OTTAWA - Water-logged southern Alberta is on track to set a new Canadian record for flood damage, both in terms of cost and the number of people forced from their homes.
And the severity of the flooding has a former top federal environmental adviser hoping that the Alberta-centric Harper government will finally get its "head out of the sand bag" when it comes to climate change.
David McLaughlin, former head of the now-defunct National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy, hopes the trauma will prompt awareness that climate change is resulting in ever-more-frequent extreme weather events.
Alberta Premier Alison Redford has committed $1 billion to the recovery effort, which may well end up costing much more.
The provincial government estimates some 120,000 people have been forced to leave their homes since the flooding began in earnest last week.
According to the Canadian Disaster Database, the previous high was 107,000 people evacuated from Winnipeg in 1950 when flooding submerged a 10th of the city.