I was pleased to accept an invitation from Quebec property owners in neighbouring Pontiac County, to attend a Quebec government meeting for flood victims in Campbell’s Bay on the Ottawa River. Later, I attended a flood meeting in Mattawa, which included Renfrew County flood victims.
I was honoured to accept the invitation by Jane Toller, Warden of Pontiac County and to meet Quebec Member of the National Assembly Andre Fortin, to discuss our common concern over fair treatment for Ottawa River flood victims.
Many of the Quebec property owners, who are being unfairly treated, are residents of my Ontario riding also. Residents of the Ottawa Valley on both sides of the river are all in this predicament together.
A new decree from the Quebec government prohibits building permits in areas flooded during either 2017 or 2019. Boundaries for flood zones now include properties that did not experience flooding, immediately robbing them of value.
Canadians understand that draining the local economy by confiscating property values, does nothing to promote culture-based tourism or sustainable nature conservation. A program that will actually benefit flood victims, while preserving property rights, is needed.
It is time for the Federal Government to take responsibility for bad policy decisions currently displacing Canadians. The Federal Government should have realized the problem before it signed the international agreement with the United States, Plan 2014. The plan raised the water levels in the Great Lakes Watershed, which also includes the Ottawa River watershed. It was signed on December 8th, 2016, and within three months, in 2017 the Ottawa River set high-water level records, and again two years later in 2019.
As the owner of the dam on Lake Temiskaming, which acts as a reservoir for the Ottawa River, the Federal Government is responsible for flooding caused by the operation of that dam. Mattawa was devastated by the release of water from the Temiskaming dam. Residents of Mattawa were given as little as two hours to evacuate their homes before flood waters reached them.
I have written the Prime Minister directly, requesting fair compensation for all flood victims. This needs to be settled before the Federal election is called. Residents need to be preparing now before next year’s flood season.
Please, join me in calling on the Prime Minister to do the right thing and provide federal compensation to all the victims of highwater caused by federal policies.