Opposition MLA 'discouraged' by P.E.I. government response to Dorian

Green MLA Hannah Bell says the provincial government is not doing enough to support P.E.I. residents following the impact of post-tropical storm Dorian.

Bell said while she appreciates seeing P.E.I. residents come together as well as the efforts of the Emergency Management Organization, she is "discouraged by the response of government."

"It begs the question, does government fully comprehend the challenges Islanders are facing as they try to rebuild their homes and communities?" Bell said in a written news release.

The province did announce a $50,000 contribution to P.E.I. food banks earlier this week, and P.E.I. Premier Dennis King told CBC News Friday that that donation wouldn't be the end of aid.

Bell said while she appreciates government's donation, she indicated it was not enough, and added Island food banks already had shortages before the storm.

Kerry Campbell/CBC

"What Islanders really need is meaningful help and assistance beyond the replenishment of an already dangerously depleted community food bank," Bell said. 

"Islanders need help rebuilding their homes, clearing their property, accessing power and vital communications links."

The federal government provides financial assistance for provinces and territories dealing with natural disasters and would provide Islanders with the necessary resources to restore, replace or repair their homes and belongings, Bell said.

"It is imperative for government to begin showing meaningful and effective leadership for Islanders," the statement said.

Premier's response

 King said he isn't concerned with the politics around the cleanup following Dorian.

"People can take their opportunities to take shots," King said. "My focus has just been just trying to do every day what we can do in the face of this unprecedented disaster to try and get life back to normal for Islanders."

King said he doesn't think anyone was prepared for the damage Dorian brought to P.E.I.

"We tried to be as prepared as we possibly could," he said.

Brian Higgins/CBC

Through the week, King said Minister of Public Safety Bloyce Thompson has been co-ordinating with EMO and providing updates to Islanders.

"I think that we have been on the job, we have been working very diligently, but it is an unprecedented disaster, it has been a tough week for all Islanders," he said.

King said he is proud of how Islanders have come together and thinks his staff has been handling the situation the best they can.

Government offering more aid

In a release, the province said government appreciates the patience of Islanders as the cleanup continues.

It also reminded Islanders of fire safety, food safety during outages and to watch as road-clearing efforts and the pick up of storm debris continue.

Starting 9 a.m. Saturday, Islanders that want information about storm recovery can call the Canadian Red Cross and as power gets restored, government will be shifting focus to helping Islanders address some of the other challenges involved in storm recovery, the release said.

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