Question: Calgary has relied heavily on the Federal Disaster Assistance Initiative to repair and rebuild needed infrastructure after the flood; however, in February 2015, the Federal Government changed the funding formula. What is your position on the changes to the Disaster Assistance Initiative formula?
The NDP finds it unacceptable that the federal government unilaterally changed the funding formula for federal assistance in natural disasters. This is short-sighted and once again shows that Conservatives are simply downloading costs to provinces and municipalities instead of providing leadership and a supportive role. Tom Mulcair is the only federal leader who has committed to working with provinces to improve the Federal Disaster Assistance Initiative to ensure that when disaster strikes, the federal government will be present to help those in need.
Question: Will your party help fund large and small flood mitigation projects in and around Calgary?
The NDP will support communities in the face of a changing climate by making important investments in natural disaster mitigation infrastructure to prevent damage from disasters like flooding. We will increase funding in the New Building Canada Fund by $400 million, specifically targeted for disaster mitigation infrastructure and we will also invest current funds within this program to building more resilient infrastructure. This funding will be used to partner with the Province of Alberta to fund flood mitigation projects in and around Calgary. The NDP will also provide investments of $9 million per year for emergency planning, equipment and training for first responders in our communities.
Question: How will your party improve rail safety in Canada?
The increased shipment of commodities like oil by rail has brought increased scrutiny to the safety of practices and all Canadians were shocked and devastated at the tragedy in Lac-Megantic. We will significantly improve number and quality of rail inspections and audits while issuing strong penalties for safety violations. The NDP will ensure that railways are adequately investing to improve the safety of rail infrastructure while making key public investments in rail safety upgrades. The Federal Government must protect communities by phasing out unsafe rail cars carrying dangerous goods, providing better information to provinces, municipalities and first responders, and taking action where necessary to lower speeds and reroute dangerous goods. To ensure no other community has to go through this kind of sorrow, shock and anger, the NDP will immediately launch a public inquiry into the Lac-Mégantic tragedy to improve transportation oversight and accountability.