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Broten calls for full inquiry on forest fires

July 21st, 2015

NDP Leader also proposes immediate actions

With the immediate threat to northern communities averted thanks to the hard work of fire crews, and with most evacuees returned home, Saskatchewan’s New Democrats are calling for a full forest fire inquiry to address the many concerns raised by northern leaders and community members.

“Over the last month, I’ve visited the northern fire zone several times and I’ve heard a lot of frustration about the deep cuts to forest firefighting resources, about policies that are too rigid and restrictive, about the lack of collaboration with First Nations and northern leaders, and even about the lack of basic information shared with those leaders and evacuees,” said NDP Leader Cam Broten. “I want to see a full, independent review to ensure the appropriate lessons are learned from this experience, and to deliver a much better approach to forest fires going forward.”

Broten said the review must be independent, led by experts appointed in consultation with First Nations and northern leaders, to prevent it from becoming a public relations exercise for the government.

“We’re incredibly relieved there was no loss of life, but there has been a tremendous toll on all affected families and communities and I know they have many questions,” said Broten. “What role did all the cuts and shrinking resources have in allowing these forest fires to get so out of control? Why weren’t enough people put on the front lines sooner? Why was there so little collaboration with First Nations that wanted to help house evacuees? Why was information not shared more readily? These are the kinds of questions many northern leaders and community members are asking, and they deserve answers.”

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Broten calls for full inquiry on forest fires

July 21st, 2015

NDP Leader also proposes immediate actions

With the immediate threat to northern communities averted thanks to the hard work of fire crews, and with most evacuees returned home, Saskatchewan’s New Democrats are calling for a full forest fire inquiry to address the many concerns raised by northern leaders and community members.

“Over the last month, I’ve visited the northern fire zone several times and I’ve heard a lot of frustration about the deep cuts to forest firefighting resources, about policies that are too rigid and restrictive, about the lack of collaboration with First Nations and northern leaders, and even about the lack of basic information shared with those leaders and evacuees,” said NDP Leader Cam Broten. “I want to see a full, independent review to ensure the appropriate lessons are learned from this experience, and to deliver a much better approach to forest fires going forward.”

Broten said the review must be independent, led by experts appointed in consultation with First Nations and northern leaders, to prevent it from becoming a public relations exercise for the government.

“We’re incredibly relieved there was no loss of life, but there has been a tremendous toll on all affected families and communities and I know they have many questions,” said Broten. “What role did all the cuts and shrinking resources have in allowing these forest fires to get so out of control? Why weren’t enough people put on the front lines sooner? Why was there so little collaboration with First Nations that wanted to help house evacuees? Why was information not shared more readily? These are the kinds of questions many northern leaders and community members are asking, and they deserve answers.”

Read Full Article...