News reports tell me that Mr. Trudeau has generously sent two planes with 119 soldiers from their base in Edmonton to assist in addressing the damage caused by the massive flooding we experienced just days ago.
119 soldiers when our land routes to the rest of the country have been severed.
Nevertheless, I suppose we folks on the western fringe of the country should be grateful for the 119 sent to assist us even though the feds probably sent more troops and equipment to Toronto to clear snow a few years ago.
The Lower Mainland is an earthquake zone and perhaps the region of the country in most need of a land-based military presence, something it had until 1995. In his budget that year then Finance Minister Paul Martin closed the Army Engineers base in Chilliwack and transferred the personnel and their equipment to Edmonton.
At that time it was made clear to the Chretien government that if a major earthquake hit the Lower Mainland it could very easily destroy land routes in and out of the area as has happened with the torrential rains. As well, with an earthquake there is a real possibility that airport facilities would be unusable.
With the inability of moving troops and equipment from Edmonton it was suggested that any substantial assistance was more likely to come from the huge well equipped US military base Lewis-McChord located south of Tacoma.
Moving the Army Engineers from Chilliwack to Edmonton was a huge mistake as the events of the last few days have shown.
The question is, was it a wakeup call to the feds to re-establish a land based military presence in the Lower Mainland or are we still too far from Ottawa to matter?
Reform MP (1993-2011)