NDP Calls for Climate Change Preparedness Summit

The New Brunswick NDP is calling for a comprehensive summit on climate change in which various stakeholders will look at emergency preparedness planning for the future. NDP Chief of Staff and Fredericton North candidate Brian Duplessis believes the calls to review NB Power’s performance during Arthur are misguided as they only take into account one small portion of the much larger picture.

“Looking at what happened with Arthur goes beyond simply reviewing NB Power. We need to gather all the players involved and explore ways we can be better prepared in all areas. We’ve had Arthur and the ice storm in the last seven months as well as regular flooding. There will be more of these extreme weather events in the future,” Duplessis said.

The NDP plan would be to call together all the relevant stakeholders to look at what steps need to be taken to be better prepared for another major weather event. These stakeholders would include:

  • Provincial and municipal governments
  • NB Power & municipal utilities
  • Emergency Measures Organization
  • Red Cross and other community emergency services providers
  • Telecommunications companies
  • Insurance industry
  • Media

Duplessis said the recent storm showed that in a wide-spread power outage, all community organizations have important roles.

“The day of the storm and the day after, the public radio broadcaster had only sparse updates and instruction for those without power and water. Some of the telecommunications companies weren’t able to provide services the way they would have liked. This is why we need everyone at the table to discuss how this can be better handled the next time it happens,” Duplessis said.

NDP Leader Dominic Cardy said the timing of the summit is crucial if it is going to be effective.

“Any meaningful discussion needs to take place after the fall election otherwise it will simply devolve into a pre-election circus. An NDP government would call everyone together only after the dust has settled and we can focus on constructive solutions,” Cardy said. “What got lost with all the power outages was the fact that many people didn’t have drinking water for up to a week. We need to be better prepared so this doesn’t happen again.”

The summit would explore what needs to be done to get the province to a 24/7 emergency readiness status. It would also look at taking preventative steps to ensure the power outages are not week-long events.