Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he will visit the fire-devastated community of Fort McMurray, Alta. today
Trudeau announced the trip during question period in Parliament.
“I am pleased to confirm, Mr. Speaker, that I will be going personally to Fort McMurray on Friday to offer up some support for all Canadians.”
Canadians got a glimpse of the devastation caused by the raging wildfire for the first time on Monday when Alberta Premier Rachel Notley allowed reporters to tour the charred streets with her and other city officials.
The tour revealed that while the wildfire forced the evacuation of more than 88,000 people from Fort McMurray, the majority of the city remains intact.
Nearly 20,000 people affected by the natural disaster in Fort McMurray have applied for employment insurance so far, according to the most recent data provided by Employment and Social Development Canada.
Trudeau said last week he wanted to let firefighters and other emergency responders do their work before travelling to Fort McMurray, for fear that going too soon would not be “a particularly helpful thing.”
The Canadian Red Cross said it will announce on Wednesday details on how it will use money donated for emergency relief.
Trudeau met with Conrad Sauvé, the president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Red Cross, on Parliament Hill Tuesday.
“Since the Alberta wildfires triggered the largest fire-related evacuation in provincial history, more than 700 Red Cross personnel have worked non-stop to register more than 80,000 people,” the Red Cross said in a written statement.
By Monday night, the relief agency said it had raised approximately $60 million, with $51 million coming from individual donations.
Trudeau has said the federal government will match all individual donations made from May 2 to 31 without imposing a cap.
Today, Trudeau thanked interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose for her “strong engagement” on the ground and Canadians for their generous contributions to the relief efforts by the Canadian Red Cross.
Ambrose, who represents the riding of Sturgeon River–Parkland in Edmonton, has been in the region since last Friday.
The prime minister faced questions on Monday about turning down international offers of help from countries such as Russia, the U.S., Mexico, Australia, Taiwan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Trudeau said that thanks to all of the assistance offered by different levels of government domestically, Canada didn’t need help from other countries at this time.