ELECTION 2015: NDP focus on natural disasters

NDP leader Tom Mulcair recently announced a plan to assist provinces and territories in fighting wildfires and other natural disasters.

NDP leader Tom Mulcair recently announced a plan to assist provinces and territories in fighting wildfires and other natural disasters. The plan focuses on co-ordination, training and infrastructure.

If elected on October 19th, Mulcair said the NDP would restore $7 million in annual funding to a Joint Emergency Preparedness Program, which bolsters training and equipment for natural disasters. Additionally, he said his government would provide $2 million annually for civilian disaster training programs, which was discontinued by the Conservative government.

“The Kootenay-Columbia region is experiencing worsening conditions for forest fires, and we know the problem will be made worse by climate change,” NDP candidate Wayne Stetski said in a press release. “It is no secret that government resources and first responders are being stretched to the limit this summer. The NDP is taking action to ensure Canadians and their homes are safer with an effective and modern approach to coordinated disaster assistance.”

To date, there have been 538 fires across the Southeast Fire Centre, which includes much of the Kootenay-Columbia riding. Stetski said cutbacks by the Conservative government have made fires more dangerous locally.

“The Harper Conservatives have increased the risk to residents of the Kootenays by cutting training in emergency preparedness,” Stetski said. “Tom Mulcair understands the importance of a strong national plan on wildfires to help the Kootenays. That is the kind of leadership that Canada needs.”

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