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October 27, 2017 3:43 pm

City of Williams Lake Requests $1B in Wildfire Relief Funds

Thursday, August 31, 2017 @ 5:55 AM

Prince George, B.C. – Forget the studies and analysis, we need cash now.

That from Williams Lake city councillor Scott Nelson regarding this summer’s devastating wildfire crisis.

Williams Lake city councillor Scott Nelson – photo courtesy City of Williams Lake

At Tuesday night’s council meeting council passed a unanimous emergency motion – the Rural Fire Recovery Fund – calling for $1B in wildfire relief dollars from the provincial and federal governments.

“To really assist B.C. communities – including First Nations – impacted by the unprecedented, record breaking fire season of 2017,” he says.

“What we’re asking them to do is to give out that money now and start injecting that cash into these communities, into ranches, out west, down south. We need it now.

“We can’t afford to wait to do studies and analysis. What we need is a real commitment today so that we can move forward with the assurance we can rebuild our economies starting in 2017 and moving forward.”

Nelson adds every sector of the economy is hurting.

“You look at the ranching community for heavens sakes. Some of the ranchers have lost everything – their hay fields are gone, their cows are gone, the fencing is gone.

“Look what’s happened to the tourism sector. The tourists can’t get to rural locations. We’ve got timber issues, we’ve got mining issues. We need assistance. This is the first time we’re saying to the Province – 911! We need your help in rural British Columbia!”

He says the motion will be presented at next month’s UBCM conference in Vancouver (Sept. 25-29).

And should the money come through as hoped, Nelson is confident rural B.C. will rebuild.

“Rural British Columbia is resilient. They’re strong, committed and I honestly believe we’ll be able to make it and even end up further on top but to get their faster is the key. We need that push.”


It will never happen provincially. That is what insurance is for. The government is not an insurance agency. If they make huge payouts this time then the fires will be incentivized in future years.

Build better fire lines, plant less fire prone species around interface, upgrade fire suppression infrastructure I can see… but using general revenue to make payouts for potential or real economic losses and capital losses should be out of the question.

The government has to weigh what has the highest utility for the province as a whole with the funds it invests. A billion dollars would fund a Cariboo Connector completion, or have much higher utility catching up our education, child care, or elderly care funding… rather than handing over a billion dollars to a relatively small group of fire victims for their choice to live in a fire prone area with no insurance.

It sounds harsh, and I wouldn’t like it at all if I was in their shoes… but the government needs to be responsible to all tax payers in how it invests the limited funds it collects.

Federally if the money was printed from fiat money interest free then I could see them helping to replace the economic activity that is lost… but that will never happen either because the bankers control the fiat currency and they would never set that kind of precedence.

Those with losses should not hold out hope for government money IMO. They will just have to suck it up and take it one day at a time rebuilding what was lost.

1 billion dollars? Well, that’s a nice round figure. Did William’s Lake even have a billion in total assets before the fire? I sincerely doubt it. The town wasn’t levelled, so give your head a shake. Really, is this what leadership thinking looks like in WL? Heaven help you then, because the province won’t.

Eagle one is right, this is what insurance is for and if you didn’t have any then you gambled big and lost. Very sorry but it’s not my problem.

    The article was not just about Williams lake.

Good comments! My annual home insurance just passed the $ 1,000 dollar mark, never a claim, after getting credit for various extras like a monitored alarm system and so forth. The same goes for car insurance which has gone up and up, in spite of no claims and safe driver discount. Ranchers and farmers can purchase insurance just like the rest of us! If they did not, well too bad.

Thanks Eagleone for mentioning the Cariboo Connector and its completion! It is one of my top pet peeves!

    Prince George:-“Ranchers and farmers can purchase insurance just like the rest of us! If they did not, well too bad.”

    Who is going to insure them? For the kind of losses that have been incurred? And at what cost? No one. The risk is greater than the reward for the insurer. And if it weren’t, and they could get insurance and tried to pass the cost on to the public who eventually is the consumer of their produce? You’d likely be the first to bitch how unaffordable a roast of beef was getting.

      There are government insurance programs with funds for farmers that cover natural disasters, though I don’t know just how much it covers. It’s likely they’ll get some relief there.

      Any Provincial assistance is going to be funded by taxpayers.

      Any private insurance payouts are going to be funded by the pool of people who take out insurance for their own needs.

      In either case, it is the pool of participant citizens and/or the pool of participant insured who will have to pay for the increase in costs due to unexpected disasters.

      Get over it. It is the way society has evolved.

      Have a better suggestion? Write us about it. Someone may come up with a more equitable proposal.

      “Any private insurance payouts are going to be funded by the pool of people who take out insurance for their own needs.”

      Those who joined the pool will get a payout. Those who decided not to join the pool by not insuring themselves against losses will not get the same payout.

      That is fair, imho. However, they will probably be bailed out by some government scheme that is paid for with taxpayers’ money, meaning all of us.

    You certainly have a gold plated insurance policy for your home. We have just renewed our home insurance with the Credit union and it was less then $300.00. Our home is assessed at $450,000

      That’s double the assessed value of my home and I pay $1000 more than that. Which Credit Union? I need to join.

      I have never heard of insurance numbers that cheap for that coverage. You said your policy is less then 300 dollars and your house is assessed at $450,000.00 One has nothing to do with the other. The numbers needed to compare are the policy cost (you said $300.00) and the coverage of the policy. My house is assessed at considerably higher than yours and my policy costs me around 1400.00 per year. The coverage offered by the policy is what’s important. Liability, loss of use, out of pocket emergency expenses, contents, rebuilding the home if it is destroyed, the dollar figure of your deductible etc. If you have a 2500 dollar deductible (which may be the case for a policy that costs less then 300 bucks) then that may be why its so cheap.

      300 dollars insurance premium per year for a 450k home will be sufficient only for rebuilding the double carport. Better check your policy.

      Renters insurance is 400.00 plus a year

Eagleone, I agree with you to a great extent, but so many people need help to just even survive, never mind continue with the way of life that they had before the fires. There is, and will continue to be a huge loss of jobs alone, just because of the damage these fires have done to the land and forests. If people feel that the government shouldn’t help them anymore than what they are doing now, should we as private citizens pitch in and help more, or should we just sit and watch them suffer? I don’t even pretend to know the answer.

    I don’t know the answer to that either. Neighbors helping neighbors would be the best place to start, but beyond that maybe access to disaster loans of some sort with government backed loan guarantees? If 5% go belly up then the tax payer is not on the hook for 100% of the uninsured loses and most can be recovered through self insuring the fund….

Eagleone:-“Federally if the money was printed from fiat money interest free then I could see them helping to replace the economic activity that is lost… but that will never happen either because the bankers control the fiat currency and they would never set that kind of precedence. ”


All you demonstrate with a statement like that is a complete ignorance of ‘money’, and what it is. That’s not surprising considering the content of the rest of your post.

You make it sound like ‘money’ is some kind of commodity, something that’s fixed in quantity and only exists and occurs in nature.

And that the banker’s ‘fiat money’ is a misrepresentation of this real substance.

Good thing you weren’t Minister Of Finance when Hitler marched into Poland after breaking his word and gobbling up all of Czechoslovakia, and looked like he was going to keep going. You’d have probably rose in the Commons and told the MPs and the country that you know he should be stopped, and that we should go help do it, but we can’t. We’ve been in a Depression for ten years and we just don’t have the ‘money’.

    A bunch of gobbly goop with some revisionist history socred. Did you read what you posted?

    Provincially we don’t have the ability to print money. We can tax and borrow to spend. Any spending we do we have to pay interest on the debt until we can tax enough to pay off the interest and debt.

    Federally we can ‘quantitave ease’ in bankers parlance through the bank of Canada as they did to bail out the banks in 2008 (likely how Ww2 was financed as well)… printing fiat currency, which we would still pay interest on for the privilege. Prior to Trudeau senior we didn’t pay interest on fiat currency for infrastructure, and if this was a tool to bring whole an economic driver in a natural disaster so the economy maintains its equalibrium, then I have no issues with that. But the bankers will never allow that to happen and any billion in aid would be borrowed at the going interest rates… because the bankers would not want a monetary inflation vehicle like free money for natural disaster relief to become a precidence.

      Eagleone:- “Prior to Trudeau senior we didn’t pay interest on fiat currency for infrastructure, and if this was a tool to bring whole an economic driver in a natural disaster so the economy maintains its equalibrium, then I have no issues with that. But the bankers will never allow that to happen and any billion in aid would be borrowed at the going interest rates… because the bankers would not want a monetary inflation vehicle like free money for natural disaster relief to become a precidence.”

      I hate to dispel a myth that you seem to believe in, Eagle, but we most certainly DID pay interest on ‘fiat currency’, (as you put it), for infrastructure prior to Trudeau senior. The Bank of Canada is the fiscal agent for the government of Canada, but it most certainly did not fund long term government debt, at all, nor even short term debt interest free. What it did do, Eagle, is assist the government in the placement of debt issues. Which were taken up by the money markets ~ banks, bond dealers, insurance companies, etc., ~ as they’ve always done. The thing the B of C did was to fund the government, at interest, short term, until the market for government debt issues was more favourable to the government in regards to interest rates. The notion that the B of C just ‘prints money’ and the government could get this money interest free to fund infrastructure is ridiculous.

    I actually believe we should have monitary inflation used to fund the federal government, rather than taxation, as the fairest and most equitable way to pay federal expenses.

    How we would rein in accountability is another thing with an unresponsible democratic system that would never keep an inflation target when money is free to print… thus missrepresenting actual economic activity.

      Why should there even BE an “inflation target”? At 2% a year the purchasing power of your money is being reduced by 20% every decade. Why should this be, Eagle? As we become ever the more technologically efficient the prices we pay for things we need and want should be FALLING, not rising. That is the actual ‘physical’ aspect of the costs of production. The ‘financial’ aspect is supposed to be an accurate numerical REFLECTION of the physical realities. Is it?

      In regards to the recovery from the wildfires, what SHOULD determine the scope and speed of the recovery is the same thing that determined whether or not we could go to war in 1939. NOT whether we have the ‘money’, but whether or not we have the men and materials, and knowledge and desire, to get in and do the job. The ‘money’ can always be found, not by taking it off anyone who has some, but by establishing a proper nexus between the real credit of the country ~ it’s ability to do things as, when, and where required ~ and financial credit.

    Socredible:”Good thing you weren’t Minister Of Finance when Hitler marched into Poland…”

    Not sure what Hitler has to do with Williams Lake, but you failed to mention that Stalin invaded Poland, taking the half that had not been taken yet and thereby condemned Poland into ceasing to exist as a physical entity.

      Yes, I’m aware of that, Prince George. I only mentioned Hitler’s invasion of Poland because it was the event that triggered our entry into what became World War Two. Now that in itself has nothing to do with Williams Lake and the recent wildfires, except that we had no problem whatsoever finding the ‘money’ to go fight it ~ that same stuff that had been missing for the previous ten years. A circumstance that supposedly prevented governments from doing a lot of things that clearly could have been done, and certainly many that needed doing. Or at least that’s what people were told all through the Depression. So where’d all that missing dough come from? Did they take it off the rich? Not hardly, most of them were a lot richer at the end of the war than they were at its start.

      Now you might remember back to when Mulroney was our PM, and the National Debt was giving rise to Preston Manning’s Reform Party. There was a terrific ice storm back east, and hydro towers and pole lines were brought down all over Ontario and Quebec. Enormously costly to repair. But nobody said, “Hey, our National Debt is already $ 750 billion, there’s just no way we can add any more to it to fix the damages and get people back on line electrically again. We just can’t do it.”

      Imagine what the result would have been if the government had said something like that? The towers and lines went back up. And ‘money’ was the least of the concerns. What determined what could be done was the ability to actually do it, just as when we went to war in 1939

      That’s one version of history. I believe Canada went to war because top banksters could make themselves rich and powerful on the national credit of nations like Canada that could easily be brought to war on pride alone.

      These bankster minions like Lord Belfour and Winston Churchill ensured we went to war when they gave Poland an iron clad war guarantee if Germany ever attacked… knowing full well the West could never fulfill this guarantee; and that the war guarantee would only embolden a belligerent and racist Poland in its administration of German held Danzig.

      Poland gambled away any chance for peace when they used arrogant pride and at times genocidal crimes, rather than neighborly friendship in finding a reasonable accommodation for the administration of German people in foreign occupied areas. Polish belligerence dragged the west into war when they presented intolerable conditions for the Germans and tens of millions died as a result.

      This all has nothing to do with how fire victims in Williams Lake make whole on their losses through government funding.

      All examples given by Socred are examples of government finding money for war or catastrophic essential public infrastructure. They do not compute with the Williams Lake example of private parties going after private looses from a natural disaster event… which has disproportionate payouts subsidizing the lack of private insurance… meanwhile others that suffer similar loses all across the country, every day in not such significantly large enough events to garner the national attention, get nothing in compensation (violating the social law of reciprocity).

      We all know in war and the event of a national catastrophe with infrastructure the government can have the central bank buy its own debt, like they did in the wake of 2008 with ‘quantitative easing’ buying up bank debts and stocks to shore up the financial markets. In theory it should cause monetary inflation devaluing the dollar by proportions… thus a hidden tax on savers of sorts. Hence savers losing in real GDP for getting near a generation now.

      Bankers got bailed out in 2008, we have money to go to war in the tens of Billions for places like Iraq and Afghanistan… so it sure looks like the federal government can print money at times.


Good on Williams lake for requesting..Not too sure how they got to the billion dollar figure but lets remember right now we have a federal government that is seeding the middle east with funds..Maybe this might just be the message to drive home to these governments that we need help right here..

My observation over the years has been that ranches and farms and certain businesses for some strange reason never make money, but they keep on doing it anyway. So my suggestion is this if someone wants the public purse to cover their loss.

Let’s refund the last 10 years of income taxes paid by the business/farming/ranching entity that has suffered the loss. If they haven’t paid any taxes, they’ve never contributed, it means their ranch was never viable, so why support it.

But if they have paid taxes, the least we can do is give back the money they kicked into the national pot in this time of need.

    That sounds fair.

      So you want to support all those now self-employed people on welfare? Sure, there are a lot of businesses that don’t make money, but where would you be if they all charged enough for their products or services TO make money?

      You’d be paying a helluva lot more for everything than what you’re paying now, that’s where. So far as food goes, the low or no income farmer and rancher are both subsidising YOU with cheap food. Go and see what food costs in some of the countries in Asia relative to the incomes of the people who live there. The food we buy here is a fraction of what it costs there, taken as a percentage of an individual’s income.

This is the same person that called for , injectable GPS tags to monitor criminals. He must have pulled the price tag out of the same place as the last time . He’d make a perfect BCliberal unite the rightist .

There are two types of catastrophic loss. What I call type 1 is the not insurable at a reasonable rate and usually government kicks in. Type 2 is insurable.

Wildfire is a type 2 loss. All homeowner policies and tenant policies cover your costs for 30 days under evacuation order.

So is business interruption. I begrudgingly give an insurance company money every year, and if my business is interrupted due to whatever, they will not only pay my costs, but my lost profit as well.

And then there’s those who just don’t buy insurance and then show up with their hands out when bad things happen. Sorry, I think PG and the rest of B.C. did enough when we took you in, fed you, gave you some spending money, and got you home again. The fact you didn’t buy insurance doesn’t create an obligation on me to bail you out. Justin Trudeau has already screwed up my retirement plans through my small business corp investments being subject to extra tax, so I got to look out for me.

Seeding the middle East with money. What a strange remark.

Where is the government supposed to get this $1 billion? And considering all the other areas that suffered from this fire season, how many more billions would have to be paid out? The whole provincial budget is only $50 billion.

The place the $billion should be spent is to improve the wildfire proofing of the forested regions of BC.

That has NOT been adequately done.

We have just seen the proof once more.

A $billion is easily the amount which should be spent in the full Cariboo Regional District to start with over the next 3 or so years.

Then look at others in the Southern Interior and Kootenays as well as the northern half of the province.

Prince George is not exactly “out of the wood”. We are very much inside the woods. A fire which starts within a 10 to 20 km region to the west of the City can end up being a rerun of Fort McMurray.

I want to hear about that at Talktober rather than about the swimming pool.

Pool or better security from potential wildfires???

The Government of Canada announced the federal Mountain Pine Beetle
Program in January 2007, with a commitment to invest $200 million in measures
to address both the short-term and long-term impacts of the beetle infestation.

Part of that program was to protect forests and communities from the risk of wildfire.

Looks like it did not work very well.

So, what went wrong?

All these promises and good intentions.

Where is the follow up? How much are the feds going to do to help now that the effort was insufficient?

If $200 million was not enough in 2007, how much will it take 10 years later to actually effect change to mitigate future wildfire events in inhabited areas?

Who can we believe in that effort which needs to be undertaken?

I’m sure the NDP will suggest another 2 billion on top of that.

We still have a lot of the displaced people from the fires still here , lots of no Income people have decided Prince George is a good place to live so many services.

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