As of tonight, the Association of Lake Manitoba Stakeholder’s Request for Meeting with Premier remains unanswered. However below is an extract of exert from Hansard for May 29th, where MLA for Portage, Ian Wishart, and MLAfor Asassiz, Stuart Briese, both asked why the Premier still hasn’t met with ALMS to address the growing list of issues and costs regarding flood victims of Lake Manitoba:
From Debates and Proceedings of the Legislature of the Province of Manitoba from May 29th:
Mr. Ian Wishart (Portage la Prairie): Mr. Speaker,
the disaster continues to unfold for victims of the
2011 flood around Lake Manitoba. Homes and
cottages remain damaged. The agricultural ‘secting’
is hurting and business continues to be disrupted.
Organizations like the Association of Lake Manitoba
Stakeholders have worked tirelessly for flood
victims, but they, too, are getting frustrated with the
inaction by this NDP government. Yesterday, the
association wrote the Premier (Mr. Selinger)
outlining their concerns and asking why, despite
their repeated requests for a meeting, the Premier
won’t meet with them.
Mr. Speaker, it’s been nearly a year since the
disaster hit Lake Manitoba. Why does the Premier
refuse to meet with the Association of Lake
Hon. Steve Ashton (Minister responsible for
Emergency Measures): Well, we’ve had numerous
meetings since the beginning of the flood, a flood
that continues to this point, Mr. Speaker, and we
have made significant progress. Are there still issues
to be dealt with? Absolutely. But if you consider the
fact that when we’re dealing with 30,000 claims
under various different programs–that’s triple the
number in 1997–many which are in and around Lake
Manitoba, I think it’s important to note we’ve already
paid out $650 million.
(Note to ALMS website readers : According to Dr. Jon Gerrard, as stated in Hansard on May 8, 2012 a small fraction of this number has gone to the victims of the flooding, Dr. Gerrard states after doing an analysis ” when I look down these numbers from the third quarter financial report, the interesting thing is that if you take away the money for flood fighting, for flood proofing, for AgriRecovery, for municipal financial assistance, for AgriInsurance, for property tax relief, the money which is actually there for individual compensation, reimbursement, is actually–of that five hundred and thirty-one–thirty two million dollars–is about $28 million, which is the Lake Manitoba Financial Assistance Program at $24.8 million and the Hoop and Holler compensation program at $3.5 million. the money which is actually there for individual compensation, reimbursement… which is the Lake Manitoba Financial Assistance Program at $24.8 million.” Readers should note that that is $24.8 million for Lake Manitoba flood victims, not $650 Million )
Many of those programs are
stand-alone provincial programs. We’d appreciate
some assistance from the federal government in
addition to the DFA cost sharing.
But we are committed and, as I speak, Mr.
Speaker, there’s a significant amount of work being
done, either by the Province or by municipalities or
by homeowners or producers around the lake. It’s a
historic flood, but we’re there working with
Manitobans to meet that challenge.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Wishart: Mr. Speaker, in its letter to the
Premier, the Association of Lake Manitoba
Stakeholders expressed dissatisfaction with the lack
of response to their concerns. The letter stated, and I
quote: “The people and property owners of Lake
Manitoba were sacrificed their homes, security,
legacies and in many cases, livelihoods due to your
Government’s decision to divert the water from
Winnipeg which created this man-made disaster.”
Mr. Speaker, I ask this government again: Will
arrangements be made for a meeting between the
Premier and the Association of Lake Manitoba
Stakeholders to discuss their outstanding concerns
related to the 2011 flood, or will their request be
ignored for another year?
Mr. Ashton: Well, Mr. Speaker, there can be no
doubt that last year was–and the flood that’s
continuing with this year–was historic, and it wasn’t
just Manitoba. It was Saskatchewan. And who can
forget what happened in Minot, North Dakota, last
year, our neighbours to the south: 3,100 homes
devastated, thousands of people in that province
And what we did last year is when people in and
around Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin said,
don’t forget about us, when they said, we need relief
on the lake level, we took–undertook historic project,
Mr. Speaker, which was to build for the first time an
outlet out of Lake St. Martin. We targeted November
1st. We built it on time and on budget. We listened to
the people around Lake Manitoba.
And as we continue with the recovery, yes, Mr.
Speaker, there are still issues to be dealt with and,
yes, there are frustrations. We were there, though, in
2011; we’re there in 2012. We will work with every
flood-affected Manitoban until we get them back to
Mr. Wishart: Mr. Speaker, the ‘assoshin’ of–the
Association of Lake Manitoba Stakeholders has
pointed out the urgent need for the cleanup of trees
and other ‘depris’–debris which are posing a sizable
fire hazard to homes and cottages. They also cite
concerns over long-term environmental damage.
Flood-affected businesses have been told that
there will be no assistance for 2012, even when the
lake is still in flood stage. Ranchers and farmers are
being told that they’re on their own to find pasture
and feed for 2012, even if their hay pastures are still
a mess of grey silt and ‘depris’–debris and their
pasture fences have been destroyed by flood waters.
Mr. Speaker, can the government not get its act
together and take action to help those people that
they were so quick to sacrifice a year ago?
Mr. Ashton: Well, Mr. Speaker, I know the member
would not want to leave on the record the suggestion
that cleanup is not taking place right now.
Many of the municipalities around the lake have
made a significant effort to clean up. Many are now
moving to that point. It’s important to note we’re now
into spring, and there are–in fact, there are tenders
going out for a number of the municipalities as we
speak. There’s been a significant effort. In some
areas around Lake Manitoba there are still access
issues. In some areas around Lake St. Martin there
are still access issues because of saturated
groundwater conditions. So we’re not
underestimating any of the challenges that any of the
people around those lakes are faced with.
But it’s very easy to get up and ask questions that
make categorical statements which are really nothing
more but rhetoric. What we’re dealing with is dealing
with the historic challenge. We have dealt with
30,000 claims right now, $650 million. (Note to readers: Again, please remember a small fraction of this has gone to claimants, approximately only $24.8 million )
We’re making significant progress, but we’re not going to
stop until we get everybody back to normal.
Flooding (Lake Manitoba)
Multi-Year Compensation Program Availability
Mr. Stuart Briese (Agassiz): Mr. Speaker, it’s been
nearly one year since people around Lake Manitoba
were sacrificed for the greater good during the
2011 flood. They understood they were being
flooded to save billions of dollars of damage in other
areas of the province. They weren’t happy, but they
had no choice but to accept their fate. They accepted
what happened because this NDP government
repeatedly promised they would look after them and
deal with the substantial damages they sustained.
Mr. Speaker, why is this government now
breaking their repeated promises to the people
around Lake Manitoba?
Hon. Steve Ashton (Minister responsible for
Emergency Measures): Mr. Speaker, I want to
stress once again that we met the challenge last year
with people around Lake Manitoba, Lake St. Martin,
with historic construction of an outlet.
This was something, by the way, that had been
talked about since the 1960s. The Water Commission
in 1978 rejected it. We built it. We took something
that would have taken six to seven years; we did it in
a matter of months.
Mr. Briese: Mr. Speaker, the former minister of
Agriculture said there would be multi-year help for
Lake Manitoba flood victims. Now the people are
told there are no programs going forward. This NDP
government tries to divert the attention away from
the ongoing issues by talking about the number of
claims filed and the money spent, but they
conveniently refuse to answer specific questions
about program shortcomings and they break their
promises to flood victims.
Mr. Speaker, do they not care about keeping
their promises? Do they not care about the people
who are hurt most with their intentional flood? Why
did they promise multi-year compensation and now
say there are no programs going forward?
Mr. Ashton: Well, Mr. Speaker, we care about flood
victims. That’s one of the reasons we moved with
flood programs to protect Manitobans. It’s one of the
reasons we put in place six stand-alone provincial
programs last year. Again, these are a hundred
per cent funded by the people of Manitoba.
And it’s not just this government, Mr. Speaker,
and it’s not just the municipalities in terms of that
commitment. One thing I will say is part of the
Manitoba spirit is I didn’t hear very many people, if
any, last year questioning, not only the flood fight
but the unprecedented compensation assistance to
Now, do we have challenges ahead? Absolutely.
Have we made progress, though, Mr. Speaker?
There’s been $650 million paid out(Note to readers: Again, please remember only a fraction of this has gone to victims, about $24.8 Million), and we are
working round the clock with our municipal partners,
with homeowners, with farmers and with business
people on those 30,000 claims. We’re going to
continue to work until we get people back to normal.
Mr. Briese: In a May 28th letter to the Premier (Mr.
Selinger), the Association of Lake Manitoba
Stakeholders stated, and I quote: The current
program being used to help people and property
owners affected by the flood of 2011 are inequitable,
inadequate, and confusing for the people trying to
access them; it has become evident that the people
and communities affected by the flood event need to
have policy changes in place in order to become
whole again. End of quote, and I’ll table that.
Mr. Speaker, where is the integrity? When will
the government admit that there are shortcomings in
the programs, fix them so that Lake Manitoba flood
victims can recover?
Mr. Ashton: Well, Mr. Speaker, I want to put on the
record that when it comes to the program that was
put in place last year–six stand-alone provincial
programs. We didn’t sit back and say, well, we have
a disaster financial assistance program, which is cost
shared, by the way, up to a maximum of 90 per cent
with the federal government. We didn’t say under the
DFA program that cottage owners would not be
eligible, and for the first time ever in Manitoba
history, we stood up and we provided support to
cottage owners–the first time, the member should
really acknowledge that.
We identified some of the specific concerns
involving our producers in and around the lake, Mr.
Speaker. We identified some of the unique issues
around the lake. And on top of that we built the
emergency outlet on time, on budget, in a matter of
That is not only caring, Mr. Speaker, about the
people around that lake; it’s sending a message to all
Manitobans. When it comes to floods, the bottom
line is we in Manitoba, this government, all
Mr. Speaker: Order. Order.