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MLA Report - Aug. 9, 2021

Extreme summer weather in Manitoba highlights importance of being prepared to evacuate
danielle adams column headshot

Manitoba has been having a record-breaking summer, as temperatures have reached highs not seen for 30 years. At the same time, we are also experiencing a drought, which has created a perfect storm for forest fires. All of Northern Manitoba currently has fire restrictions in place. For recent updates, go to https://www.gov.mb.ca/cgi-bin/fire/show_current.pl?location=Fire-Update.

Several northern communities have had to precautionarily evacuate over the course of the summer due to forest fires and this just underlines how important it is to be prepared. Here’s what experts recommend:

Have a kit packed and ready to go that includes: 

medication

driver’s licence and other IDs 

credit cards, cash

food and water (enough for three days) 

pet supplies 

toys for children

sleeping bags or blankets in waterproof bags

battery-powered radio 

an emergency plan 

For more information on how to protect your property from fires and be prepared in the case of an emergency, visit the City of Thompson website under Community Wildfire Protection Plan online. 

Unfortunately, Manitoba’s forest fires will become more extreme and frequent the longer the Pallister government delays meaningful action on climate change. The province’s current plan is nowhere near ambitious enough to reach greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions targets and GHGs have climbed every year the Progressive Conservatives have been in office. We need a government that takes the climate crisis seriously, instead of taking the federal government to court and underspending federal funds meant for climate change mitigation. Climate change mitigation involves having water bombers on standby at all times to fight our forest fires. However, the PCs privatized Manitoba’s water bombers in 2018, which has raised fears of our planes not being available when we need them.  

The PCs have also decided to make life more difficult for hydro ratepayers yet again by increasing rates by 2.5 per cent per year for the next three years. They’re increasing rates without an independent review from the Public Utilities Board (PUB). This means that Manitobans will not know whether or not they are being asked to overpay as the PC caucus is setting rates at the cabinet table without any transparency or independent oversight.

For First Nations members living on reserve, this will be their third increase within a year, which amounts to a total of around 12 per cent. These increases while communities are still trying to recover from a pandemic are unjust and demonstrate that the Pallister government does not understand the situation for many families living on reserve. In particular, many homes on reserve are not insulated as well as in other communities, meaning that homeowners already have to spend more on hydro to keep their homes warm.  

If you have any questions or concerns regarding increased hydro rates or local wildfires please reach out to me at Danielle.adams@yourmanitoba.ca or by calling me at 204-677-2744.