Trudeau vows support for Newfoundland during Port aux Basques visit

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with reporters in Port aux Basque, Newfoundland. Blackburn News photo.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has visited the hard-hit area of Port aux Basques, Newfoundland to see first-hand the destruction caused by post-tropical storm Fiona.

“It was important for me to come here to Newfoundland to see the level of devastation but also to be reminded of the strength of Newfoundlanders,” said Trudeau, who met with residents in the province on Wednesday. “What we are seeing even as people have lost so much as the damage is worse than any pictures could do credit.”

Trudeau vowed the federal government stands ready to help everyone get through this crisis and rebuild.

“We know small businesses of all different types are being hit with this which is why [today] we’re going to announce relief on filing deadlines for small businesses dealing with GST and various filing deadlines,” said Trudeau.

However, people in Newfoundland should not expect direct government aid to help them rebuild.

“The way it works in Canada is the provinces are the ones who deliver the supports directly to people because they have the folks on the ground,” explained Trudeau. “The federal government flows as much money as is necessary to the provinces to be able to do that.”

Trudeau also spoke Wednesday about his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Trudeau said he told Zelenskyy he does not believe the referendums that Russia held in Ukraine are legitimate.

“Canada will never recognize the phony referendums that Vladimir Putin put forward in eastern Ukraine,” said Trudeau. “It is an attempt by Putin to redraw the map arbitrarily.”

Trudeau also reiterated Canada’s support for his Ukrainian counterpart.

“We will be strengthening sanctions, we’ll be sending more military aide, more humanitarian aide and we’ll continue to bring the world together in support of Ukraine and pushing back on Vladimir Putin.”