For much of the past hundred years or so, the big worry on the prairies was drought — not enough rain to produce a decent crop. But over the past twenty years, we’ve seen the opposite problem more and more.
I shall never forget Canada Day 2010. I was at Taylor Field watching the Roughriders and the Montreal Alouettes kick off the CFL season with an overtime thriller. There was no thrill for fans from Yorkton who were there. Their cellphones rang and they headed home in a hurry to deal with the flood of a lifetime.
An unbelievable new river washed through the community, causing huge destruction. In a matter of minutes, customers at fast food outlets were literally crawling out the drive thru windows to escape the water. The city’s sewer system was totally swamped.
Later that same month it was a similar story in other prairie communities including Saskatoon and Dauphin, Manitoba. For years, Canada’s cities have been pleading with Ottawa and the provinces to help them with the massive task of rebuilding infrastructure, particularly sewer and water systems.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada says weather disasters like the Yorkton Flood three years ago are costing more than a billion dollars in claims every year, and they say that number will rise unless municipalities can improve things like drainage.
As we saw in Moore, Oklahoma last week, there’s nothing quite as heartbreaking as the images of folks who have lost everything in a matter of minutes. All they’re left with is gratitude for being alive.
Mark Twain said it best at times like this.
“Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”
I’m Roger Currie