Mr. Speaker, I also rise today, alongside my parliamentary colleagues, to speak about the devastation in the city of Fort McMurray and the surrounding area.
We want to thank the Prime Minister for his remarks this morning, and we know that his words will resonate with the people of Alberta. I thank the Minister of Public Safety for all of the good work that he is doing.
We thank both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Safety for meeting with me yesterday at short notice, and also making sure that all of us, particularly MPs who live in the region, have all of the updated information. We are thankful for that.
All our thoughts, of course, are also with our colleague, the member for Fort McMurray—Cold Lake, who is not here today for this very reason. He is on the ground, supporting his constituents, and all of us in the House support the work that he is doing.
The Speaker mentioned him yesterday, but I also want to mention the leader of the official opposition in Alberta, Brian Jean, who used to be a member of the House. He lost his home in this fire. We want to thank him for his courage. He is obviously going through a very difficult time, but in very typical Alberta spirit, he said it is just stuff and that they will carry on and rebuild. We applaud him for his courage.
What people in that region have gone through in the last couple of days is literally hell on earth. I know that all of us have been shocked to see the images that have been broadcast on our televisions, not just here but all around the world. The Prime Minister mentioned he had gone door to door. The devastation has descended upon a very honest and hard-working group of people in Fort McMurray.
The challenges we will face in the coming days, weeks, months, and even years, to rebuild this city on the Athabasca and Clearwater Rivers, will test everyone's resolve. However, I also have hope and faith, because these are Albertans, and the people of Fort McMurray are a very resilient group. If we think back to the history of Fort McMurray, the building up of that city, it literally started from nothing and grew to be the economic engine of this country. I know that all of us will pull together to support these people.
A lot of these citizens were born and bred in Fort McMurray, but they have also come from all over Canada to build Fort McMurray, to turn it into what is the great economic engine of Canada. Their hard work has benefited all of us. We have to remember that when we think of how much they now need us.
As members have criss-crossed the country, we have met people who have come from places like St. John's and Cornerbrook in Newfoundland, or Sydney and Digby in Nova Scotia, or Miramichi and Moncton in New Brunswick, or even P.E.I. A lot of people from Atlantic Canada have made their homes and lives in Fort McMurray. It is the stories of all of those who have helped build this place, no matter where in Canada they have come from, that gives us hope and faith that the city of Fort McMurray will rise again.
On a practical note, I want to encourage the government to take action, on two fronts. One of them it has already done this morning, which I want to thank them for, and that is to match all of the donations to the Red Cross. This is a fantastic way for the country to come together to show that the national government supports the people of Fort McMurray. I thank the government for moving forward with this.
Second, given that there is a continuation of a large infrastructure investment throughout this country, I ask the Prime Minister and the government to keep Fort McMurray a top priority as it moves forward in making announcements and decisions for infrastructure investment. It will take many years to rebuild that city. These people did not just lose their homes, they are losing community centres, and streets literally need to be rebuilt. We need to keep them top of mind when we think about infrastructure investment, every step of the way.
These are very practical actions, but they are things that the government, at the federal level, can do. I want the Prime Minister to be assured that I, as leader of the opposition, and the party on this side of the House, will support him every step of the way to take these practical steps.
In practical terms, I encourage the government to take action on two fronts.
As I said, I thank the Prime Minister for already taking action on the first step.
As for the second, given that the Liberals have promised to continue the previous government's commitment to invest in infrastructure, I call on them to ensure that Fort McMurray remains a top priority.
In closing, I want to recognize all of my parliamentary colleagues in this House, as an Albertan. Their messages of support and comfort, their donations, and their concern have been heard loudly and clearly by Albertans. It has been wonderful.
I want to again thank the Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness for making this issue a priority, but most of all, on behalf of all of us, I want to tell the families, the workers, the first responders, and all the public officials who are coping with this crisis that we are here for them.
We are here for them. I will be in Edmonton tonight, doing what I can do in my small way in my community. Fort McMurray is a place where Canadians have come from all across this country. It is a tough day for Albertans, but we will persevere.