B.C. Premier John Horgan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have vowed to match flood relief donations to the Canadian Red Cross, and set up a federal-provincial cabinet committee to deal with the devastation of southern B.C. roads and farms.
Trudeau and Horgan spoke at the B.C. legislature Friday evening, in an appearance delayed as anti-pipeline and logging protesters chanted outside. Trudeau made no specific commitments, beyond a pledge that the federal government will be a “full partner” in the long road to repairs.
Horgan said questions about the financial impact of the flood and mudslide disaster are premature. He said an earlier decision to leave Fraser Valley dikes and flood control up to local governments has not worked, and the federal and provincial governments have to do a better job.
“Now the rubber hits the road,” Horgan said. “It’s going to take a bundle of money,” but he said he’s confident B.C. and Canada have a strong enough economy to do it.
Trudeau stressed the goal of “having Canadians’ backs,” and cited the federal government’s aid so far, $4.5 million to Indigenous communities on federal reserves, and another $4 million for the Port of Vancouver to deal with shipping, rail and highway disruptions.
Horgan credited Trudeau and U.S. President Joe Biden for their quick action to bring in gasoline and diesel fuel from U.S. by barge to replenish Southwestern B.C., where rail, roads and the Trans Mountain crude and fuels pipeline have been off line. He also said he has support from Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to deal with the Nooksack River flooding that washed out dikes in B.C.