A Russian-made Beriev Be-200ChS amphibious aircraft, owned by the Siberian Regional Centre of the Russian Emergencies Ministry, dumps some 12 tons of coloured water matching the Russian state flag during a demonstration flight at an air show dedicated to the Day of the Russian Air Fleet at the Yemelyanovo airport outside Krasnoyarsk August 18, 2012.

A Russian-made Beriev Be-200ChS amphibious aircraft, owned by the Siberian Regional Centre of the Russian Emergencies Ministry, dumps some 12 tons of coloured water matching the Russian state flag during a demonstration flight at an air show dedicated to the Day of the Russian Air Fleet at the Yemelyanovo airport outside Krasnoyarsk August 18, 2012.
Photo Credit: Ilya Naymushin / Reuters

Canada declines Russian offer of water bombers, firemen to help fight Alberta fire

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As an “out-of-control” wildfire continues to grow around the oil town of Fort McMurray in the western Canadian province of Alberta, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declined on Monday an offer by Russia to dispatch massive water bombers and fire fighting specialists to battle the blaze.

Trudeau thanked Russia for the offer but said there was no need for it.

“One of the things that has been touching over the past days is not just how Canadians have been stepping up from across the country to support their friends in Fort McMurray but how the international community has been affected and responding to this tragedy, to this ongoing challenge,” Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa.

“The good news is from the support that we have seen from Canadians across the country, different provinces sending over waterbombers, engaged in all sorts of different ways, firefighters coming from all across the country to help, there is no need to accept any international assistance at this point.”

Russia’s Minister of Emergency Measures Vladimir Puchkov offered to dispatch heavy water bombers based on the Il-76 transport air plane platform and experts on fighting wildfires on May 5th.

Russian Minister of Emergency Measures Vladimir Puchkov. Photo: www.mchs.gov.ru/

Russian Minister of Emergency Measures Vladimir Puchkov. Photo: www.mchs.gov.ru/

The fire around Fort McMurray, in the heartland of Canada’s oil sands industry, has already destroyed over 1,600 structures and has forced nearly 90,000 people in the oil producing region to flee their homes. The fire has also resulted in the shutdown of about one third of Canada’s oil production.

The government of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper sharply downgraded Canada’s relations with Russia over the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea in the spring of 2014 and its support for pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine. However, the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau, which came to power last fall, has advocated for a re-engagement with Russia while still criticizing President Vladimir Putin’s policies in Ukraine.

Currently there are more than 500 firefighters battling the blaze, which is now covering an area of approximately 161,000 hectares in and around Fort McMurray, along with 15 helicopters, 14 air tankers and 88 other pieces of equipment, according to the latest Alberta government update.

With files from The Canadian Press

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Categories: Environment, International, Politics
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25 comments on “Canada declines Russian offer of water bombers, firemen to help fight Alberta fire
  1. Avatar R Day says:

    The re-establishment of Canada/ Russian relations is a step in the right direction
    However blaming Russia for Ukraine is ludicrous. Its the US, EU and NATO which is insane and responsible. The EU is starting to smarten up.
    Try examining the facts for once. All you have done is follow the ludicrous path of the US and for no intelligent purpose except ruin a country who refuses to bow to the US. It isn’t going to work and has the potential to kill us all!!!

  2. Avatar ron says:

    Apparently just four water drops from the Russian super bomber would have put out the Ft Mac fire…but our federal government would rather send a message to Putin that we don’t support their politics than save Alberta from a multi Billion $ disaster.

  3. Avatar James Shore says:

    Let’s bring in an analogy. Our family’s house is on fire. As we attempt to put out the blaze, our neighbours (who live far enough away not to be threatened by the fire) ask to assist. We reply “its ok we’ve got it under control! Thanks for your offer though.” *smiles* Our prime minister doesn’t view Fort Macmurray as part of his house obviously! Sadly though it’s as much a part of Canada as Sussex Drive.

  4. Avatar Barry says:

    Trudeau is a full blown narcissist who is out to save the world. In his arrogant little mind he’s Superman, and when did Superman ever ask for help?

  5. Avatar Adm Tech says:

    It appears that the fire continues to pose a significant and ongoing risk – especially as it now threatening work camps and oil extraction facilities. I am no expert but is there any possibility of it actually igniting the oil patch itself?

    If so, would this not be a catastrophic environmental disaster to be avoided at all costs?

    I can see how coordinating an international team of firefighters/equipment could be a logistical nightmare but I hope that Trudeau has had a proper assessment of the situation and there is a workable plan to stop this “Beast” asap.

    I would hate to think that scoring political points is being put ahead of the well-being of Canadians and our environment.

  6. Avatar Derrick says:

    Of course they don’t want international assistance, they haven’t even fully utilized our own available resources! There are private Alberta contractors on standby that haven’t got the provincial government green light to activate their mega-bombers. Also on May.3 less than 90% of idle provincial firefighting were utilized, the day Fort Mac caught fire. A viewer snapped a photo of info and posted it online. NDP deleted the info off their site soon after May.3 and are no longer posting information on the status of provincial firefighting resources.

  7. Avatar Andy W says:

    So much dialogue and comments flying now after Trudeau REJECTED International fire fighting aid.

    If we were to look at it from a basic foundation point of view, should we not consider every forest fire a high risk and need of the best possible pro-action?
    Our forestry is a vital and MAJOR part of our economic industry. Trees don’t grow over night, neither can they be planted quickly or economically.

    Sure natural disasters do occur but how can we sit back and say let the rain take care of it, especially when we are increasingly living in a climate of predictably hot, arid conditions. That is why I suggest strong up front, preventative measures should always be applied.

    Does one expect a fireman to turn up at a burning building with a garden hose? No bloody way! They tackle the fire with all resources possible. That is why I feel every forest fire must be viewed with great concern and maximum application of resources. Think about this deeply please!

    As for our Prime Minster Trudeau, I am sorry to say you have REALLY dropped the ball on this one and not taken the time to look at the bigger economical, humane picture. What is the next city, town or person to be hit by your lack of integrity. If it were on your door step I bet you would not hesitate to even divert Niagara Falls if you could.

    Surely the bottom line is…….. people are of utter most importance as much as wild life and resources.

    For God’s sake Canada, grow up and respect what we have been so blessed with. Oh and by the way, when you catch arsonists how about enforcing them to do community service for life!

  8. Avatar ursula wagner says:

    Interesting to read so many comments to this situation.

    My first thought was and still is ……..
    totally wrong pride Mr. Trudeau.

  9. Avatar BLUE COLLAR GUY says:

    as a young man I lived and worked in Fort McMurray and have relatives that still live there and whom have been displaced by this tragedy so I’m more then just a little peeved off at the week response by turning down needed help./ A construction crew can be hooped and stopped from building a bridge by an environmental study tying to protect the breeding ground of a rare animal or foliage , but its perfectly fine to destroy vast amounts of vital oxygen producing forest and peoples homes and way of life over something like political pride !!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Avatar BLUE COLLAR GUY says:

    at times of political unrest in the world and leaders who carry a chip on their shoulders from as far back as the cold war it is nice to receive such a generous and sincere offer from a country that is fraught with its own problems. We need to be a more forward thinking society and reach out and embrace our neighbor and accept and thank them for their help. lord knows we have traveled around the world to help many a troubled nation in the past and should not be shy to accept help in return. this is a win win situation that allows a country like Russia a chance to be portrayed as humanitarian rather then the stereo type Communist we here and see on the news. maybe rocky balboa should of run for premier with that closing award winning speech at the end of the boxing match with Ivan DRAGO IN ROCKY 4 / ANYWAY HATS OFF TO THE RUSSIAN PREMIER AND THIS CANADIAN WOULD LIKE TO SAY THANKS FOR THE OFFER……..BLUE COLLAR
    GUY

  11. Avatar Stacey says:

    I cried while watching the short videos on youtube. US accepted Australia and New Zealand’s help last year. What made Canadian government so “strong”?! Stupidity.

  12. Avatar Sherri Arsenault says:

    So Trudeau wants to wait til last minute to ask for help?!?!..I don’t think that’s wise!! Dragging their feet reacting to a financially and environmentally devastating situation is gonna cost everybody more in long run! Reminds me of BP oil spill!!..Over again!!…Such atrocities shouldn’t be happening these days!! This is just carelessness!!

  13. Avatar Max Lisitski says:

    First epic Fail of Trudeau. Never my vote again.

    Say a lot during campaign, but where is actions?

  14. Avatar hardy umeris says:

    if it was Ontario or Quebec. he would have jumped on the offer. But alas it’s just Alberta and Western Canada, and he will give us the finger just like his esteemed father.

  15. Avatar ginette Boudreau says:

    Why not accept help from Russia ? Politic should not be an issue in such cases. Russia offering help, what’s wrong with that ? Trudeau is an idiot and an arrogant man.

  16. Avatar Antonios Georgoudakis says:

    Canada is just a fake nation, its population livid with its head in the sand

  17. Avatar Elizabeth Hamilton says:

    Canadians are criticizing Prime Minister Trudeau for declining help from the Russians. Am I wrong in thinking this offer of help may come at a cost? Will Canada have to pay for the transport of help and pay them for their services? If this is the case why would we not pay our own people. I am not trying to denigrate the generous offer but we do have to think of our own welfare first.

  18. Avatar Lee says:

    I am very appalled and concerned as to mr trudeau turning down the amazing offer to get help from russia I guess if your a avid pot smoker or a syrain refugee you couny but not an indivudal that is our own of sound structure needing help desperately cant get it. We should be able to speak for ourselved as individuals whom are needing the help anf able to speak freely why should one person be given such power to speak for millions of people when a lot of people are not impressed with the choice of him beinh elected as where his father hurt us for many years and now it is showing its true colours as to how it carries on . He wants to make sound as if he wants peace and he has a right and the nerve to refuse this eonderful offer made. How can one start peace when he wont allow it if it was his family in trouble do you think he would twice they would havr been here yesterday

  19. Avatar Paul Kemp says:

    My sincere thank you to, Vladimir Putin, Vladimir Puchkov and the Russian National Family for this generous offer of assistance. It is in my personal opinion an act of criminal negligence for the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau to refuse this assistance that would have most certainly minimized the damages from this yet to be contained fire.

    Unfortunately democracy is dependent on successful representative government; and that is conditioned upon the practice of electing to public offices only those individuals who are technically trained, intellectually competent, socially loyal, and morally fit.

    One day Canada may be capable of placing men who are truly qualified to lead the Nation. Until that day arrives we must suffer the decisions of those who lack the courage to act for the greatest good for the people of Canada. Already has this government begun to violate the ratified Canadian laws concerning freedom of speech to prevent the full disclosure of the current damages caused by this disaster.

    I hope you have the courage to continue to be persistent in your most generous offer of assistance. May I also suggest that an honest reporting of the progress of this fire may bring public opinion to pressure our government to do that which is best for the people in the path of this disaster.

    I would also like to congratulate those responsible for creating the massive fire fighting equipment you have so generously offered to the Canadian people. With the increasing threat of larger and larger fires this is a reasonable investment of the tax dollars of your Nation.

    Paul Kemp
    Nova Scotia, Canada

    • Avatar Cindy maher says:

      Beautiful .

    • Avatar R Mercer says:

      You speak the truth. Trudeau is an absolute embarassment! Trudeau says he wants to reduce global warming – yeh.. letting this fire continue to burn out of control is a great start to that initiative – well done Justin! This Alberta fire is still out of control and growing. It is an enviromental nightmare and although it likely is not the result if global warming, it will be a major contributor to global warming.

      As a Canadian, find it disturbing that an idiot like Trudeau could possibly get elected. I would like to apologize to the Russians for the behavoiur of this ridiculous Liberal government who are in the process of sending the nation hopelessly into debt. I truly want to cry. When will Canadians ever grow up and get over this ridiculous sense of entitlement?

      Oh well… the important thing is that we have a “leader” that can take selfies of himself with famous people. Yes this social climbing pretty boy is going to guide Canada to economic heaven via Keysian economics cause that always works – right?

  20. Avatar KELLY says:

    . Give Justin Trudeau middle fingers. He betrayed Canada people, doesn’t care about people’s lives.[发怒]

  21. Avatar Ian says:

    send the planes from Russia are you nuts..if we had everyone that offered come in …it would be out out..bad bad bad decision..you will feel the lash back..

  22. Avatar Cheryl Willard says:

    No, we don’t need any help. We have a fire that will take months to bring under control and could spread to critical infrastructure with a shift of the wind, but we’re fine, thanks. Absolutely ridiculous that we would turn down an aircraft that could bring this fire under control within weeks. What we DO need is capable political leadership, sadly lacking so far.