Alberta floods: a disaster in slow motion

Tease the day: Calgary, High River and Medicine Hat provide three snapshots of a province under water.
Nick Taylor-Vaisey
The southeast corner of High River, Alta. on Sunday, June 23, 2013. (Emily Senger/Maclean's)

The country is witness to three Albertas this morning: Calgary, where an effort to recover from recent flooding is slowly underway; High River, where the town remains mostly underwater; and Medicine Hat, where residents await the coming swells. Each is a concurrent chapter in the devastating aftermath of a natural disaster played out in slow motion. The country watches as Alberta’s political leaders, residents and emergency workers, in a domino effect, remain helpless but to watch the water rise and rise.

Calgary’s on the mend, though it’ll take months for the downtown core to recover from untold property damage that, as of this morning, building owners will start to assess. High River’s still trying to get its people out of town, frustrated as hangers-on rely on sewage systems that have been compromised. And Medicine Hat, downstream by a couple of days, might soon be split in half by an angry river determined to knock out every crossing in town. Tornadoes strike quickly, with little notice. Hurricanes lumber along, but are at least occasionally predictable. Alberta’s floods are somehow both at the same time. The province wishes it weren’t so.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with the damage inflicted by floods in southern Alberta, and the gradual recovery that’s underway. The National Post fronts Medicine Hat’s preparations for flood waters that could split the city in half. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with the devastation in High River, one of the towns hardest hit by floods. The Ottawa Citizen leads with Medicine Hat bracing for the floods. iPolitics fronts the plight of former Conservative staffer Michael Sona, the only person charged in the Robocalls affair. leads with Nelson Mandela remaining in critical condition. CTV News leads with Calgary’s first attempt at recovering from massive flooding. National Newswatch showcases a Hill Times story about the RCMP’s investigation of the Wright-Duffy affair.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. UNESCO. A former whaling station in Labrador, established in the sixteenth century by Basque whalers, received a designation as a World Heritage site by the UN’s cultural organization.2. Northern Gateway. Aboriginal groups in Alberta and B.C. are split on whether or not to accept an equity offer in Enbridge’s proposed pipeline that could be worth about $70,000 a year.
3. Geese. Wildlife scientists are in the bizarre position of encouraging hunters to kill more Ross’s geese, a formerly threatened species that is now overabundant in the north.4. Canada-U.S. A cross-border disagreement related to development of the Peace Bridge border crossing at Buffalo, N.Y., went unresolved—even as top diplomatic officials intervened.
5. Taliban. Ten mountain climbers near one of the world’s tallest mountains were shot dead by the Taliban, who claimed they were avenging the death of their deputy leader during a drone strike.6. Iraq. Eleven Iraqis died over the weekend in northern and central regions of the country. They were the latest casualties in a three-month stretch when more than 2,000 Iraqis have perished.