Statement from Karla Bernard, Leader of the Third Party, on Hurricane Preparedness

With warmer waters increasing the risk of severe hurricanes and projections that this year will have a busier than normal hurricane season, many Islanders are feeling worried. Work to repair damage from Hurricane Fiona still hasn’t been completed, leaving many Islanders asking: are we ready for another major hurricane?

It’s hard to say. In fact, it feels like the Dennis King government has almost nothing to say about our hurricane preparedness and how they’ve learned from their disappointing response to Hurricane Fiona. A response that left seniors abandoned in their homes for days, that left Islanders waiting hours in line for financial support that didn’t come close to covering their losses, and that left community organizations to provide direct support and care to Islanders in the absence of government initiative.

Days before the 2023 general election, government announced a review of their response to Hurricane Fiona. Despite promises of recommendations to improve preparedness, response and recovery efforts, Islanders are still in the dark about what government has learned and how it’s acting promptly to make changes.

We only have to look to Post-tropical Storm Dorian to see how we’re behind schedule on this Fiona review. In the aftermath of Dorian, the Province announced a review into their handling of that weather event. A full review, which included opportunities for public consultation, was conducted and completed by July of the following year.

Now, after the most devastating hurricane in our history, which caused unprecedented financial and psychological damage, we are heading into a new hurricane season which experts expect will have above-normal activity—all without any clear plan of action to prevent many of the avoidable harms that Islanders suffered.

For the many Islanders who are struggling to get by and still haven’t fully recovered from Hurricane Fiona, the King government’s failure to signal any changes to its hurricane response risks causing these same Islanders to fall behind even further. Islanders deserve better.

Karla Bernard

Interm Leader, MLA District 12