Hardship Christmas for Slave Lake, AB & Marystown, NFLD

The fire that swept through Slave Lake Alberta last May stays with those who escaped in the simplest and most profound of ways. This was a year of brutal actions and swift consequences in several Canadian communities. In the midst of the holiday season, we're going back to take the pulse of communities that refuse to give up in Slave Lake Alberta and Marystown, Newfoundland.

Part Three of The Current

Hardship Christmas for Slave Lake, AB & Marystown, NFLD

Watching the video of the May wildfires that swallowed Slave Lake, Alberta was terrifying; seeing the aftermath was sickening. A third of the community was reduced to ash. As Christmas approaches, however, Slave Lake is no longer bleak and blackened. There's still much to do, but the residents who remained in town, are rebuilding.

CBC reporter Adrienne Lamb has been visiting Slave Lake. She joined us from our Edmonton studio.

Hardship Christmas for Slave Lake, AB & Marystown, NFLD

Marystown in Newfoundland and Labrador avoided natural calamity, but it took a vicious double punch this year. In June, the shipyard laid off all of its workers. It was the the town's biggest employer. And then, earlier this month, Ocean Products International closed its Marystown fish plant, throwing 240 people out of work.

It all weighs heavily on the town of 55-hundred at a normally festive time of year. Sam Synard's full-time job is school guidance counsellor. But he also tries to guide the fortunes of his community as volunteer mayor. Mayor Synard joined us from his home in Marystown.

Related Link:

Last Word - Bob Rae sings The Mummers Song

Over the years on the Current, we've featured the vocal stylings of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the late NDP leader Jack Layton. Today, it's the Liberals' turn with a holiday song from Bob Rae. Mr. Rae is a triple threat on this one: singing, playing piano and -- acting.

The song may not be familiar to Canadians who live outside Newfoundland and Labrador. The Mummers Song celebrates a very old holiday tradition when neighbours would visit one another in disguise. Hosts would try to guess who was who, and socialize before veering off to the next house. The Last Word today goes to Bob Rae, in a festive mood.

Other segments from today's show:

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