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Manitoba flooding impacts voters

Andrea Stockton, staff writer

May 2, 2011 — Special voting stations were set up in Manitoba Monday to accommodate over 1,900 people forced from their homes by spring flooding.

Snow piled up on a parked car in Manitoba
Snow piled up on a parked car in Manitoba

A wicked spring storm hammered parts of Manitoba this past weekend bringing heavy snow and fierce winds. Five people were killed after the storm dumped over 20 cm of snow on some city streets.

Increasing water levels have also had a significant impact on the spring flood situation. Steve Ashton, Minister of Emergency Measures with the Government of Manitoba says there is a very high volume of water in both the Red and Assiniboine Rivers.

“What the storm did is it added more moisture into the watersheds and we're seeing this as prolonging what was already an extended flood that will extend well into May and for some areas into the summer as well.”

Ashton adds that crews and volunteers are working around the clock to ensure the flood protection measures are stable.

“We're making sure those dikes are holding up. We had up to 70 km/h north winds on the weekend and that had a bit of a pounding on some of the dikes. It did hold over the weekend and we're going to be repairing any of the damage.”

Impassable roads leave voters using boats as transportation
Impassable roads leave voters using boats as transportation

Getting around the province has been next to impossible between the heavy snowfall and flooded roads.

Elections Canada set up special voting stations on Monday to allow all Manitobans to exercise their civic duty.

Officials say over 1,900 people have been forced from their homes by flooding.

Residents that were flooded out of First Nation communities were able to vote at the local hotel they've been staying at. Other electors actually travelled by boat to have their voice heard during this federal election.

Because of the last minute change, Elections Canada spent the day on Sunday trying to notify local voters through radio ads and phone calls. Officials say it will be a while before the numbers are analyzed to see what effect flooding had on turnout.

With files from The Canadian Press

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