Windsor-Tecumseh NDP MPP Percy Hatfield expresses concern over cuts to the CCAC. (Photo by Jason Viau)

Hatfield Seeks Help For Flood Victims

A local member of provincial parliament is calling on the Wynne government to help Windsor flood victims.

Windsor-Tecumseh MPP Percy Hatfield stood up in Question Period Wednesday at Queen’s Park to ask about the ruling Liberals’ plans to provide assistance to people flooded out in the August 29 rainstorm. Hatfield, the NDP’s government critic on municipal affairs and housing, says the guidelines for disaster relief in the province are outdated.

“Criteria for Ontario’s disaster relief assistance program were written in the last century,” said Hatfield on the legislature floor. “Sewer backup claims during torrential rainfalls aren’t covered.”

Hatfield alluded to a visit to Windsor this week by Minister of Municipal Affairs Bill Mauro. Mauro toured areas where severe flooding took place. He also met with Mayor Drew Dilkens and other city and county officials.

“We had more than 6,000 homes flooded recently and the minister of municipal affairs took a look and says few of them will qualify under the existing guidelines. Well, duh, let’s change the guidelines!” said Hatfield.

In response, Mauro acknowledged checking out the flooded homes in Windsor and reminded Hatfield that insurance was readily available for sewer backup under severe rain. Mauro also said he does not expect Ontario taxpayers to pay for a program if private insurance is already there.

Hatfield says concerns received by his office are not jiving with the government’s claims.

“Some private insurance companies have cut off people without warning,” said Hatfield. “Windsor’s mayor says floods from this last storm caused $175-million in damage.”

Mauro said the province has already relaxed the criteria municipalities must meet to qualify for the disaster recovery program. He also defended the Liberals’ record on improving infrastructure in industrial cities like Windsor.