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Harper tours Manitoba flood region


Harper toured the region by helicopter on Wednesday with Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger
Harper toured the region by helicopter on Wednesday with Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger

Lyndsay Morrison, staff writer

May 12, 2011 — Prime Minister Stephen Harper took to the skies on Wednesday and toured flood-ravaged Brandon.

Harper to speak with provinces about more financial assistance
Harper to speak with provinces about more financial assistance

Prime Minister Stephen Harper travelled to Manitoba's hardest hit flood zones on Wednesday, one day after announcing that more troops would be sent to the area.

This week, a provincial state of emergency was declared in the province. The city of Brandon is taking one of the hardest hits, with Manitoba Emergency Measures Minister Steve Ashton describing the flood of 2011 as a once-in-300-year event.

After flying over the flood zone in Brandon, Harper said the government needs to look at more proactive financing for the area.

Currently, a Disaster Financial Assistance Program hands out money after disaster hits, but Harper announced he will be talking with the affected provinces about funding to prevent any widespread damage in the first place.

Members of the Canadian Military help with the flood situation near Portage la Prairie, MB (courtesy: Department of Natural Defense)
Members of the Canadian Military help with the flood situation near Portage la Prairie, MB (courtesy: Department of Natural Defense)

Authorities will likely punch a hole in a dike along the Assiniboine River in a controlled release of floodwaters this weekend.

The province initially said 150 homes could be affected by the release, but at least one municipal official said that number is likely higher. Some of the province's most fertile farmland could be swamped, as well.

Crews are working to increase the capacity of the Portage Diversion to handle more water from the Assiniboine River.

The Canadian Red Cross is currently accepting donations for flood victims in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Quebec. You can help out by visiting www.redcross.ca or calling 1-800-418-1111

With files from Andrea Stockton

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