There are several areas in Canada that are suffering spring flooding, but none worse than the south-western part of the Province of Quebec including parts of the island of Montreal. For the first time in twenty years a Montreal mayor – Denis Coderre – has declared a State of Emergency. I have family members who are struggling mightily to save their house which is usually located some 100 feet from the water’s edge, but is currently on the cusp of the water cresting and coming over the sandbags.
The combination of a major late snowfall and more rain than has ever been experienced in April around here has caused rivers to expand exponentially.
The Canadian armed forces have been deployed to assist with evacuation efforts, as well as attempts to build sufficient sandbag dikes to ward off rising waters and provide temporary shelter.
I am not near water so I have been spared, but from what I have watched on the 24-hour news coverage there is, so far, little complaint about what is being done to help. This may all change once the emergency has been dealt with, but it appears there is a sense of appreciation at this point.
What irks me is when politicians, elected officials, visit the scene of devastation to survey the situation and just can’t seem to leave without a shot of them filling sandbags. By all means visit the flood victims, tell them you are with them, but do not use their plight as a photo-op for next election’s campaign bumpf!
Unless you are going to stick around and fill a couple of hundred sandbags, please don’t take advantage of shovel and bag to appear to be helping out physically. I like both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly. But both have been guilty of the photo-op I mention. A much better idea would be to issue a statement indicating that they are concerned, staying out of the way for now, and busily sending appropriate resources to the area.
That’s why we elect leaders, to use the tools of government to alleviate problems, not tools such as shovels and sandbags.