MP Nathan Cullen to demand information on emergency funding

  • Jan. 16, 2013 7:00 p.m.

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen says he hasn’t heard back from the federal government about emergency funding for islands communities, but will be following up on their requests this week. Mr. Cullen met with community leaders and emergency officials in November, following October’s 7.7 earthquake and tsunami warning. He asked the communities to send him complete details about what kind of essential emergency equipment they need, so he could take the requests to the appropriate federal departments. Mr. Cullen forwarded several requests to the departments of Aboriginal Affairs and Western Economic Diversification, but has yet to receive a reply. That could be because of the Christmas break, he told the Observer this week. However, he is heading back to Ottawa and said one of his first orders of business will be to demand information about the emergency funding. “It’s got some urgency to it,” he said. “We need to get on this.” The fact that the islands experienced another major quake and tsunami warning Jan. 5 could help persuade government officials about the importance of the funding, he said. “Sure, it gives me a stronger hand,” he said. “This obviously remains a threat.” Mr. Cullen said the federal government has been cutting back on emergency preparedness spending, but the threat posed to islanders by earthquakes and tsunamis is so significant that he would be very surprised if money is not available. “I’d be shocked if they are that ignorant of our needs and concerns,” he said. “But it is possible.”