High River evacuated resident and former town councillor Floyd Langenhoff chats with RCMP members (L-R) Sgt. Sylvain Roussel, Sgt. Brian Topham and Cpl. Lucky Ho at a roadblock into northwest High River, Alta. on Friday, June 28, 2013
Credits: LYLE ASPINALL/SUN MEDIA
OTTAWA - The chief spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper is urging the RCMP to return guns seized from homes in flooded-out High River, Alta., and focus on other tasks instead.
RCMP officers, assisted by Canadian Forces personnel, have entered an unknown number of homes in the flood zone in High River that had been evacuated by their owners. A video made by the police shows them searching for pets, people or other hazardous items.
RCMP have said that if they found an unsecured firearm in the home, they seized it for safekeeping and plan to return it to the owner.
RELATED: Cops vow to return guns seized without warrants in flooded High River
"This natural disaster was a highly unusual incident," said Andrew MacDougall, Harper's director of communications. "If any firearms were taken, we expect they will be returned to their owners as soon as possible. We believe the RCMP should focus on more important tasks such as protecting lives and private property."
A spokesman for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said operational matters for the RCMP in High River are under local control and were not directed by the federal government.
In both Ottawa and Alberta, politicians on all sides were looking for answers.
"I think the RCMP needs to explain fully to the public the procedures that were used. But people have to understand it was in a flooding emergency situation," said MP Randall Garrison, the public safety critic for the NDP.