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MP Cheryl Gallant Meets with Concerned Flood Victims: Request for an Independent Public Inquiry

No one seems to be talking about solutions. That was just one of the points raised by a group of flood victims, who recently met with me to talk about flooding in the Ottawa Valley. 

Everyone has questions and wants answers.

Corey Spence, Dave Smyth, Maurice Leger, and Sue Samson are members of an informal group of property owners adversely affected by Ottawa River flooding.

They have come together to request an independent public inquiry.

The Ottawa River flooding issue is a shared issue for Ontario and Quebec since the federal government has legislative authority over “all works connected with the same, or in or on the waters of the River.” That definition in the legislation would include the dams.

It is a given and everyone knows, the historic high waters of 2019 has resulted in unprecedented financial losses and expense. Flooding victims have suffered much hardship, are angry, and frustrated. Affected property owners are grateful for the help provided by emergency response teams from all levels of government, including volunteers and soldiers from Garrison Petawawa. 

They are saying, now is the time to go beyond speculation as to the cause of this year’s water levels.  Too much snow, too much rain, too warm, too cold, climate change, dam mismanagement are being blamed.  The group wants to start talking solutions, or 2020 will be worse than 2019.

Everyone also knows there are restrictions to flow in the Ottawa River. Will removing restrictions to water flow, which the federal government is currently proposing, solve the problem, or just make matters worse?

If the federal government moves forward with its legislation now in Parliament, where is the buy-out program for affected properties? 

If the federal government plans on making flooding along the Ottawa River an annual event, compensation is required.

We know from an historic marker dating back to 1897 that this year’s level was higher.  That 1897 level had not been breeched in 122 years, not even in 2017.  What has changed?

If it is the position of the federal government that flooding problems are due to ‘man-made global warming,’ flood victims are asking, ‘do we really want to go through this every year understanding that climate change issues won’t soon be resolved?’

The Liberal leader was quite happy to fly to Paris and give Canadian taxpayers’ dollars to help re-build Notre Dame Cathedral.  He has handed out billions in deficit dollars to respond to climate change in other countries. 

A funded plan for adaptation for Canadians is reasonable. In response to the many requests for a public meeting, I intend to honour that request.