As all of you know, this past week a historic natural disaster occurred in Southern Alberta. A flood of almost mythological proportion wiped out countless homes, communities, roads and buildings. I was on the ground in Calgary as it happened, watching as the City I grew up in – and have been a part of for over 50 years – was under siege from rushing rivers and overflowing water. It was a sight I will never forget, one that made me feel incredibly sad and fiercely protective all at the same time.
The sadness is self-evident. There are no words to describe watching land you have walked on turned into rivers, mud and silt. No words can describe the look on people's faces as they watched their homes washed away. No words to help those not affected understand the real impact on people's lives and businesses. There is enormous sadness at the destruction of what has been built with care and attention over many, many generations.
However it is at times like this that we need to pause as a Country and reflect on how fortunate we are to live in Canada, and to have the capacity to help one another when disaster strikes. We live in one of the world's richest nations. We have been blessed not only with a vast, beautiful terrain but also an abundance of opportunity and freedom. I have always appreciated my citizenship and feel forever grateful that my parents immigrated to Canada.
A post-flood glimpse inside the Calgary office of Venture Communications.
Watching the floods, I understood that through adversity we find strength. We find strength when we see the things we take for granted destroyed, and we feel a renewed conviction to restore them. Above all, we are re-awakened to the importance of human lives over all property. You sense it emanating now from every corner of Alberta, an indomitable determination and an outpouring of support, love and commitment to help our fellow citizens. What has torn us apart does indeed make us come back together with a strength of human spirit that is unstoppable.
That is what the floods have taught me. Billions of dollars in damage has not destroyed our future, but rather cemented our commitment to each other. And, at the end of the day, that's what matters most. Just think about it: we are capable of so much. At a time like this, we understand clearly that colour, race, religion and status simply do not matter. The only thing that matters is human kindness and support for one another.
To all of you who have been following this natural disaster through the media, I would urge you to reach out and lend your support. There is much to do and it is indeed all hands on deck. If we can all pull together, this disaster will make us even stronger as a Country – a nation that we all love and care so deeply about.