A memorable Canada Day celebration

Member of Legislative Assembly Report

By Tany Yao, MLA of Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo

I was pleasantly surprised to see how many people came out to watch the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo’s (RMWB) 2016 Canada Day Parade. With the school year finally finishing across the province and country, it was a nice sight to see so many children in the crowd, especially after the last couple months.

This was the largest crowd that I’ve seen in the city, and I greatly enjoyed the theme of this particular Canada Day Celebration and Parade: Heroes, paying tribute to all the heroic individuals who helped tackle ‘The Beast.’ It was good to see so many firefighters in the parade, from our municipal members to our provincial cousins with Alberta Forestry and industry partners, as well as the RCMP.

It was also very encouraging to hear the crowd yell out their approval and applaud all the parade participants. I was inspired by the children holding signs of thanks to the firefighters, police and everybody else for their hard work and efforts.

As we walked, I noticed what I thought were a few people seeing each other for the first time since the fire, and it made me smile as they greeted and hugged each other. This event truly brought our community together and these moments really demonstrated the ‘Big Spirit’ of our community.

The Heroes Community Barbecue was a huge hit made possible thanks to the countless volunteers and companies that stepped up and, of course, the RMWB’s firefighters.

David Yurdiga, MP for Fort McMurray-Cold Lake, helped out and even brought two visitors from the federal side of things: MPs Larry Miller from Ontario and Randy Hoback from Saskatchewan. Turns out, they are old friends of Brian Jean’s from his federal days.

Everyone did an amazing job of keeping the food flowing. Who would have thought that bankers and MPs could cook?

I was also excited to see the Stars of HOPE at our celebration, a unique disaster relief group that helps communities affected by tragic events through art. It was a nice touch to have them with us and I’m happy to have a few of these ‘Stars’ in our office.

It was a fantastic celebration of a great day. It was an honour be part of a celebration that paid tribute to all the first responders who all helped to keep our community safe. It was fitting that the Provincial State of Emergency had just been lifted the previous day.

It’s good to see residents coming back. It’s great everyone is safe. And I know that, as a community, we can support those who lost so much and rebuild this great place we call home.

Tany Yao is the Member of Legislative for Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo. Yao can be reached by email at fortmcmurray.woodbuffalo@assembly.ab.ca or by phone at 780-790-6014.

-Connect Weekly-