Storm Fiona: Mendicino says Tories pushed ‘misinformation’ with ArriveCan border issues

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said Conservative questions in the House of Commons on Monday over comments by Nova Scotia Power suggesting a problem with the ArriveCan app amounts to « pushing false information », as the utility company later confirmed that the app hadn’t caused any issues.

The minister’s comment is the latest in a back-and-forth between Nova Scotia Power, the Nova Scotia Premier’s Office and the federal government, as officials at all levels have scrambled in recent days to respond to the devastation wrought by Storm Fiona across Atlantic Canada.

In a tweet on Tuesday afternoon, Mendicino referenced several questions from the Conservatives during Question Period on Monday afternoon, during which the opposition questioned the government on a statement from Nova Scotia Power on Sunday.

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Alexander Cohen, spokesman for Mendicino, said following the minister’s tweet on Tuesday that it was « alarming and sad that in the wake of a tragedy the Tories spent yesterday’s Question Period peddling lies ».

“We are working to help Canadians affected by Hurricane Fiona get the help they need to recover and rebuild, and we are pleased to announce that crews from Maine heading to Nova Scotia have crossed the border yesterday with an average processing time of less than a minute.

Maine and Nova Scotia have a Memorandum of Understanding allowing for mutual assistance in the event of an emergency or natural disaster.

A spokesperson for the utility company had said over the weekend that there had been an « ArriveCAN-related issue » that had raised concerns among US crews that they « may not be able to to cross the border » to help Canada in the midst of post-tropical storm Fiona.

Click to play video: “Cleanup efforts continue in central Nova Scotia following Fiona”

Cleanup efforts continue in central Nova Scotia following Fiona

Cleanup efforts continue in central Nova Scotia following Fiona

Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston had also told reporters on Sunday morning that « there was a situation where some Maine crews were having a problem at the border, » and Conservative MPs on Monday afternoon raised repeatedly questioned about those comments, including Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre.

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Trudeau had responded Monday in response that he could « confirm that there were no delays at any border due to ArriveCan or otherwise. »

Federal officials had said on Sunday that the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) had « no record of any such situation occurring at a port of entry into Canada, » a spokesperson for Mendicino told the time that « this erroneous story probably stems from a misunderstanding. »

Nova Scotia Power just confirmed that.

Read more:

Maine power workers cross border without incident to help in Nova Scotia

The Canadian Press reported Monday evening that the utility company released a statement after Question Period saying there had been confusion over the app, but that there were no issues.

« We now know there were no issues with ArriveCan, » said a Nova Scotia Power spokesperson.

“Our contractor teams have crossed the border and we are grateful to have them as part of our restoration efforts here in Nova Scotia.

This spokesperson suggested the error was the result of ‘confusion’ after concern arose on Friday – before the storm actually hit – that Maine crews might not be able to cross the border because of ArriveCan.

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The ArriveCan app, which tracks vaccination status and symptoms of COVID-19 for people arriving in Canada, has been the subject of fierce debate over the past few months, but is set to expire on September 30.

– with files from The Canadian Press

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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