This Hansard has not been finalized - this is the "Blues" in Parliamentary speak, or unedited transcript in regular speak.

In the Legislative Assembly on February 9th, 2024. See this topic in context.

Member's Statement 61-20(1): 2023 Wildfire Season
Members' Statements

Kieron Testart

Kieron Testart Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, on the heels of a global pandemic and devastating floods, an unprecedented wildfire season forced more than two-thirds of the Northwest Territories to evacuate. The roads were packed with cars while the largest airlift in Canadian history brought residents to cities some had never stepped foot in before. As Northerners, we are still coping with this collective trauma. In this House, we must also cope with the public's loss in faith in our governments and institutions. Communication leading up to and during the crisis was confusing and contradictory. Cooperation between levels of governments was strained. Indigenous governments were left out of the decision-making process, and support for evacuees was slow to roll out.

Thankfully, though, there was much to be proud of as well. We were protected by brave firefighters, some from around the world. Dedicated essential workers stayed late or stayed out to maintain order. Volunteers stood up to support those on the frontline. Businesses and non-profits worked to keep evacuees as comfortable as possible and their homes safe while they were away. This crisis brought out the best in us as Northerners, and there are real heros amongst us, and we recognize their valor in our darkest times.

Fire seasons decades ago foreshadowed this crisis yet plans to cope with an emergency of this scale did not materialize after the fact. Thankfully, we now have the opportunity to learn from our mistakes and develop more comprehensive strategies for future fire seasons.

I thank all who showed such dedication to public service and public safety during the crisis, to the public for enduring such a traumatic moment in our shared history and hope to honour their dedication and perseverance by better preparing this territory for the future. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Member's Statement 61-20(1): 2023 Wildfire Season
Members' Statements

February 9th, 2024

The Speaker

The Speaker Shane Thompson

Thank you, Member from Range Lake. Members' statements.