Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff stopped in Manitoba on Tuesday to tout his party's $225-million freshwater strategy, which would also assess options to deal with future flooding in the region.
Manitoba is experiencing a massive flood that is bringing water levels to levels unseen in 150 years. The flood has already forced almost 700 people from their homes in Manitoba.
Saskatchewan officials are also warning that flooding could remain a threat in that province for the rest of the month.
Ignatieff told a news conference that his party would examine the best scientific options to deal with flooding, especially in provinces such as Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Tuesday night on The National
On Tuesday on The National, CBC's Peter Mansbridge interviews Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff.
The Liberal leader said he wants to bring together hydraulic engineers, scientists, experts, community leaders to figure out what is the long-term strategy to deal with the persistent flooding.
"I think that this is important first step that sends a signal right across the country," Ignatieff said.
"The federal government can't keep coming in after the fact. We've got to go in with the provinces, municipalities before fact, and this is the kind of investment that will start us on right route."
The Liberal leader sidestepped any questions of whether the federal government had done enough to help communities impacted by the floods.
Ignatieff said people who are coping with flooded homes don't want politicians to start "name-calling."
"I didn't come here to play games with this; this is too serious," he said.
"People in these situations want solutions, they don't want a lot of finger-pointing."
The Liberal leader also said provinces, such as British Columbia, Quebec and New Brunswick, often confront significant flooding problems.
Ignatieff said water-related disasters, such as droughts and floods, continue to be Canada's most expensive natural disasters.
Cleaning up freshwater lakes
The Liberal freshwater plan would also consider options for cleaning up Lake Winnipeg, which is heavily polluted.
The initiative would also examine the problem of invasive species from the Great Lakes.
Liberal candidate Terry Duguid, who co-wrote a 2005 report on restoring Lake Winnipeg, said the lake is the 10th largest freshwater lake in the world, and it needs federal attention.
"It's a dominant feature of our landscape here in Manitoba, but unfortunately Lake Winnipeg is in the condition that Lake Erie was in the '60s," Duguid said
"It is deteriorating by the year, and we have seen five years of Conservative inaction .… Our party pledges to do something about Lake Winnipeg, and there are funds in the fresh water strategy to attack the problem of excess nutrients in Lake Winnipeg."