Winnipeg Free Press

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Canada’s military not alone refusing cleanup duty
Winnipeg Free Press

The Canadian army isn’t the only military force that doesn’t do cleanup. Local mayors and residents in flood-stricken areas near Montreal have been trying to get soldiers to stick around and help once waters eventually subside.

But they need only look south of the border to see they’re not alone: The Vermont National Guard, which comes under the control of the state governor, is not allowed to help out on private property, either.

Spokesman Lt.-Col. Lloyd Goodrow says U.S. federal law doesn’t let National Guard members help people with their flooded basements. Goodrow says the National Guard is not allowed to provide any services that compete with the private sector.

« If you and I in the military are going around cleaning up people’s basements, we are taking jobs away from companies that do that and that’s a violation of federal law, » he said in an interview from Camp Johnson in Colchester, Vt. Woodrow says members of the Guard can’t even place sandbags around a flooded home.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government recently refused a request to have the Canadian Forces help with the cleanup once flood waters return to normal levels in Quebec.