How high a priority should earthquake/tsunami preparations be in BC in relation to other needs in the province, such as improved healthcare, better schools, and eliminating government deficits and debt? Thanks for your help!
I would like to start my answer by stating that this question is asking for an opinion. Additionally, there are a lot of variables at play here that are also dependent on a person's opinion. For example, person A might think that the current educational system and school facilities are operating at a level that is very acceptable. That same person might be an incredibly healthy individual who has little need of health care facilities. Therefore, person A is not going to want to see government dollars being spent on programs that he/she feels are doing just fine. On the other hand, person B might be chronically sick all of the time. Their focus will be on healthcare, not tsunami protection or education. A geologist that looks at the volcano and fault line data near BC has a good handle on the potential dangers; therefore, he/she is likely to support government spending on earthquake/tsunami preparations.
In my own opinion, I believe that BC's earthquake/tsunami preparations need to be higher than that of other Canadian provinces. BC's earthquake hazard risk is higher than any other Canadian province. On average, the area is in the medium to high risk categories. That's because BC is located in close proximity to a very active fault line that separates the Pacific plate from the North American plate. That plate boundary tends to have transform boundary movement as well. That means the plates try to slide past each other. It makes for fairly strong and shallow earthquakes. Those are the destructive ones.
Many of those earthquakes have happened in the ocean to the west of BC, which makes tsunamis a potential threat to BC's extensive coast line. Even further to the west are the Aleutian islands. Many of those islands are volcanic, stratovolcano islands. Their eruptions could start tidal waves that will head toward BC.
The above doesn't mean I don't support improved healthcare, education, or eliminating government debt. Those are all great goals, especially if there is a need to do them right away. It can be tough to focus on earthquake and tsunami hazards because they only represent a chance of something happening. A rundown school is immediately visible. Government debt has a legitimate paper trail. Efforts to fix those are soon witnessed. A new school is built or the debt number goes down. It gives positive feedback in the short term. Ignoring earthquake safety might pay off or it might not. There's no guarantee.
For sure pay down the debt. Debt is bad, if you ask me. If your healthcare system and schools aren't broken, don't fix them. Any new construction going in should be held to the highest current earthquake standards. Overhauling old buildings should be done only if the building falls below a certain safety mark. That way not all buildings need to be brought to the current, newest marks.