Mother Nature just dropped a bomb on the Fraser Valley in British Columbia. Coming upon the heels of the heat and fire in Lytton, this epic flood signals that climate change has morphed from an environmental concern to an economic threat. In the last decade, extreme weather events have inflicted more damage on Canadian cities than the Heinkel He 111s ever did overseas. Countless headlines point to the economic cost and human tragedy, but only a few have observed that rising up next to Abbotsford is the ghost of Sumas Lake. We drained a marsh a century ago, planted prosperous farms, and called it progress. Two massive pumps will eventually push out this flood, but they cannot alter terrestrial geography or the vectors driving atmospheric rivers. Abbotsford faces a binary choice: either they invest hundreds of millions to wall out future floods, or residents move out of the Valley and let it resume its natural sponge role. Abbotsford’s crisis might be unique, but its dilemma offers a glimpse of Canada’s future. Unless we become more resilient, insurance premiums for property damage will skyrocket as a combination of invasive species, droughts, and intense storms will sweep through our communities. Notions like “crisis” and “emergency” are creeping into government policy papers, but it’s still pretty much business as usual on Bay Street, Main Street, and Parliament Hill. Abbotsford’s flood might run up another record price tag, but it’s not Canada’s Pearl Harbor. Climate change represents our silent crisis. While the human and economic toll of hurricanes, heatwaves, and wildfires steadily mount, we continue to treat natural disasters like random events; lamentable tragedies that could not be averted. Maybe this explains why Liberals scrupulously avoid calling for sacrifice and while Conservatives constantly beat the drum of inflation. Ottawa’s political battle lines channel both spirits animating public opinion. Canadians increasingly worry about climate change, but during elections, most of us vote with our pocketbooks. The Fraser Valley flood is no Pearl Harbor. We need a Manhattan-style project to muster our defences, but our politicians haven’t yet found a formula to translate the abstract threat of climate change into a campaign for total war mobilization. Thomas Boogaart Ottawa, Ont.