Cablegate: Tfus01 - Canada: Surge of Assistance Offers In

Published: Fri 2 Sep 2005 05:05 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A
REF: STATE 162270
1. (SBU) Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath have captured
Canadian headlines and triggered heart-felt offers of
assistance (list from paragraph 5). The Mission has
received an outpouring of sympathy and offers of assistance
from governments at all levels as well as from individual
officials and private citizens. We recommend a high-level
statement, not just for Canada, to the effect that "In time
of great need, in any corner of the globe, America has
always been there to help. And now, when the United States
is in an hour of great need, it is comforting to know that
the world is there to help us. And we appreciate it."
2. (SBU) Per reftel, we have been accepting Canadian offers
of assistance in principle. We encourage U.S. agencies to
take the Canadians up on their offers and to take advantage
of the materials and expertise they can provide.
3. (SBU) Prime Minister Martin's decision to forgo
discussing lumber in a long-awaited and heavily publicized
call with the President, in favor of a straightforward
expression of sympathy, captured the feelings of a nation
whose media turned on a dime from complaining about U.S.
bullying on trade to criticizing the PM for not moving fast
enough to offer assistance. The events of the last weeks
have shown again that underlying Canadian ambivalence about
U.S. policies is a deep strain of affinity and solidarity,
as well as an extensive tradition and network of mutual
assistance at the local level. The President of Canada's
International Development Agency told the Ambassador this
morning that the GOC has had two meetings at the Deputy
Minister level to coordinate ways in which Canada can assist
us. They stand by to help.
4. (U) Following is a summary of some of the offers received
directly by the Mission as well as reports of assistance
offered directly to Louisiana.
5. (SBU) Offers from The Government of Canada
Prime Minister: On August 31, the Prime Minister's chief of
staff called the Ambassador twice with emphatic offers of
unspecified assistance.
Deputy Prime Minister: Deputy Prime Minister Ann McLellan
called DHS Secretary Chertoff and offered support; Public
Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada (PSEP-C) has
contacted HHS and DHS directly to offer supplies from their
National Emergency Stockpile System, including blankets,
beds, mobile hospitals and mini-clinics.
Late on Thursday, McLellan's Senior Policy Advisor conveyed
the fact that McLellan's office has been receiving calls
from companies who wish to donate and transport products
(such as energizer batteries) to the hurricane-ravaged
areas. McLellan's office sends these requests to PSEPC's
Emergency Operations Centre, which is, then in contact with
DHS Emergency Operations Center.
Department of National Defence: The Chief of Defense Staff,
General Hillier, offered the assistance of the Canadian
Forces at a luncheon with the Ambassador. Canadian Forces
have been put on standby to help the United States deal with
the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. The GOC will be sending
a three-ship task force as early as this weekend but
probably no later than Tuesday of next week to Louisiana to
join up with the US Navy Task Group that is already en route
to the Hurricane devastated area. They are preparing two
Fast Frigates and their Destroyer to get underway as soon as
they receive materials and are manned and ready. (We
understand that the HMCS Athabascan, HMCS Ville de Quebec
and probably HMCS Toronto will be the three ships that flow
South to join the Truman.) The ships will carry helicopters
to be able to conduct operations ashore. Other on-board
resources include:
- generators;
- water purification and desalination equipment;
- small boats for use in inland and coastal flooded areas;
- fleet diving unit with RPVs capable of operating in
contaminated water to clear obstacles or conduct searches;
- command and control package;
- medical teams; and
- helicopter support.
Canada's Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), which was
deployed in the Asian tsunami earlier this year, was put on
a one-hour notice in Kingston, Ontario. The 150-person DART
has medical, water purification, and reconstruction
We also understand that the two Canadian Diving Units (from
Halifax, NS and Esquimalt, BC) will probably fly down to
Pensacola and link up with the U.S. Navy diving .
6. (U) Offers from provinces and local government
--------------------------------------------- ----
Vancouver, British Columbia deployed a FEMA-certified
emergency rescue team Wednesday in response to a request by
the governor of Louisiana. The team includes:
- 32 search-and-rescue specialists;
- Two doctors and 12 paramedics;
- Four search dogs;
- Two structural engineers; and
- Eight hazardous materials technicians.
The team is in Kenner, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans,
attached to the Louisiana State Troopers and is also getting
help from the National Guard but has "backed off because of
looting and gunfire" and "will not be performing any search
and rescue operations for at least the next eight to 12
Vancouver is also setting up donation centers for hurricane
Manitoba Premier Doer announced that Manitoba has contacted
the GOC and offered to be part of any Canadian effort to
provide support in the hurricane recovery efforts. As well,
Manitoba Hydro (the electric company) offered to send staff
to the affected area to help restore power. Over 100
Manitoba Hydro officials and workers are available to travel
to the southern U.S. if asked.
Ontario Premier McGuinty has offered to send electricity
crews, an emergency medical assistance team, and has
extended a blanket offer of whatever assistance is needed.
Commissioner of Emergency Management Julian Fantino in the
office of the Minister of Community Safety Monte Kwinter is
coordinating all efforts from the province of Ontario under
strict guidelines to ensure orderly and effective deployment
of resources.
Fantino has encourage the public to send cash donations to
the Canadian Red Cross, which is interfacing directly with
the American Red Cross. Donations are also being collected
at all publicly owned businesses, such as the LCBO liquor
stores. At the request of the American Red Cross, Canadian
Red Cross experts in disaster management and shelter
provision services will be deployed within the next few days
from Ontario to relieve their American Red Cross
counterparts. Fantino said Ontario's FEMA-certified Heavy
Urban Search and Rescue Team is ready to deploy if
Toronto Mayor Miller has also offered to the CG to provide
any assistance from the city through Fantino's office. We
have heard that several officials are working to organize
fund-raising events to benefit the Hurricane victims (more
information to follow.)
The Mayor of Ottawa called the Ambassador to offer
electrical personnel and equipment, paramedics, police,
firefighters, and generators.
Quebec Premier Charest has offered an array of assistance,
especially hydroelectric workers. HydroQuebec President
Thierry Vandal spoke with CG and reiterated that his company
stands ready to assist in any way necessary, especially with
electricity-related expertise and equipment.
Premier Charest told the Ambassador that Quebec's public
security/disaster assistance center has been in contact with
its counterparts in New England (with whom the GOQ has a
formal mutual assistance agreement) to convey GOQ offer to
Nova Scotia has sent letters to the Governors of four states
in the hurricane's path offering assistance. Premier John
Hamm told the Ambassador that families in Nova Scotia,
particularly with an Acadian connection, would open their
doors to people from the affected region that need to leave.
Premier Williams of Newfoundland-Labrador has written to the
President offering support and assistance.
We expect similar offers of assistance shortly from New
Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
7. (U) Offers from the private sector
Air Canada's CEO called the Ambassador offering free
transport for people and supplies to Houston, Atlanta, and
Dallas. They could also make their cargo facilities in those
cities available.
The Canadian pharmaceutical association, Rx, told us they
are contacting the Prime Minister to offer assistance in
conjunction with PhRMA, its fellow trade association in the
United States.
The Canadian Red Cross has 40 volunteers from Nova Scotia
set to leave for hard-hit areas of United States as soon as
all the paperwork and medical forms are completed
The President of the Manitoba Chamber of Commerce told us
his organization has offered the Manitoba Government any
support that might be useful to the relief effort. In
addition to any direct contributions they can make, many of
the members are making monetary donations to the Red Cross.
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), the
industry's main lobby group, said that Canadian oil
companies are considering pushing back autumn maintenance at
refineries to help alleviate U.S. gasoline shortages caused
by Hurricane Katrina. CAPP was in discussions with the
governments of Canada, Alberta and the United States on
Thursday to determine ways to lessen the energy crisis that
has emerged following the hurricane's rampage.
Canfor Corporation, Canada's largest softwood producer, and
Tolko Industries Ltd. both said they are assessing what they
can contribute to help out in the reconstruction efforts.
Both companies said they have received indications from
their trade adversaries in the U.S. Coalition for Fair
Lumber Imports that donations will cross the border duty-
8. (SBU) This cable provides just a snapshot of Canadian
offers of assistance. We anticipate that more will be
forthcoming in the days and weeks ahead, and there are
undoubtedly relief/assistance efforts underway that have not
yet come to our attention. The challenge will be to turn
these offers of assistance into reality, to integrate them
into our own relief efforts and to find appropriate ways to
express gratitude to Canada and other countries for their
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