Ottawa to match Red Cross donations for Fort McMurray

Photo by Jason Franson, the Canadian Press

OTTAWA, O.N. — The Prime Minister has announced that Ottawa will match all donations to the Red Cross to assist people displaced by the wildfires in Fort McMurray.

According to the Canadian Press, the House of Commons featured a series of statements by political leaders about the devastating fire. The blaze has forced the evacuation of nearly 90,000 in northern Alberta within three days.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the scale of the fire’s destruction has not yet been fully confirmed, but called it ‘far-reaching’ and ‘utterly devastating.’

He told members of parliament it’s a reminder of how Canadians will and must stand together with friends and neighbours in this difficult time.

Rona Ambrose, the interim leader of the Conservative party of Canada, says the citizens of Fort McMurray come from across Canada and have built a thriving resource community that now needs the support of the whole country.

She paid tribute to all the Atlantic Canadians who have made lives in the city, ‘which gives us hope and faith that the city of Fort McMurray will rise again.’

Ambrose says people around the world are watching the images and that Fort McMurray’s residents have faced ‘literally hell on the Earth’ in the last few days.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair called the stoic response of Fort McMurray citizens reassuring, and called it ‘profoundly Canadian’ to band together in a disaster. According to Mulcair, Bombardier water bombers from Quebec are on their way to the fire.

A number of federal departments have been pressed into service, including National Defence, Health Canada, Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Natural Resources Canada and the RCMP.

Four Griffon helicopters and one Hercules aircraft have been deployed by the Royal Canadian Air Force, with further air support on standby.

Disaster assistance funds will also be coming, in addition to the matching of Red Cross donations.