MONTREAL — Quebec’s deputy premier and public safety minister is urging those affected by flooding to exercise extreme caution and vigilance as rising water levels continue to wreak havoc on the province.
“Do not take unnecessary risks, please,” Genevieve Guilbault said at the Ti-Oui Snack Bar in Saint-Raymond on Saturday.
Regional liaison officers for the Canadian Armed Forces are deployed in five districts and prepared to assist residents, she said: Outaouais; Montreal, Laurentians and Lanaudiere; Monteregie and Estrie; Quebec City; and Chaudiere-Appallaches.
Tragedy struck early Saturday morning when a woman in her 70s died after driving her car into a massive sinkhole caused by flooding in western Quebec, police said.
The accident left the woman’s sedan upside down in a swollen stream after rising river levels swept away part of the road in the Outaouais region overnight.
Sgt. Martin Fournel of the MRC des Collines police said witnesses parked near the washout tried unsuccessfully to warn the driver as she approached.
“That lady, who was driving by herself on that road, fell into a sinkhole basically because of the flooding. There was a culvert that was not there anymore, so the road was cut in half and she was not able to brake and avoid the accident,” Fournel told The Canadian Press.
The woman was taken to hospital but pronounced dead soon after, he said.
The accident occurred at about 3:30 a.m. in the Municipality of Pontiac, about 30 kilometres northwest of Ottawa.
Pontiac, which sits along the Ottawa River, is one of at least three municipalities in the Outaouais region to declare states of emergency, along with Saint-Andre-Avellin and Val-des-Monts. The city of Trois-Rivieres is also under a state of emergency.
In Beauceville, about 90 kilometres south of Quebec City, officials have asked the Canadian Armed Forces for assistance, with military vehicles en route to help with evacuations ordered by the municipality.
Earlier this week, the Chaudiere River burst its banks and flooded a large part of downtown. Officials called it the worst flooding since 1971, with 230 homes and businesses flooded.
In Saint-Raymond, about 60 kilometres northwest of the provincial capital, 24 seniors in three residences have been moved to higher ground as the Ste-Anne River continues to rise.
A local dam gave way Saturday, said Mayor Daniel Dion, prompting concerns about flooding.
“The problem today is that there is a lot of ice. If they clog our channels the water will have no space to circulate and that’s where it overflows,” he said.
Dion said he expects the high-water mark to come Sunday evening.
Four major floods have already been identified by Urgence Quebec: the Chaudiere River in Saint-Georges; Saint-Joseph and Vallee-Jonction in Beauce; and Deux-Montagnes Lake in Rigaud.
As of noon Saturday, there were 72 flooded residences, 53 isolated residences and 197 evacuees across the province, according to the most recent Urgence Quebec bulletin.
The most affected areas are Beauce — south of Quebec City — and Rigaud, west of the Island of Montreal.
Provincial police are checking up on residents door to door in Beauceville and Rigaud, where the Surete du Quebec (SQ) have set up command posts, said Sgt. Marie-Michele Moore.
About 40 millimetres of rain have fallen on the Montreal area since Thursday, with five to 10 millimetres more expected Saturday, according to Environment Canada. Rainfall warnings have been lifted, but water levels were already high and were expected to rise sharply with warm temperatures and snowmelt runoff.
Guilbault has said the province will also allow stores — usually closed on Easter Sunday — to remain open this weekend so residents can stock up on supplies.
Thomas Blanchet, a spokesman for the province’s public safety department, said residents should be ready for a sharp spike in water levels that could come quickly, and he implored them to follow the instructions of local officials.
In Laval, just north of Montreal, officials said some 1,500 homes and businesses were under flood watch. In Montreal, Mayor Valerie Plante toured various parts of the city under flood watch.
Plante said the boroughs were well prepared, having learned lessons from record floods two years ago.
“We’re putting in all our energy, but in the end Mother Nature decides,” Plante said.
In a statement, the City of Laval said it had distributed sandbags to 900 homes and knocked on 550 doors to make sure people were safe, as concern rises along with water levels in the Thousand Islands and Prairies rivers.
Quebec City and the Gaspe Peninsula can expect up to 30 millimetres of rainfall this weekend, said Environment Canada meteorologist Andre Cantin.
“That will help the snow to melt again, and we do not expect the river will be able to go down for at least 48 hours,” he said Saturday morning.
The Canadian Press
Video attacking Canada’s response to COVID created by Conservative leadership hopeful is going viral
This video was posted by MP Erin O’Toole.
The RCAF veteran, and former Minister of Veterans Affairs is running to replace Andrew Scheer and hoping to become Canada’s next Prime Minister.
The video is a scathing review of Canada’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. It has already been viewed well over half a million times.
From the Facebook page of Erin 0’Toole
➡️ The Chinese regime, the WHO and the Trudeau government DO NOT want people to see this.Let's make sure Canadians see the truth! 👍🇨🇦
Posted by Erin O'Toole on Thursday, May 21, 2020
Captain Jennifer Casey killed in Snowbirds accident
From: National Defence
One Canadian military member killed and one injured in CF Snowbirds accident
Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces
One member of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) was killed on Sunday May 17, 2020 and one other member injured in an accident involving a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CT-114 Tutor aircraft in the vicinity of Kamloops, British Columbia.
Killed was Captain Jennifer Casey, the team’s Public Affairs Officer, originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Captain Richard MacDougall, one of the team’s coordinators and pilot of the aircraft, was injured and is being treated for his injuries.
The Canadian Forces Snowbirds were deployed on Operation INSPIRATION, a cross-Canada tour to lift the spirits of Canadians and salute front-line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time of the accident, the CF Snowbirds were taking off from the airport in Kamloops, British Columbia.
The CAF are providing our members and their families with as much support as possible to help them through this difficult time.
A RCAF Flight Safety team will depart from Ottawa shortly to investigate the circumstances of the accident and will begin their work immediately upon arrival.
“I was deeply saddened to learn of the loss of one of our Canadian Armed Forces members in a tragic incident involving one of our Snowbirds’ aircraft in Kamloops, British Columbia. I am sending my sincerest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Captain Jenn Casey. I am also wishing a rapid and complete recovery for Captain Richard MacDougall.
Canadians look at the Snowbirds as a source of joy and an exhibition of the incredible feats that our people in uniform are capable of. Operation INSPIRATION was intended to lift the spirit of Canadians at this difficult time and the Snowbirds accomplished their mission. I know that all Canadians grieve this tragic loss.”
The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence.
“Another tragedy has hit our Canadian Armed Forces. The Snowbirds’ Op INSPIRATION brought joy to Canadians across our country. Today, we come together in their time of need. To the family of Captain Jenn Casey we send our condolences, know that she was an inspiration to many and she will be missed. To Captain Richard MacDougall, we wish you a speedy recovery.”
General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff
“The whole Defence Team family is deeply saddened by the loss of Captain Jenn Casey. Deepest condolences to her loved ones, and to her colleagues in the Snowbirds, the RCAF and her fellow Public Affairs Officers. We also wish Captain Richard MacDougall a steady recovery through these most difficult of times.”
Jody Thomas, Deputy Minister of National Defence
“Today, the RCAF has suffered another tragic loss of a dedicated member of the RCAF team. We grieve alongside Jenn’s family, friends and colleagues and are deeply saddened. Our thoughts also go out to the loved ones of Captain Richard MacDougall. We hope for a swift recovery from his injuries.”
Lieutenant General Al Meinzinger, Commander Royal Canadian Air Force
- The CT-114 Tutor fleet has been placed on an operational pause and Op INSPIRATION has been delayed indefinitely.
- Captain Jenn Casey is from Halifax, Nova Scotia. She joined the Canadian Armed Forces in August 2014 as a direct entry officer. Captain Casey joined the Canadian Forces Snowbirds in November 2018.
- A Flight Safety Investigation will be conducted to ensure our personnel can continue to have confidence in our equipment and procedures. One of the aims of the Flight Safety program is to investigate such occurrences with the objective of quickly identifying effective preventive measures that will either prevent or reduce the risk of similar occurrences in the future.
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