Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty at the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake, Wednesday, June 27, 2012.
Credits: Gino Donato/QMI AGENCY
Disaster struck this past week. A roof partially collapsed, delivering death to those below.
Desperate responders heard the sound of tapping from at least one victim beneath the rubble. But their efforts were hampered by a key delay in the delivery of proper equipment which prevented them from reaching their victims. Rescue efforts made impotent because they didn't have the tools they needed to get the job done.
This may sound like a disaster story from Haiti or Burma or a handful of places we call the Third World. Where third-rate people govern and the population is treated like third-class citizens.
But it wasn't the Third World. This happened in Canada.
A disaster occurred at the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake, Ont. In a horrible twist of fate, two victims - Lucie Aylwin, who was working in a lotto booth, and Doloris Perizzolo, who had just bought lottery tickets - might still be alive today if rescuers had what they needed.
Elliot Lake may not be Toronto or Vancouver or Montreal.
But the people in that northern Canadian town have every right to first-class treatment by first-rate search and rescue officials that Canada has in abundance. When rescue efforts were halted after only a few days, the population of Elliot Lake and the rest of Canada became outraged.
Premier Dalton McGuinty, the CEO of the Government of Ontario, has acknowledged there had been confusion throughout the process. "There will be a time for questions that need to be asked about what and when, and how and why not."
That time is now, premier. When were you told that Elliot Lake was a disaster area and needed your immediate attention? Were you told hours after it happened, when the mayor declared it?
That's when all of us were paying attention. That's when we knew. Were you paying attention? How do you get your information? Pony express? And why did you only get engaged after the entire country became alarmed?
We are not a nation of quitters. We don't leave our wounded on the battlefield and you've embarrassed us in front of the whole world. If it were members of your family trapped in there, it wouldn't have taken two days to get the sleep out of your eyes.
We will hear all sorts of lame excuses for why the search was called off.
The fact is that people were still searching for the CEO of Ontario days after this disaster struck.
Leaders treat citizens like they are members of their extended family. This man who abandoned ship is no longer Premier Dad. He's now Premier Deadbeat Dad.
It's one thing to have to search for people in rubble. But one shouldn't need to have to search for Daddy when the kids are missing.
Today Dalton McGuinty is searching for his soul. It will be said some day that he lost it in June 2012 at the bottom of Elliot Lake.