Manitobans advised to remain vigilant with Sask. stabbing suspect still at large

The RCMP is advising people in Manitoba to remain vigilant even though police don’t believe Myles Sanderson, the remaining suspect in the Saskatchewan stabbings that left 10 dead and 19 injured, has left that province.

Emergency alerts were extended over the weekend to Albertans and Manitobans. In all, three alerts were issued in Manitoba but not everyone received them on their cell phone.

Both the province and wireless providers said Tuesday it depends on whether your phone is compatible, connected to an LTE network and on its software and settings.

Manitoba’s Emergency Measures Organization said three notifications requested by the RCMP were issued to Manitobans through the Alert Ready system on TV, radio and wireless devices.

The first one went out Sunday afternoon at 2:38 p.m., followed by updates on Monday at 1:22 p.m. and 7:13 p.m.

“I’m not surprised they’re perhaps erring on the side of alert early and then deal with the consequences after rather than not alerting,” said Jack Lindsay, an associate professor and chair of Brandon University’s department of Applied Disaster and Emergency Studies.

“I think we also have to recognize all of these events take place in a much broader social and political context and right now the RCMP have received some pushback about the warnings that happened out east during a mass shooting.”

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Still, he feels alerts to neighbouring provinces in the Saskatchewan stabbings were warranted.

“Saskatchewan to Alberta or to Manitoba is really only a couple hours’ drive so I don’t see the problem with notifying Albertans and Manitobans but perhaps it could’ve just been once and Alberta and Manitoba didn’t need to receive more updates until they could confirm the person was heading in one direction or the other,” Lindsay said.

RCMP said Tuesday a possible sighting of Sanderson on James Smith Cree Nation didn’t check out and he remains at large.

CTV News Winnipeg reached out to Telus, Bell – the parent company of CTV News – and Rogers about the Alert Ready system.

In an email Bell MTS said it successfully received and distributed the alerts which it said you will only get if your smartphone is capable of connecting to an LTE network, is equipped with the latest software and connected to an LTE or 5G network at the time the alert is issued or joins the network while the alert is still active.

Telus said via email an alert regarding the Saskatchewan manhunt was successfully issued in Manitoba both Sunday and Monday.

“Though it is possible that some wireless customers did not receive the alert if they do not have an LTE-enabled, WPA-compatible device that is updated with the manufacturer’s latest software, or were not within range of an LTE network at the time the alert was issued,” the company said in an email.

You can check if your phone’s compatible here.

Meantime, the stabbings that prompted the alerts have many Manitobans standing with Saskatchewan in the wake of the violence.

“We are all affected by the immense violence this community has faced,” said Deputy Grand Chief Cornell McLean of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. “It would be nothing short of traumatic to be trapped in your community in fear of this man who is still out there while mourning the loss of so many innocent lives.”

Regional Chief Cindy Woodhouse of the Assembly of First Nations echoed those sentiments in a joint statement.

“I extend my heartfelt condolences to the families who lost loved ones and to all the people affected by these senseless acts of violence,” Woodhouse said.

At an unrelated announcement Tuesday, Winnipeg mayor Brian Bowman said flags at city hall would be lowered until Friday at sundown and the Winnipeg sign will be lit green in solidarity with Saskatchewan.

“Our thoughts continue to be with our friends and our neighbours in Saskatchewan,” Bowman said.

“Here in Manitoba, there have been multiple alerts and I want to encourage Winnipeggers and in fact all Manitobans to remain vigilant. Instructions from the RCMP are for the public to take appropriate precautions.”

The mayor echoed information shared by RCMP to alert police of any suspicious activity.

The Manitoba RCMP said officers from western detachments are monitoring highways near the Saskatchewan border.

Some officers are assisting in Saskatchewan with crime scene investigations and its emergency response team is on standby to attend if requested.

Police are recommending anyone who’s travelling not to pick up hitchhikers.

Officers also said if you do see the suspect do not approach, call 911 and provide your location. 

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