I started this post Wednesday May 4 on the Fort McMurray fires because it was news. My goal was to be another voice, and another source of information. For the most part I’d like to think I succeeded.
At times I felt like harbinger of doom. There wasn’t that much positive information coming out of the city to spread, but it was all vital. I began scouring the Internet and trying to find those nuggets of good. And I didn’t have to look very far.
There was a story of group of Syrian Refugees in Calgary who pooled their money to buy hygiene products. They came here with nothing less than 6 months ago, and wanted to help because they knew what it was like to be without a home.
And if the Internet failed me, there was always Twitter. I read a lot of the tweets coming from the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. There were countless offers of everything from cars, land to park an R.V. on, to reminders of communities with hotels. That handle @RMWoodBuffalo itself aka Jordan Redshaw is compassion itself often serving as evacuees’ main contact with the city.
And then you expand it outside of Alberta. Firefighters from Quebec, Ontario, the Atlantic provinces are there. Individual contributions via the Red Cross now sit at $86 million, and when tripled (matched by the province of Alberta, the government of Canada) are now at $258 million. Benefit concerts being held in Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland over the next few days will add to it.
This level of national effort is indicative of a mature, compassionate country. It was because of this Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was able to tell other countries: “At this point we’ve got this.” The country that helps everyone else, can also help themselves.
Planning has turned to rebuilding. A “re-entry” plan will be revealed within 10 days. The oil sands are starting to slowly restart. There will be a hit to the economy, but it won’t be as bad as first thought. 90% of the city of Fort McMurray was saved.
We can take two lessons from this. The first is that the universe manages to balance itself out. Inside every tragic, horrific story there are always tales of goodness; you just have to look for them. The other is that Canadians are as generous with each other, as they are with other countries.