Here in Manitoba, it has been a weekend of record-breaking downpours. The Red River rose by more than nine feet over the weekend. In Winnipeg, streets were closed, sewers backed up and basements flooded all over the city. Rural parts of the province were hit even more severely, with the town of Emerson at the U.S./Canada border declaring a state of emergency.
People in these parts are not happy with our weather this spring, and they are remembering the “summer that wasn’t” last year. Most people over 30 will tell you that the weather is different from when they were younger; it can’t be counted on the way it used to be. Besides being less dependable, it is also “weird” – like the hailstorms in northwestern Ontario at the beginning of April this year, and the rain during the winter months Manitoba has experienced two winters in a row.
What is going to happen, I wonder, when the population as a whole realizes that our erratic weather is happening because our leaders didn’t heed the warning of scientists, who have been sounding the alarm about the warming of the atmosphere, and resulting global weather “weirding” for decades? How will people feel when they realize they have been betrayed by politicians who put political expediency and short-term economic profits over the long-term well-being of the planet and our children’s future? What will people say when they see our economy pushed to the breaking point trying to deal with the weather disasters and crop failures brought on by our reckless burning of fossil fuels? I imagine there will be anger among citizens that is unparalleled in the world’s history. It’s not to late for our politicians to read the writing on the wall, and to show true leadership on this issue. There are precedents, even in Manitoba’s history. Duff Roblin, the 14th premier of Manitoba, passed away this weekend. He put his political reputation on the line to build a floodway that would protect future generations of Winnipeggers from a repeat of the devastating 1950 flood. Now nick-named “Duff’s Ditch”, the floodway was previously dubbed “Duff’s Folly” by his critics. History vindicated Mr. Roblin’s foresight and courage. Where is the Duff Roblin of this generation, a politician willing to put his or her political reputation on the line to protect future generations?
“Province Reels from Downpour: Heavy Rains Overload Backup Systems” Winnipeg Free Press
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