

Windsor made reference to the many stories he has heard since the flood, including dealing with the Disaster Recovery Program, bulldozing of homes after they’ve already been remediated, trust during an evacuation, support for people who want to purchase homes in High River, and the ongoing mental issues suffered by survivors of the flood.

“Yesterday I spoke to a person who is being told to move out of her home, doesn’t want to leave this wonderful town, yet can’t find a new home to purchase,” said Windsor.

“Even if she could find one, I spoke to a mortgage broker in town who has had to travel across the country to advocate for High Riverites just to get lenders to lend again.”

Windsor has also been advocating for the Disaster Recovery Program, and while it appears at first as though the program has been closing files relatively quickly, upon deeper inspection it is not really so.

“Files are being closed at a rate of approximately 5 per week, which puts them far off their June 1 deadline,” said Windsor, adding that many of those files go into appeals immediately after closure.

“I believe in a ‘get it done right the first time’ strategy which saves not only the stress of having to repeat the agony through appeals, but also the cost of implementing the DRP.”

Windsor is also acutely aware of the mental challenges faced by survivors of the flood.

“Those who suffer from depression are not alone and supports exist, but in High River many of those extra supports are temporary and have finite resources.”

Windsor stated the Alberta Party would increase resources to support the mental health of Albertans, and Highwood would see mental health resources become more permanent.

He also stated the Alberta Party is also interested in reviewing both the Disaster Recovery Program and the Emergency Management Act to correct issues that took place during the 2013 Floods such that they never happen again.

“No Albertan should go through what residents in High River, Calgary Elbow, Medicine Hat, Exshaw, the Siksika Nation and other communities had to go through after the waters receded. They were victimized by poor provincial government processes.”

Windsor says he is further baffled by Fischer’s remarks because many of the problems that took place following the 2013 Flood still exist.

“Flood maps are still out of date, which affects mortgages and insurance; the Disaster Recovery Program still isn’t helping every applicant get things sorted out in a timely fashion; evacuation protocols still need to be reviewed, and mitigation still needs to be decided upon let alone implemented,” said Windsor.

“I guess it’s just hard for me to believe that the Mrs. Fischer and the PCs are that far out of touch, because I didn’t think anybody could be that far out of touch with Albertans.”

Windsor says he is the only candidate who was actually in town during the flood and during its recovery, and so is the best candidate to represent those issues in Edmonton.

“I was on the ground when the flood waters came rushing past the school, I was evacuated from the evacuation centre, the second we were allowed back in was the second I started helping neighbours clean up, and I’ve been involved in a wide array of discussions revolving around the community’s recovery.”

“I am the only candidate who has a chance of understanding High River and its needs.”

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