Justin Trudeau visits towns impacted by Fiona in PEI. and in N.S.

STANLEY BRIDGE, PEI — Justin Trudeau traveled to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island on Tuesday, where he pledged to find ways to build more resilient infrastructure, after seeing the extensive damage caused by the post-tropical storm Fiona.

The prime minister was at Stanley Bridge, where storm surge and hurricane-force winds toppled buildings and tossed fishing boats ashore on Saturday morning.

« There are always lessons to be learned, » said Mr. Trudeau. Unfortunately, the reality with climate change is that there are going to be more extreme weather events. We’re going to have to think about how to make sure we’re prepared for whatever comes our way. »

The Prime Minister made a brief visit to the community of Glace Bay, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, where he met with residents and saw two homes with their roofs torn off.

Fiona damaged a very wide corridor in Atlantic Canada, stretching from eastern Nova Scotia to Cape Breton, and from Prince Edward Island to the southwest. of the island of Newfoundland. In eastern Quebec, the Îles-de-la-Madeleine were also affected, but to a lesser extent, by the passage of Fiona.

In the Atlantic provinces, electricity has been cut, dozens of homes have been razed and clean-up operations are expected to take months or even years. The record storm also claimed two lives: a 73-year-old woman from Port aux Basques, on the island of Newfoundland, and an 81-year-old man from Lower Prospect, Nova Scotia.

« The federal government is here as a partner, » Trudeau told reporters at Stanley Bridge on Tuesday. We were already working before the storm to prepare for the worst, and the worst has happened. But at the same time, we heard incredible stories of resilience.”

More than 180,000 homes and businesses in Atlantic Canada were still without power late Tuesday afternoon, including more than 122,000 in Nova Scotia and about 61,000 in Prince Edward Island.

When asked if it was time for Ottawa to invest more in burying overhead power lines, Trudeau said there were lessons to be learned from what happened in Atlantic Canada. and in eastern Quebec.

« We are looking for ways to build more resilient infrastructure, » he said. The reality is that extreme weather events are going to get more intense over the next few years because our climate is changing. That’s why we have to make sure we adapt to it. »

The Canadian Space Agency posted on its Twitter feed on Tuesday two very telling satellite photos of the damage to Prince Edward Island: one taken on August 21, the other on September 25, a day after Fiona hit the island with hurricane-force winds exceeding 140 km/h.

harvest season

Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King also spoke of the economic damage to the agricultural sector, which reported huge losses among producers of potatoes, soybeans, apples and fodder corn.

Additionally, Prime Minister King said many dairy farms, fishing boats and potato warehouses were damaged or destroyed. And he cited the extensive damage reported by mussel and oyster producers.

Earlier in the day, the provincial government announced a wage subsidy program, and Mr. King said he had asked Mr. Trudeau for more financial support from Ottawa.

Mr. Trudeau indicated for his part that “at the level of agriculture, whether it is potatoes, corn or others, there are great challenges, and we will be there to support”.

In Ottawa, Defense Minister Anita Anand confirmed that about 300 service members are now taking part in recovery efforts in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland.

Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu said 13 Indigenous communities had been affected by the storm and local authorities were now scrambling to ensure they had enough food and fuel.

“They are also focused on recovering their fishing supplies and their boats, in particular, which is their livelihood,” Ms Hajdu said.

power outages

In Halifax, the region’s largest city, more than 24,000 customers spent their fourth day without power on Tuesday. The strident noise of chainsaws during the day gives way during the night to the dull hum of generators.

The Nova Scotia Electric Utility said Tuesday that 1,300 linemen and other workers were deployed to the field, the company’s largest callout in its history. This deployment also includes reinforcements from New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, Ontario and New England.

Additionally, the company said the military is helping out by removing trees and branches, delivering supplies and securing trucks and equipment.

At the height of the storm, 415,000 Nova Scotia homes and businesses were without power, including 210,000 in the Halifax area and 65,000 in Cape Breton.

Schools and government offices remained closed Tuesday across Prince Edward Island and much of Nova Scotia. The Prince Edward Island government has already announced that public schools will remain closed until at least next Monday.

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