It was T. S. Eliot who famously declared that April is the cruelest month. Somehow I rather doubt that he had the Canadian prairies in mind when he wrote those words.
Lots of places get April showers, but in much of Canada, we are virtually guaranteed that we have to deal with flooding almost every other year. 2013 is by no means the worst, but it’s bad enough as we look out the window at those huge piles of snow that should be gone by now.
In 2011, total damage in Manitoba and Saskatchewan was well over one billion dollars. Has everyone who suffered losses been taken care of as we prepare for yet another adventure with water? The record is ‘mixed’, but if we had to assign a letter grade to Greg Selinger and Brad Wall when it came to dealing with a big one, probably the best we could give them would be a C plus.
In both provinces there are small communities that have fallen between the cracks. In Saskatchewan, the worst was probably the village of Roche Percee, southeast of Regina. Thirty nine families were wiped out when water rushed over a dam and destroyed the homes. Almost nothing has been done to compensate those families in the two years since. Quite a few of them have quietly moved away with a lot less than they had before.
In Manitoba, one of the worst stories involves a handful of people who live year round at Twin Beaches on the shore of Lake Manitoba. Two years and counting, and some of the folks can’t even get civil servants or politicians to return a phone call.
Buildings and roads can be fixed, even if it takes a lot of buck passing between Ottawa and the province before the cheques are signed. It’s courtesy and respect that are all too often totally missing, and it takes a huge toll.
I’m Roger Currie