Lake Manitoba Flood Protest Rally

Reid Dickie

Several hundred angry, frustrated Manitobans gathered in front of the Manitoba Legislature early this afternoon to give the provincial government an earful. The all-ages crowd consisted of cottage owners, ranchers, permanent residents, First Nations people and farmers flooded out by Lake Manitoba. Their signs indicate their frustration level, which is as high as the water level in the lake. Due to overuse of the Portage Diversion, 900 properties around the lake are now inundated.

The provincial government stumbles along, still denying the lake flood is man-made (to quote Stan Struthers, our provincial minister of agriculture, “There’s nothing we can do about it.” Appropriately, Stan was thoroughly booed for that comment.) Next up was our minister of EMO, Steve Ashton who received the completely negative crowd reaction he has earned and so richly deserves. Ashton’s speech was mostly drowned out by shouting.

Was Our Great Leader, Moses Selinger, there? Nope. He was out at a media photo-op in Lundar, pretending to care, while The People he should be talking to came right to his doorstep. Also hiding out from The People today was our minister of water stewardship, Christine Melnick. Though there were calls for her from the crowd, no reason was given for her absence. I’m sure she had business much more pressing than dealing with the mere rabble outside.

The other hacks that lead the Conservative and Liberal parties in Manitoba spoke, with McFadyen, the Conservative ‘leader’ striding right up to the mike without waiting for an introduction. He’s a blatherer, dull, witless. The most inspiring speeches came from a cattle rancher flooded out by the Shoal Lakes and Barry Swan, the fiery young chief of Lake Manitoba First Nation, all 190 residents of which have been evacuated and are living indefinitely in Winnipeg hotels.

What I distilled from the event was there are six points and questions that the provincial government needs to address right now to assuage The People. In case the government doesn’t understand what the points and questions are (they don’t) I’ll list them:

  • Admit the flood of Lake Manitoba was man-made because of too much water coming into the lake and not enough leaving (it’s not rocket science),
  • Figure out a better drainage system at Fairford that will create a manageable balance in lake levels,
  • Treat people equally and fairly regarding compensation.
  • Why hasn’t the area around the lake been declared a provincial disaster area?
  • Where is the federal government?
  • When will we have access to our properties?

It’s a hot muggy day here today, thunderstorms are likely this evening. Ironically, The People had gathered just a block away from the river that is causing their havoc. The Assiniboine flows past the Legislature, filled to its banks but not threatening Winnipeg. That’s because the lakeshore residents took the hit. It’s time for the provincial government to own up and pony up for its bad judgment and mismanagement.

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Filed under Flood, Images, Local History, Natural Places, Prairie People, Winnipeg

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