In question period earlier today, I called on the Minister responsible for Emergency Measures to ensure people at Little Grand Rapids who have been unable to be evacuated because of dense smoke can be evacuated quickly because the fire is close by and moving into the community. The need is urgent. My question and the Minister's response is below:
Wildfire in Little Grand Rapids - Evacuation Difficulties
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, wildfires are raging across our province right now. One of these, a fire which is twice the size of the city of Winnipeg, is threatening the communities of Little Grand Rapids and Paungassi. Indeed, it is now, as I understand it, very close to and indeed moving into the community of Little Grand Rapids, and I hear from the MLA for Kewatinook that the fire has already destroyed three homes. I understand there is a difficulty in landing planes and that because of very dense smoke, many are still not yet evacuated from Little Grand Rapids.
I ask: What is the provincial plan to evacuate people under conditions of dense smoke when planes are not able to land?
Hon. Ron Schuler (Minister of Infrastructure): I thank the member from the Liberal Party for this very serious question, and we know we've got a lot of challenges currently with wildfires.
I do want to convey to the House that I just recently as 45 minutes ago had a very good conversation with Minister Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. The federal government is prepared to help us where they need to. In fact, last night a call went out at approximately midnight for some help from the Canadian Armed Forces to airlift individuals out.
Where there's a need, Madam Speaker, whether it's Ontario and Quebec, the federal government–or others–at these times we're all Canadians and we're all prepared to help out.