CALGARY, ALBERTA -- (Marketwired) -- 06/27/13 -- The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, today met with members of the Siksika Nation and pledged the Harper Government's ongoing support for First Nations affected by the historic flooding in Alberta. Minister Valcourt was joined by the Honourable Jason Kenney, MP for Calgary Southeast and Regional Minister for Southern Alberta; and the Honourable Ted Menzies, MP for Macleod, and Minister of State (Finance).
"The impact of the flooding on First Nations has been devastating, but the resilience, strength and tenacity shown by community members and their leaders in the face of this adversity is truly admirable," said Minister Valcourt. "Today I committed to the community members I met with and to regional First Nation leadership, that our Government will continue working closely with First Nations in Alberta and with the province to ensure a full recovery in as timely a manner as possible."
"As our focus has turned to rebuilding after the flood, it has been tremendous to see the strength, leadership, and perseverance in Alberta's First Nations communities to overcome this devastating ordeal," said Minister Kenney. "The federal government continues to work with affected First Nations communities and the Alberta government to provide full support in recovery efforts."
"The historic flooding that we have experienced has prompted a tremendous response from the First Nations, Albertans, and all Canadians, who have come together to ensure that those affected are safe and secure," said Minister Menzies. "As we enter the recovery phase of the disaster our Government will continue to work closely with the province and with First Nations to ensure that First Nations can return to their communities and begin the process of rebuilding as quickly as possible."
Ministers Valcourt, Kenney and Menzies also met with Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo, the province of Alberta's Minister of Aboriginal Relations, the Honourable Robin Campbell, and with Treaty 7 Grand Chief Charles Weaselhead, to begin discussions on the recovery plan for First Nation communities.
"Meeting with the First Nations leaders in Alberta and visiting the affected communities shows the huge impact this tragedy is having on families and communities," said AFN National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo. "I am encouraged by the support shown by First Nations to one another and by other communities and governments. We need to build on this effort and ensure that we continue to work together so that communities have the support they require in the weeks and months ahead. As Elders reminded us today, this coming together and mutual partnership is what the Treaty relationship requires."
Minister Valcourt, his office, and departmental officials have been in regular contact with the Siksika Nation, the Stoney Nakoda First Nation, and the Tsuu T'ina Nation, as well as with regional and national First Nation leadership, to ensure that the immediate health and safety needs of those communities are being met.
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) will continue to work with First Nations, the province, the Canadian Red Cross, Health Canada, Public Safety Canada and other emergency partners to address the immediate health and safety requirements on reserve, including the provision of potable water, emergency shelter and the delivery of other emergency supplies.
Over the next week it is expected that formal assessments of housing and infrastructure will begin in each of the affected communities, which will help to inform the long-term recovery plan for the First Nations.
The Government of Canada has contributed to the emergency response in Alberta in a number of ways, including:
-- As many as 2,300+ Canadian Armed Forces troops deployed in Southern Alberta.-- As many as eight helicopters doing search and rescue and utility tasks.-- Two boats with crews from the HMCS TECUMSEH to help in Medicine Hat.-- Through the Public Health Agency of Canada's National Emergency Stockpile System, the federal government has provided the City of Calgary and other affected regions with thousands of beds, blankets, pillows, beddings, face cloths and towels.-- Environment Canada provided boats and volunteers.-- The Federal Government has put special considerations in place to help those who need to apply for Employment Insurance. http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/ei/floods.shtml.
This release is also available on the Internet at www.aandc.gc.ca.
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Office of the Honourable Bernard Valcourt
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada