Editor, The Times:
As I write this, the Fort Mac fire has flared up again! Even some of the oil camps previously untouched are now under threat. This whole fiery ‘hell’ is not over — not by a long shot.
During the evacuation of Fort Mac the courage of the firefighters, first responders, the RCMP was something to behold. Even those notorious Alberta drivers were, in the main, restrained, patiently taking their places in the snail-like convoy taking them away from the blazing inferno that was their home — some never to see their now burned-out dwellings again.
Plus the great relief effort, the organization of beds, breakfast, and places to stay. Again it was magnificent.
The individuals who loaded their vehicles with cans of gasoline, blankets and food then drove up toward Fort Mac. The responses from agencies, both government and private, to the unfortunates from ‘Mac’ — well I tell you it made one proud to be born Canadian! May the tales of courage and sacrifice ring down through the ages.
However, this all masks a fundamental fact — Fort McMurray as it was developed should have never been.
It is said that great Canadian and Albertan Peter Lougheed was brokenhearted in his last years at the way the Athabaska ‘tar sands’ had been developed.
His orderly vision was cast aside for some wild west, red neck, yahoo, free-for-all. This involves such characters as the notorious Koch and China State Oil raping and pillaging the land, allowing toxic runoff into the Athabaska River. Not only that but right in the era of $100 a barrel Alberta ended up $6 billion in the red. Oil wealth is truly a chimera — look at Newfoundland.
One more thing. If these fires in Alberta and B.C. coming in April-May don’t drive a sharp stake into the vampire hearts of the climate change deniers, what will?
Fort Mac — it’s not over yet!