Letter to the editor, May 30, 2019

Open Letter - Floods 2019: The cameras are withdrawing ... the government too

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada,

François Legault, Premier of Quebec,

While the crisis situation due to the floods persists and the victims are preparing for the recovery phase, your governments seem to have already turned the page on this event and appear insensitive to the demands of the municipalities that are at the forefront of the 2019 floods. On this 37th day of floods, even if the media are less present to cover the event, the victims and the municipalities always need the support of their governments.

Mr. Legault, what about your government's decision to cover the costs of housing victims? We would like to remind you that in 2017, your predecessor had borne all of these costs. In 2019, after the start of the crisis and when citizens had already evacuated their homes, you announced the new terms and conditions of the general compensation and financial assistance program for real or imminent disasters. By committing to only help municipalities for 15-day segments before officials need to go through the process to reapply, you place them in an unsustainable position. Some municipalities have to make difficult decisions and take the heinous step of reducing food aid and reviewing the accommodations of those affected. In addition to this uncertainty, the Minister of Public Security unfairly treats the municipalities as it does not give them the same information and forgets to contact some of them.

Mr. Legault, where is the support from the Minister of Public Security who has not held a teleconference since April 18 to inform municipalities of the next steps and to promote sharing and communication between the various stakeholders affected? Where is it when it comes to service for the victims? Not only will no public consultation be held, but only one temporary recovery office, May 30 and 31, will be opened in the town of Rigaud while nine municipalities in our territory are affected by these floods. Do you not find this situation deplorable?

Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Legault, where are the Canadian Armed Forces? The Minister of Public Security announced on May 13 that a second mandate was given to the Armed Forces to help municipalities in the restoration and re-establishment of municipal infrastructure, the Government of Canada has also committed to provide military assistance to the municipalities in Vaudreuil-Soulanges; we are still waiting for them. In the same vein, who will help the disaster victims, mentally and physically exhausted, to dispose of the hundreds of sandbags that had to be put in place for the protection of their property?

We, the mayors of municipalities affected by the 2019 floods, are asking for answers to our questions as well as immediate action from both levels of government.

François Bélanger, Mayor of Pointe-Fortune

Hans Gruenwald, Mayor of Rigaud

Jamie Nicholls, Mayor of Hudson

Guy Pilon, Mayor of Vaudreuil-Dorion

Claude Pilon, Mayor of Vaudreuil-sur-le-Lac

Daniel Martel, Mayor of L'Île-Cadieux

Michel Bourdeau, Mayor of Terrasse-Vaudreuil

Pierre Séguin, Mayor of L'Île-Perrot

Yvan Cardinal, Mayor of Pincourt