Two months after the flood, and as expected, Premier Alison Redford issued a statement on the flood. It had a very positive tone, as you would hope. It also set the stage for the next month, and I hope the message of "we will do what is needed" is indeed what happens. For obvious reasons, I have my reservations.
We have had five large-scale forums. Between those forums, somewhere in the neighbourhood of 20 meetings have taken place. Each of these sessions were held under the term "information". However, as we discovered two weeks ago in High River, the kind of information Albertans need is not available, and the kind of information Ministers, Associate Ministers and other officials are providing is not what is needed.
We need the "informers" to explain less, listen more, and do what's right. We don't need Doug Griffiths to explain the Disaster Recovery Program to us anymore, we know it's many opportunities, and we know its obvious faults. We don't need Rick Fraser to explain to us how life in the Saddlebrook camp is, we know it is needed, and we know it is not a place to live in forever.
What we need are listeners, and movers and shakers.
Many flood victims have felt that their concerns have fallen on deaf ears. They no longer see the Alberta Government as an ally in recovery, because they feel their needs are not being met, and nobody is truly listening to what they need. And because nobody is hearing them, nothing they need gets done. Mike Holmes, host of the TV Series "Make It Right", is the one of the few who seems to get the message, but he is not a Government official.
I've been trying very hard to listen wherever possible. I've taken notes, and gone to more meetings than perhaps I should. I've garnered a great deal of information that has informed some simple, common sense solutions that I know would help Redford meet her promise to rebuild Alberta in a way that actually meets flood victims' needs.
But that is where my efficacy ends. I can listen to the din, but I have no authority to act on any of it.
Insert Alison Redford's August 20, 2013 statement here. In it she suggests that if there are improvements to be made, they will make it. Well, the improvement needed first is a listening ear with the power to do something about it. It is for this reason I submitted this letter to her this morning.
It is my hope that Redford meets with me so I can share with her what I have learned. I am unable to do what is needed, and Redford needs to take this opportunity to lead her province.
It is also my hope that in this meeting she explains less, listens more, and then when we're done meeting, she makes it right.