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Wild fire updates for May 9, 2016

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Compiled by Shari Narine







Government officials visit evacuation reception centres

May 9, 2016. Wildrose Leader Brian Jean will join Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose, and Fort McMurray-Athabasca MP David Yurdiga and Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills MLA Dave Hanson to tour the Lac La Biche evacuation centre this afternoon. Jean is one of many residents in Fort McMurray to lose his home to the fire. In Calgary on Saturday, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence Kent Hehr,  MP for Calgary-Centre, accompanied by Councillor Ward Sutherland Chief Tom Sampson, Calgary Emergency Management Agency, visited the reception centres at SAIT and University of Calgary. Sampson said spaces have been opened in the residence at Mount Royal University and people can be received at locations like Stampede Park if necessary. The province has set up 12 reception centres for evacuees from the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.




Stats Canada jobless rate


May 9, 2016. Across Alberta, the number of Indigenous people looking for work in April was set at 15.3 per cent – an improvement from March – while the national rate was 13.8 per cent. Of the 93,000 off-reserve workers in Alberta, 72,399 of them were employed full-time. The rate of unemployed Aboriginal people is more than double the overall provincial rate. According to Statistics Canada figures for April, Alberta’s “adjusted” rate at 7.2 per cent compared with 7.1 a month earlier and 5.6 per cent in April last year. The StatsCan figures showed about 20,800 Albertans lost their jobs with the majority at 11,300 positions coming in in the goods-producing industries and another 9,500 in the services sector. However, the forest fire that has swept through Wood Buffalo and forced the shut down or limited operation of plants in the oil sands could have a major impact on May’s unemployment figures.



FSIN pledges support for northern evacuees


May 9, 2016. The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations executive is pledging support for the tens of thousands of people who have been affected by the northern Alberta wildfires. The FSIN is requesting that its member First Nations and institutions join in raising relief money to assist with efforts in helping northern Alberta evacuees. “The devastating fire in northern Alberta and the town of Fort McMurray is one of the worst natural disasters in our time,” said FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron. “Our First Nation people in Saskatchewan have had first hand experiences with natural disasters like forest fires, flooding and tornadoes. We know the feelings associated with losing your home, property and being forced to live in evacuation shelters. We are forever grateful when others helped and assisted us in times of need.” FSIN staff will coordinate fundraising activities throughout the week and will forward the proceeds to the organizations helping the evacuees.



CFAR helping Fort McMurray evacuees


May 8, 2016. The Circle for Aboriginal Relations will be hosting a fundraiser for Fort McMurray and area residents at its annual conference. The gala evening on May 25 will include opportunities to support evacuees from the region. “These people had very little notice to prepare and got out with their lives and few resources. We are all amazed of the stories of courage and resourcefulness to get to safety despite being unsure of the immediate future…. Now a large number of our Indigenous community members having lived in the Fort McMurray region are displaced,” wrote CFAR President Todd Belot to Friends of CFAR. CFAR is putting together a list of resources for people who need assistance or are looking to volunteer, which can be accessed at cfarsociety.ca/resources/2016-fire-relief/. More information on the fundraising gala will be made available in the coming days.