Updating Canadians on the wildfire situation
The forest fire situation is still very serious across the entire country. Earlier this week, our team spoke of what we are currently doing to keep people and communities safe. I would again like to thank all those across the country who are working very hard to protect their neighbours, Canadians, from coast to coast to coast.
Yesterday, I spoke with Captain Kevin Kirkham and Connor Scott, two firefighters in Nova Scotia. They were involved in a particular act of heroism, putting their well-being at risk, racing into a burning community to evacuate an elderly man who was unaware of the threats they were facing. As always, speaking with firefighters, they tried to shrug it off a little bit, “Oh, it’s just our job, we’re just there to help people” with that extraordinary modesty of heroes.
But I pushed on them a little bit. I said, you guys do these things day in and day out. Firefighters are stepping up, first responders are stepping up in harrowing situations to save their fellow citizens and when we get an opportunity to see the direct impact and it gets a little bit of coverage and the stories get out, it is all the more important that we be there to say thank you.
I actually had a nice moment with Connor where he admitted that when he’d gotten home at the end of the day, he hadn’t quite explained in detail the incident and the challenges they were facing and his partner who’s pregnant with their child, just reading the news was a little bit worried for him. And I think a lot about partners and families of first responders.
When I spoke with Kevin, I also spoke with his wife, Amanda, and Liam. And I want to thank right now all the families of firefighters, of first responders, of CAF members who put themselves in harm’s way to protect, serve, and save Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Liam’s in grade four and I actually asked him if he had any advice for my son, who’s going into grade 4 next year and he said it gets better. It’s a little challenging, but not too bad.
But having those moments to thank families and engage with the people on the front lines who are showing the very best of Canadians in stepping up is something I think we all need to be taking time to do, to recognize the first responders in our communities, those who are there to keep us all safe, even through the most difficult and devastating of times.
In a moment, Minister Anand will speak to the current status of Canadian Armed Forces deployment in Alberta, Nova Scotia, and Quebec. There are hundreds of armed forces members now deployed. Additionally, the CAF is helping with everything from delivering food and supplies to people in Minganie, Quebec, to providing logistic support for water bombers at CFB Greenwood.
Hundreds of Canadian Armed Forces members are currently deployed, and these deployments are in addition to the support provided to firefighters and the equipment provided, and to the support provided to Indigenous communities.
Matching funds are also live for Alberta, the Northwest Territories, and Nova Scotia, so if you can please consider making a donation.
Before I pass it over to Minister Blair, I want to recognize the air quality statements that have been issued by Environment Canada because of wildfire smoke. People across the country are being affected. We’re seeing vulnerable people at risk, outdoor events cancelled, kids having to be kept inside at recess. And I can’t help but think, my conversation with Liam yesterday to conversations with my own kids, the past few years have been challenging for kids, whether it was through the pandemic, whether it was readjusting to school, whether it’s now dealing with wildfires that have everyone really worried and smoke that’s preventing them from going to play outside. I want to thank kids for continuing to play safe, to be safe, and to help around the house and to help their families get through these scary times, including all the kids who can’t return to their homes all the way across the country. Please listen to your local health agencies about how to stay safe.
These are challenging times, but together, as always, we will get through them.