Mr. Speaker, on June 8, I asked the Minister of Public Safety about our soldiers' involvement in the cleanup effort following the flooding in Montérégie, more specifically in the riding of Saint-Jean.
The people of my riding were harshly affected by the flooding in the region last spring. As is the case in any natural disaster, it was a time of high stress and great concern for all those affected. In fact, the victims of this disaster are still dealing with the repercussions today.
When the Richelieu River crested and caused the flooding, I asked the minister to explain the government's reaction to this natural disaster. My question was specifically on the lack of solidarity shown by this federal government during this situation in particular, and during past natural disasters in general.
The minister said that the Canadian Forces did an outstanding job. I agree that when the Canadian Forces finally arrived, and during the very short time they were there, they did excellent work, and I am very grateful for the help they provided to the people of my riding. We appreciated their service and know-how, which are invaluable at times like these.
That is precisely why we asked the government to make people's safety its top priority, to show solidarity with the victims and to send the army as soon as possible in order to allow the people, the flood victims, to remain in the region to help with the cleanup. Our forces have the skills, training, know-how and experience needed to tackle situations like the terrible flooding that occurred in the Saint-Jean riding and across the Montérégie region last spring.
We needed the Canadian Forces to ensure that the evacuations were carried out properly and that no lives were put in danger because of the situation. I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity to represent a community that has shown that it can really come together during tough times. At the same time, it was very irresponsible of the government to ignore its obligation to ensure public safety.
I remember the minister saying that the Canadian Forces should not have to compete with the private sector. This brings a question to mind. When he said that, was the minister thinking of the safety of Canadians as a simple consumer good? Would he not agree that it is the government's duty to ensure the safety of Canadians?
He said something else that I found rather shocking. He said that helping the flood victims with their home repairs was not the Canadian Forces' role. So, the same question applies. Does the minister not believe that, in an emergency situation, making a house safe and livable is a matter of public safety?