Cash for catastrophe

Our editorial this week asks why should those most affected foot the bill for disasters.

The District of Port Hardy is exploring the potential cost of a tsunami warning siren system as part of it emergency preparedness planning.

As long as the district is examining finance, it may want to see if it has a little something left for the Canadian Forces kitty.

It seems as part of its overall budget-tightening plan, the federal government last July decided it would be appropriate to bill municipalities and/or provinces when the forces are called in to assist with major disasters in Canada.

Um, do we not already pay that tab?

The policy would allow billing of local and provincial governments when Canadian Forces are called to assist with emergencies and disasters ranging from wildfires in Ontario to flooding along the Red River to, well, potentially a major earthquake or tsunami event along the B.C. coast.

Mackay’s office says it is simply being a prudent steward of the public purse.

That purse is already filled by Canadian citizens from coast to coast, and we doubt many of them want to leave their fellow citizens facing a second bill at the very time when they may be facing, quite literally, a life-or-death situation.

Coincidentally, we learned just this week the government has agreed to supply the government of Mali “logistical support” in its fight against Islamic forces in its North.

Will an invoice follow that intervention?