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Province to make blockading, refusing flood orders illegal

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The Selinger government will give police new powers to arrest homeowners who refuse orders to leave their properties when a state of emergency has been called.

The Emergency Measures Amendment Act will also make it an offence to block the province from using flood-control structures like the Portage Diversion.

The bill, introduced by Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton today, is in response to what happened in 2009 when ice jams north of Selkirk created sudden flooding and inundated numerous properties at Breezy Point. Emergency officials then had to rescue several stranded residents.

The bill is also in response to a demonstration by about 25 farmers and their supporters at the Portage Diversion on Monday, a protest the province says delayed the Portage Diversion from operating for 12 hours and increased the flood threat on the Assiniboine River.

Ashton said the proposed legislation will allow authorities to remove residents from their properties to a place of safety or from areas blocking the use of flood-control structures.

He said there will also be a provision for the province to recover costs.

History

Updated on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 5:09 PM CDT: Updated

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