Yellowknife, NWT – The MLA for Range Lake says a new report on emergency preparedness here in the North backs up what he’s been saying for months now.

Darryl Dolynny says emergency response in the North badly lags behind southern Canada.

He says everything from the lack of  911 service, to slow responses to highway crashes, to badly needed triage treatment  in the communities leave Northerners without basic services that people in other parts of Canada take for granted.

“These are fundamentally not a high priority as it appears for the government. Of course our focus has been on devolution for most of the 17th Assembly. I’m hoping now that devolution is a reality, we can focus on what I consider the basic essentials for human care and for human emergency preparedness now that devolution is underway.”

The study points out, only one community in Whitehorse has 911 service and there are no search-and-rescue aircraft based in the North.

That means there are long delays before southern-based planes can reach us.

The study also points out, among other things, that spring floods are common in communities along rivers.

Earthquakes happen on a regular basis.

And climate change is creating larger and more severe forest fires and making travel more hazardous.

The study says critical infrastructure from power plants to communications systems are aging and vulnerable.

Dolynny says he intends to make emergency preparedness a priority when the leg resumes sitting in late May.

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