Members of Parliament will hold an emergency debate in the House of Commons on Monday night, giving MPs the opportunity to discuss “the urgent and growing situation in Atlantic Canada” following the deadly and destructive post-tropical storm. Fiona.
That was how NDP MP and emergency preparedness critic Richard Cannings characterized the debate issue, making his request to House of Commons Speaker Anthony Rota.
“Fiona was the strongest storm to ever make landfall in Canada, with several lives lost, many homes washed out to sea, bridges and airports and other infrastructure damaged, docks destroyed… This is the first opportunity this House will have to discuss the federal response … to the storm. And we need to hear how the government plans to help Atlantic Canada in this unprecedented situation,” Cannings said.
Cumberland-Colchester, NS MP Stephen Ellis also made a request for the debate, which will begin after the day’s regularly scheduled work concludes, around 6:30 pm ET.
“Canadians in general also want a clear understanding of the speed, scope and process it will take to get much-needed support. We will get through this, of course … but without a robust debate here in this House. House people of Commons will not know exactly what will happen in the next steps,” Ellis said.
Whether Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other party leaders will be involved remains to be seen, but speaking to reporters earlier in the day, Trudeau confirmed plans to visit Fiona-affected Atlantic Canadian regions “as soon as possible this week.”
Although he indicated his desire not to interfere with any of the emergency response efforts on the ground, Trudeau said he wants everyone in eastern Canada “to know that we are here to help them.”
“The one thing that has been consistent in my calls to prime ministers, mayors and parliamentarians is that Canadians are stepping up and helping their communities get through this difficult time,” Trudeau said during a federal update on efforts. response to the storm on Monday.
‘LIVES HAVE BEEN ALTERED’: POILIEVRE
Atlantic Canada was lashed by the post-tropical storm on Saturday, causing extensive destruction, downed trees and widespread power outages as a result of high winds and coastal flooding.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, where the body of a 73-year-old woman was recovered Sunday afternoon after homes in Port aux Basques were washed into the sea, the Minister for Rural Economic Development said Monday that 76 homes have been destroyed or structurally damaged.
“It will be a long time before this area recovers,” he said, calling what he has seen firsthand “heartbreaking” as he implored those who were evacuated not to try to return to their properties to retrieve personal items. items until local authorities say it is safe.
On Prince Edward Island, major tourist spots appear to have experienced significant flooding and erosion, and one person has died, and preliminary investigation suggests generator problems may have played a role.
As is the case across the region, hundreds of thousands of residents in Nova Scotia are still without power, and on Monday afternoon the RCMP said a missing 81-year-old Lower Prospect, NS resident is believed to have been washed out to sea during storm.
Across the Atlantic, Canadians will be left repairing extensive property damage for some time, including in parts of New Brunswick and in Quebec’s Magdalena Islands.
“The storm has passed, but thousands of homes continue to experience power outages, and the scale of the damage means that people are still facing a difficult time,” Trudeau said, adding that Canadians’ thoughts are with the families of the victims. confirmed deaths. , as well as those who have lost their homes or businesses.
As the question period began, Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre called on the government to come up with an “action plan” and provide more details on how opposition MPs can help join federal response efforts, “so that help be a success.”
“I would like to express our full solidarity on behalf of Official Opposition to all the families in Atlantic and Eastern Quebec whose lives have been upended by Fiona,” Poilievre said. “What will the government do to speed up our response, to help those who feed us all get back on their feet?” he continued her, asking about Fiona’s impact on farmers and fishermen.
Questions were also raised about whether problems with the soon-to-be-optional ArriveCan app caused delays for US crews coming to help, which the government denied, saying “there were no delays.”
THE ULTIMATE IN AID, MILITARY DEPLOYMENT
Hundreds of members of the Canadian Armed Forces have deployed to Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador to clear debris and help restore power, communications and power to the Atlantic provinces.
Joint Task Force Atlantic Fifth Canadian Division, Canadian Rangers, local reserve units, Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft and crew, and Royal Canadian Navy ships, small boats and crew in the region are on standby and helping where needed,” said the Defense Minister. Anita Anand during Monday’s update. “I want to assure you that the Canadian Armed Forces are rising to the challenge and helping wherever they are needed.”
Naval ships and aircraft are also in “high readiness” to help further if needed, and in certain regions, aerial imaging and damage mapping are also being taken, as are welfare checks.
Offering assistance immediately after the weekend, the federal government is committed to providing disaster funds where needed, and over the coming weeks will match any Fiona relief donations made to the Red Cross, which is on the ground helping with temporary housing. . , clothing, food and essential supply needs.
“I know Canadians are looking at it with dismay, whether it’s the images they’ve seen or, like so many Canadians, having friends and family in Atlantic Canada that we care about. It’s an opportunity to step up and give what we want. can to support people on the ground,” Trudeau said of the matching gift program.