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UPDATE: BC declares state of emergency

Officials in Abbotsford said to expect “catastrophic” flooding in the Sumas Prairie area on Tuesday night.

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A state of emergency has been declared in BC after it was hit by devastating rains and flooding this week.

“We need to remain calm,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety.

Farnworth said the state of emergency will limit travel but provide security in the supply chain.

In addition to the destruction of infrastructure, thousands of animals have died according to BC’s minister of agriculture.

“Some of them are in their barns and some of them are flooded and you can see the animals that are deceased,” said Minister Lana Popham.

Although not recommended by officials, people have been successfully using boats and jet skis in an attempt to save some of the animals.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said he has already spoken to his BC counterpart, John Horgan, and will call him again later Wednesday to see if Alberta can offer any assistance, like heavy machinery.

He said Albertans will be “affected in a direct way.”

He noted all road transportation out of Vancouver has been cut off. Highways have been torn apart, roads are still flooded and rail lines have been washed away.

Kenney said truckers bringing in goods to Alberta will have to travel through the US to get there. He added he has asked the federal government to relax border COVID-19 measures to allow truckers quick access.

Meanwhile, residents of the Sumas Prairie area in Abbotsford have been told to get out because there could be “catastrophic” flooding in the area, as the Barrowtown Pump Station was at risk of “imminent failure.”

Barrowtown is a four-pump station that keeps the Fraser River out of the Sumas Lake Canal and throughout the night, volunteers, staff, and contractors successfully built a dam around the station in order to “buy time.”

The station has been overwhelmed by a surge of water from the Nooksack River, and the Fraser River needs to drop one more metre before the pump can stabilize.

Additional water flow down the Sumas Mountain has also contributed to increased flooding.

“You need to leave immediately,” said Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun during an emergency news conference that was held 9 p.m. Tuesday evening.

“If you can’t leave, please call 911 for support.”

Braun urged farmers to not stay behind to protect their livestock and livelihood.

“They want to stay behind and protect what they have spent their whole life building. I get that — but nothing is worth your life,” said Braun.

“Tomorrow morning may be too late.”

On Wednesday morning, it was confirmed rescue crews went to 40 properties and dozens of people were safely evacuated. Many more were able to self-evacuate.

BC’s public safety minister, Mike Farnworth, said he has been in continual contact with Braun and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he spoke with the mayor as well, along with the the mayors of hard-hit Chilliwack, Hope, and Merritt.

A number of road closures remain in place across the province, including sections of Hwy’s 1, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8.

The flooding is a result of an “atmospheric river,” a flowing column of condensed water vapour in the atmosphere. When atmospheric rivers move inland and sweep over mountains, the vapour rises and cools leading to intense precipitation. Larger atmospheric rivers can initiate severe and potentially catastrophic disruptions, such as what’s been observed in southern BC.

To make matters worse, a possibly toxic structure fire ignited for several hours in Abbotsford. The Abbotsford Police Department said the fire was at a vehicle holding lot, blowing large plumes of smoke northwest. It has now been extinguished.

Chilliwack, BC is almost entirely inaccessible by road.

One woman has died in a mudslide on Hwy. 1 between Lillooet and Pemberton and two people are missing.

…This story will be updated throughout the day.

Reid Small is a BC correspondent for the Western Standard
rsmall@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/reidsmall

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Major Tom

    November 18, 2021 at 12:14 pm

    When the Communists are in control….it’s always an Emergency!

  2. The Real Kevin

    November 17, 2021 at 10:34 pm

    It must be stressed, that elections have consequences. BC can focus on getting competent people elected, who focus on core government responsibilities. Or, they can continue to elect people who waste money on social engineering Ponzi schemes instead of maintaining the roads and bridges, and doing controlled burns.

    If people have to suffer in order to learn, then they must suffer. Trying to shield people from the consequences of their own poor decisions is not helping; that is enabling.

  3. William

    November 17, 2021 at 9:38 pm

    They had better not be using any petroleum products to manage their little flood emergency. After all there is a climate emergency.

  4. berta baby

    November 17, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    The health minister is like …. This emergency is going to slow down the vaccine roll out …. Can you believe that?

    My house just floated away and your worried if I had my 10th booster?

    Bitch I’m sleeping under a wave over here !

    For your safety we will be shooting vaccine boosters into your body from helicopters before we rescue you to prevent the hospitals that just got washed away from being overwhelmed!!

    Science!

  5. Baron Not Baron

    November 17, 2021 at 3:15 pm

    Are they not under emergency for covrig 19 already? What now? Is it emergency square? Oi

  6. Left Coast

    November 17, 2021 at 2:34 pm

    BC has been in a state of emergency since the NDP communists took got their Majority Govt.

  7. Left Coast

    November 17, 2021 at 12:31 pm

    Judging from the pictures at Whatcom Road Interchange . . . the 1990 Flooding was Worse than Today . . .

    But hey . . . 120 years ago Sumas Prairie was a friggin lake . . . maybe Mother Nature is just taking the Prairie back . . .

  8. berta baby

    November 17, 2021 at 10:48 am

    Remover when people from Bc piled on when Fort Mac burned? At least these people won’t die of dehydration! Am I right?

  9. Dennis

    November 17, 2021 at 10:47 am

    I sure hope all these people were vaccinated because I don’t see any masks.

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News

Home prices soaring from coast to coast

Figures showed “the average family must spend two-thirds of their gross income on monthly payments for the average home in Toronto or Vancouver,” he said

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Shhhh! Don’t tell the Liberals, they may want to tax it.

Six cities across the country saw house price gains averaging at or near six figures last year, Canadian Real Estate Association data showed on Monday.

Blacklock’s Reporter said members of the Commons finance committee reviewed the figures with Canada’s chief statistician.

“Housing inflation is homegrown,” said Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre (Carleton, Ont.).

Figures showed “the average family must spend two-thirds of their gross income on monthly payments for the average home in Toronto or Vancouver,” he said.

Association data indicated a total 666,995 homes nationwide were sold last year.

“This was a new record by a large margin, surpassing the previous annual record set in 2020 by a little more than 20% and standing 30% above the average of the last 10 years,” said a realtors’ report.

The year-over-year Canadian average home price increased 18% to $713,542 last month.

“There are currently fewer properties listed for sale in Canada than at any point on record,” Shaun Cathcart, senior economist for the Real Estate Association, said in a statement.

“Unfortunately the housing affordability problem facing the country is likely to get worse before it gets better,” said Cathcart.

Figures showed average price gains averaged at or near $100,000 or more in Victoria, Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal and Halifax. Prices were:

  • up 31% or $286,600 to $1,208,000 in Greater Toronto;
  • up 26% or $51,700 to $252,200 in Fredericton;
  • up 24% or $172,400 to $902,700 in Victoria;
  • up 22 % or $89,162 to $490,127 in Halifax;
  • up 21% or $90,900 to $517,800 in Montréal;
  • up 17% or $181,600 to $1,230,200 in Greater Vancouver;
  • up 16% or $91,800 to $661,500 in Ottawa;
  • up 15% or $44,230 to $347,920 in Charlottetown
  • up 12% or $33,600 to $319,600 in Winnipeg;
  • up 12% or $31,700 to $301,800 in Québec City;
  • up 10 percent or $39,800 to $451,200 in Calgary;
  • up 9% or $24,900 to $292,000 in St. John’s;
  • up 6% or $19,800 to $329,000 in Saskatoon;
  • up 6% or $14,500 to $260,500 in Regina;
  • up 4% percent or $13,200 to $336,600 in Edmonton.

“Could you just speak to what the primary causes are right now, this year, to the increase in the price of housing?” Liberal MP Yvan Baker (Etobicoke Centre, Ont.) asked.

“First and foremost is demand,” replied Anil Arora, chief statistician with Statistics Canada.

“We are seeing because of COVID a desire of people to have more open space,” said Arora, adding: “The second is what we see are the interest rates. The mortgage rates are at historic lows.”

Earlier this month, a report done for the CMHC is now recommending the federal government tax home equity.

The report says bringing in a home equity tax would raise $5.83 billion for federal coffers.

It’s something the governing Liberals, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, vowed they would never do.

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News

BoC spokesman: ‘I deny I said what I said’

Management disclosed the blacklist last Friday moments before the start of a routine videoconference for news media.

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They may have said it on a Zoom call, but Bank of Canada managers are now denying they have a media enemies list, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

Bank Governor Tiff Macklem’s director of communications Paul Badertscher in an e-mail denied blacklisting Blacklock’s despite telling a deputy governor in an audio tape: “I do not want to be in a situation where we are allowing Blacklock’s to be asking us. So, yes, that’s where we’re at.”

“The Bank of Canada welcomes all accredited media outlets to its briefing sessions and ensures equal opportunity to ask questions as time permits,” Badertscher wrote in his Monday e-mail.

A deputy bank governor who attended the Zoom call did not comment.

“We have nothing further to add,” said Jeremy Harrison, managing director of communications for Canada’s central bank.

Management disclosed the blacklist last Friday moments before the start of a routine videoconference for news media. Blacklock’s dialed into the Zoom call and began recording the session for note-taking purposes.

Badertscher was overheard explaining to a deputy bank governor that media were given different treatment depending on who they were.

“I know who’s who,” said Badertscher.

“There’s a couple here who I absolutely — I’ll check the list to make sure he’s not listening — absolutely not keen to give questions to. I do not want to be in a situation where we are allowing Blacklock’s to be asking us. So, yes, that’s where we’re at”:

  • Unidentified man: “Paul, I think we have a journalist on the line with us right now.”
  • Badertscher: “We do. I have got to get you to drop. I’ll call you at 10:30, okay?”
  • Unidentified man: “Sure, thanks.”
  • Badertscher: “Thanks man. And I’d ask people, don’t let any, don’t admit people please. Let me do all the admitting, okay? Because I know who’s who.”

Badertscher would not name other outlets blacklisted from questioning Bank of Canada officials.

The blacklist follows repeated statements from cabinet commemorating World Press Freedom Day.

“We recognize how important it is to support our strong, independent media and to encourage journalists to continue to hold those in power, here and all around the world, to account,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the Commons in 2018.

“Independent, fact-based reporting is vital,” Trudeau said in 2019.

“Media play an essential role in defending and advancing the truth,” Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said in her 2018 World Press Freedom Day observance.

“We remind ourselves that without a free and independent press we all lose.”

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News

Madu out as justice minister

“I have spoken with Minister Madu about the March 10 incident reported in the media today. I conveyed to him my profound disappointment in his decision to contact the Edmonton Police Chief after receiving a ticket for a traffic violation.”

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney removed Justice Minister Kaycee Madu from his job after the minister called Edmonton’s police chief about a distracted parking ticket he received.

Madu was fined $300 on March 10, 2021 after an Edmonton police officer caught him talking on his cellphone while driving through a playground zone.

Madu soon phoned Dale McFee, the city’s chief of police, and discussed the ticket with him. 

“Minister Madu did contact me via the telephone concerned about a ticket. But just to be very, very clear, he never asked to get out of the ticket,” McFee told CBC News in December, adding he didn’t know exactly what was on the ticket.

“Everybody has to wear their decisions.”

McFee did say during their discussion, Madu brought up the issue of racial profiling by police to stop drivers. Madu is black.

“The officer indicated that he had observed me driving while distracted, alleging that I was on my phone. I disagreed, stating that I was not on my phone, as it was in an inside pocket” said Madu.

“Later, I spoke to Chief Dale McFee. Due to the timing of the incident, I wanted to ensure that I was not being unlawfully surveilled following the controversy surrounding the Lethbridge Police Service. I also raised concerns around profiling of racial minorities that was in the media at the time.

“Chief McFee assured me that that was most definitely not the case, and I accepted him at his word.”

But that wasn’t good enough for Kenney who, after CBC broke the story, removed Madu from his post because it is “essential the independent administration of justice is maintained.

“I have spoken with Minister Madu about the March 10 incident reported in the media today. I conveyed to him my profound disappointment in his decision to contact the Edmonton Police chief after receiving a ticket for a traffic violation,” Kenney tweeted.

“Minister Madu told me that he did not ask to have the ticket rescinded, nor was it his intention to interfere in the case, and that he promptly paid the ticket. I understand that Chief McFee has confirmed that at no time did the Minister seek to have the ticket rescinded.

“Nevertheless, it’s essential the independent administration of justice is maintained. That’s why I will appoint a respected independent investigator to review the relevant facts and to determine whether there was interference in the administration of justice in this case.”

Energy Minister Sonya Savage will take on the duties of Minister of Justice and Solicitor General.

The scandal will be a blow for Kenney as Madu was one of his biggest supporters in an often fractured caucus.

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