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Smith calls on government to immediately pay compensation for forced entry

HIGH RIVER, AB (September 9, 2013): Wildrose Official Opposition Leader Danielle Smith has written to Premier Alison Redford and requested that the government immediately develop a solution to compensate High River residents for the damage they sustained from forced entry by the RCMP during the Flood.  

Earlier today, Smith wrote a letter calling on Premier Redford and the Alberta Government to compensate the over 1,900 High River residents whose doors were demolished and whose homes were damaged by the RCMP during their property searches after the High River flood.  With the RCMP contracted as Alberta’s provincial police force, Smith said it is important that the province assume responsibility for the costs of the damage.  “The Emergency Management Act in section 19 makes it clear that compensation is mandated for damage done by actions taken under the authorization of an emergency declaration,” Smith said. “After all that residents have been through since the beginning of the flood, further dragging out the compensation process for them is unacceptable.”  Smith said the government should look after immediately compensating residents for the damages, and if the RCMP is ultimately held responsible, the province can recover the monies from them.  Attached to the letter were the personal reports of almost 50 residents, excerpts of which are attached below.  None of the residents have yet received compensation for damage done during the forced entry. 

  BACKGROUNDER From the Emergency Management Act.   19(1) On the making of the declaration and for the duration of the state of emergency, the Minister may do all acts and take all necessary proceedings including the following                ... (h) authorize the entry into any building or on any land, without warrant, by any person in the course of implementing an emergency plan or program; 19(3) If the Minister acquires or utilizes real or personal property under subsection (1) or if any real or personal property is damaged or destroyed due to an action of the Minister in preventing, combating or alleviating the effects of an emergency or disaster, the Minister shall cause compensation to be paid for it.  EXCERPTS   Josephine: “I had a $1000 claim with a receipt. I am an old age pensioner on a fixed income, this is a huge amount of money for me. I talked to various people. No help. No info.”  Lorie: “I spent $400 on carpet cleaning and the estimate on the door was $3800. Our home had boot prints up the stairs and throughout the upstairs stepping in front of our bedroom dresser where our personal property had be rifled through”  Joanne: “I have $2500 in damage. We feel totally violated – we own no weapons nor do we have illegal plants of any kind. They only opened one closet in the master bedroom... looking for.... people?”  Judy: “I had to pay $1100 through an independent supplier. The damages were extensive. It was over kill. Now they don’t want to reimburse for the damages. Having my rant I do realize there were extenuating circumstances but nothing justifies the horrendous and callous amount of damage and no one is owing up to this.”