Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

May 10, 2011 18:00 ET

Minister MacKay Visits Canadian Forces in Manitoba's Flooded Areas

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 10, 2011) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, visited the Canadian Forces (CF) in flooded areas of Manitoba today. He was accompanied by General Walter Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff, Candice Hoeppner, Member of Parliament for Portage-Lisgar, and Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger. Minister MacKay visited members of the Joint Task Force to assess first-hand the work being done to assist the local authorities along the Assiniboine River in reinforcing dikes and other flood mitigation work in order to protect lives, property and infrastructure.

"As they are demonstrating in Quebec and in Manitoba, the Canadian Forces are always ready to assist Canadians in times of crisis," said Minister MacKay. "Our Government was quick to respond to the request for assistance from Premier Selinger and our men and women in uniform are proud to be part of this effort to protect life and property from the flooded Assiniboine River."

CF assets deployed to date include a five hundred personnel Immediate Response Unit (IRU) from Shilo, Man., two Domestic Response Companies (DRC) of one hundred reservists each, and two CH-146 Griffon Helicopters. Up to 1000 troops will be taking part in this operation. Among the tasks being performed by the CF are the preservation of essential infrastructure and access routes, assistance in the voluntary evacuation of civilians and provision of essential logistical and material support. Assessments are currently being conducted to determine possible future tasks on a priority basis.

"The Canadian Forces are the sons and daughters of the nation. We take great pride when we can help our family, friends and neighbours whenever they are in distress," said Gen Natynczyk. "I am proud of the swift deployment of the task force and appreciate the hard work our folks are accomplishing today and in the coming days."

Under the direction of Canada Command, Joint Task Force West, with the leadership of Lieutenant-Colonel Shane Schreiber, Commanding Officer of the Second Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Regiment (2PPCLI), is overseeing this relief effort. Canada Command is responsible for Canadian Forces routine and contingency operations in Canada and North America. Its roles include sovereignty patrols, air and maritime search and rescue, civil and humanitarian aid (disaster relief), support to law enforcement agencies and support to major public events.

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