Mike’s Mailbag: Reflections on Fort McMurray

Good Morning Folks,

The news of the week is no surprise and not of a good nature with our neighbors to the north seeing their entire community and more burn to the ground in a fiery blitzkrieg. Times like this show people’s true colors in so many ways, both good and bad, and I really hope it is more the former. In saying that, I’d like to say two things in brief…

  1. In dire emergency situations such as this, put your political allegiances aside, show some maturity and be an Albertan, a Canadian, a human being. This fire is a colossal tragedy and not the time nor platform to take low blows at political parties or leaders who you do not support. The Premier of Alberta did not start this fire nor would have changing the budget allocation, this was Mother Nature reminding us who is in charge. Look at it from a different lens… If someone interviewed you in the middle of you having a heart attack, you would not have an answer on the tip of your tongue about the exact lifestyle changes and rehabilitation plans you’ll need to enact four months down the road. You are in survival mode and just trying to stay alive. That is where Fort McMurray and the province of Alberta is right now. Please Albertans, think and act appropriately.
  2. There is a great deal of goodwill and deeds of selfless generosity being shared and spread on social media platforms. It is a sign of the tight-knit nature of Alberta and genuine care we have for our neighbors. This is great and let’s keep our spirits higher than the flames. But please, please, do not get caught up or even give the time of day to the few keyboard warriors sitting in their basement making mention of how this is a “karmic” event and a result of Fort McMurray’s own doing. The boos often come from the cheap seats and there’s a reason why. Let the boos drown out in the silence of their own echo.

I’d like to move on and get on with a typical Mailbag but it just doesn’t seem right this week. In lieu of that, I’d like to share some of the best stories of generosity coming out of Alberta this week:

  • The St. Louis Blues are donating the entire portion of the 50/50 draw and silent auction proceeds from game 4 against the Dallas Stars to families affected by the fires in Fort McMurray. Scottie Upshall, a heart and soul player on the Blues, is a native of Fort McMurray, Alberta.
  • Labatt shut down beer production at one of their major breweries to instead make 200,000 cans of water for emergency responders. This is awesome in so many ways. From a business sense, it shows their nimbleness and speed to market, but forget about that, it is just a selfless and as close to humanizing act as possible for such a big corporation to take. Kudos, Labatt.
  • I’ve read that WestJet added 11 additional flights out of Fort McMurray to evacuate citizens and workers, in particular, the patient evacuees needing to flee the hospital. Meanwhile, I haven’t heard anything of the sort on Air Canada’s part except that rather than cut rates for folks fleeing for their lives, they in fact charged a large premium. They have since blamed this on their “revenue management system” and offered partial refunds… Either way, this is just another example of the massive difference in goodwill associated with the WestJet brand and putting it lightly, lack thereof with Air Canada… Regardless of the actual financial transactions taking place behind the scenes, this is yet another feather in WestJet’s cap for superior customer service.
  • Rex Murphy… He often has something interesting and intelligent to say about all things in Canada. This 4-minute reflective clip on the Fort McMurray tragedy unfolding is no exception and should be shared from coast to coast.

Quote of the Week: The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” – Marcus Aurelius

Song of the Week: Line of Fire” – Junip. This is one of my favorite songs to listen to when I just want to think… Think about life at large, thoughts swirling in my own head, what the future holds. As of this week, the meaning of it just got a whole lot deeper.

Pray For Rain & Our Neighbors,


Fort Mac - Atlantic Canada Political Cartoon


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