Where are the fire plans for Little Grand Rapids and Pauingassi which the Minister promised on May 23rd?
On May 23rd, the Minister of Infrastructure said he would have for me the fire plans for Little Grand Rapids and Pauingassi communities. He has not provided the fire plans, or even a letter with information about the fire plans. I asked the Minister why he has not provided the fire plans when they should have been readily available to coordinate activities among all emergency personnel. My questions and the Minister's response is below.
Little Grand Rapids and Pauingassi - Request to Table Fire Plan
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, on May the 23rd, I asked the minister for the fire plans for the communities of Pauingassi and Little Grand Rapids. The minister replied, and I quote: I would like to suggest to all members of the Legislature that there are fire plans in place. And if the member would like to have access to those, perhaps not today or tomorrow, but we can get those for him. End of quote. That was almost two weeks ago.
I'd like to ask the minister why he has still not provided the fire plans and whether he'll table the fire plans for these communities today, or doesn't he even have the fire plans?
Hon. Ron Schuler (Minister of Infrastructure): Well, Madam Speaker, I explained this to the member for River Heights on Thursday, and I am more than willing to explain it to all members of the Legislature. Both of those communities that he mentioned are federal jurisdiction. There are fire plans. We do have access to them as emergency measures.
I indicated to the member also we'll be sending him a letter where he should go to in the federal government to ask for copies of them. Madam Speaker, we, as a Province, are not allowed to hand those out on behalf of those communities and the federal government. I told him all of that on Thursday.
Madam Speaker: The honourable member for River Heights, on a supplementary question.
Mr. Gerrard: Madam Speaker, when we're dealing with a forest fire approaching, a community like Little Grand or Pauingassi, it's important to have good fire plans in place and that those who are dealing with the emergency, whether at a provincial or a federal level, have quick access to those plans to make sure the effort is well co-ordinated and following the approach of the fire plan.
I ask the minister today whether he has actually seen those fire plans and whether he is using them in implementation of the strategy to address the fire and to help the communities in Pauingassi and Little Grand.
Mr. Schuler: Will, Madam Speaker, as a former minister of the Crown, the member would know that these exist. He was a federal minister of the Crown; he should know that these plans exist.
I would also like to point out to him that both Little Grand Rapids and Pauingassi were both evacuated. And I would suspect, Madam Speaker, that the federal government and those two communities were probably more focused on ensuring that their residents got out to safety and not quite as focused on the member's need to see the emergency plans.
Madam Speaker, I will get him a letter. I will point out to him where he should go within the federal government to access those plans.
Madam Speaker: The honourable member for River Heights, on a final supplementary.
Little Grand Rapids Evacuees - Return to Community Plan
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, I hear from the chief and council at Little Grand Rapids that the evacuees from their community are being approached by drug dealers who want to give them meth. I had asked the ministers for assurances that this wouldn't happen, on May 23rd, but now we know that it is happening.
The chief and council believe there's an urgency to return people to their community as soon as possible before the community has to deal with a meth epidemic.
Can the minister tell us today what actions he's taking to enable people to return to their community as soon as possible, and can he share those plans? Thank you.
Hon. Ron Schuler (Minister of Infrastructure): Well, Madam Speaker, I would caution the member for River Heights to choose his words 'carefinly.' He's disparagingly spoken about Little Grand Rapids and Pauingassi and the fact that they may or may not have emergency plans and that they haven't come forward with them, and now he's taking a run at law enforcement.
Madam Speaker, federal government, through the Red Cross, with the leadership of Little Grand Rapids and Pauingassi, have done an outstanding job protecting their citizens, and I would suggest to the member opposite that he just wait, let's get the situation cleared up. Manitoba Hydro is up north right now, assessing the situation. They will come back with a report.
Everybody is working flat out. Maybe the member opposite should cut them some slack and wait 'til the event is over before he second-guesses people.