Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
How a state of emergency works
The province's Emergency Measures Act allows the minister -- in this case, the aptly named Emergency Measures Minister Steve Ashton -- to declare a province-wide state of emergency. That's what happened Monday.
Under the act, a mayor and council can also declare a state of local emergency, also known as a SoLE, in their town or rural municipality. There have been several of those during this spring's flood battle.
The latest news about flooding in southern Manitoba this spring.
Points of interest in Manitoba's flood fight
Compare today's river level in Winnipeg with levels during the 1950, 1997 and 2009 floods.
A state of emergency can help a government take care of some formalities, like putting an emergency plan into effect, spending money that wasn't in the budget and closing roads.
It can also allow a town or province to force an evacuation or quarantine people or livestock.
Then it gets serious.
As long as it's part of fending off a disaster, governments can use a state of emergency to enter a home, trespass on property without permission or seize personal effects, like equipment.
They can also press people with needed skills into service, such as equipment operators, doctors or sandbaggers. And a state of emergency gives government the right to "authorize the procurement and distribution of essential resources" like food, water and medicine.
A state of emergency is valid for two weeks, but it can be extended.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 11, 2011 A5
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