‘Lots of work still to do’

Trudeau, Couil­lard board he­li­copter to wit­ness flood dam­age in Gatineau

Cape Breton Post - - Canada -

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau and Que­bec Premier Philippe Couil­lard urged Cana­di­ans on Thurs­day to dig deep and con­trib­ute to the re­lief ef­fort for flood vic­tims in On­tario and Que­bec.

The two lead­ers took to the skies over Gatineau to sur­vey the dev­as­ta­tion in western Que­bec wrought by re­cent heavy rain­fall and an over­flow­ing Ot­tawa River.

Trudeau asked Cana­di­ans to be gen­er­ous in help­ing their com­pa­tri­ots in need.

“It’s ex­tremely im­por­tant for peo­ple watch­ing on TV, peo­ple hear­ing about the chal­lenges faced by so many com­mu­ni­ties, by so many fam­i­lies, to think about do­nat­ing to the Red Cross,” he said at a joint news con­fer­ence with Couil­lard.

The prime min­is­ter said the re­lief ef­fort is only just be­gin­ning.

“We know there’s a lot of work still to do and all lev­els of gov­ern­ment will con­tinue to work to­gether to take care of our cit­i­zens and to make sure we’re do­ing the right things in the com­ing weeks (and) months of cleanup and hard work,” he said.

There are roughly 2,200 mil­i­tary per­son­nel on the ground help­ing to deal with the floods in On­tario and Que­bec and Trudeau said they will be present for quite some­time.

“As the min­is­ter of de­fence has said, with the mil­i­tary, we ar­rive quickly but we leave slowly,” he added.

Couil­lard ac­knowl­edged frus­tra­tion in his prov­ince with the fi­nan­cial help that’s been made avail­able, say­ing Que­bec is tak­ing another look at the terms and the lim­its of its as­sis­tance pro­gram.

He said $800,000 has al­ready been dis­trib­uted, with more to come from the prov­ince and the Red Cross.

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment has con­trib­uted $1 mil­lion to the Red Cross and has as­sis­tance pro­grams in place to as­sist flood vic­tims.

Trudeau also said that as cli­mate change con­tin­ues to be a se­ri­ous threat, Cana­di­ans need

to be pre­pared to deal more often with se­vere weather disas­ters.

Mean­while, the Que­bec gov­ern­ment again warned of heavy rain in at least one area of the prov­ince that is al­ready strug­gling with high wa­ter lev­els.

The Mauricie re­gion in cen­tral Que­bec could re­ceive up to 59 mil­lime­tres of rain by next Mon­day. Else­where in the prov­ince, wa­ter lev­els were con­tin­u­ing to drop.

More than 4,100 res­i­dences in Que­bec have been af­fected by the floods and more than 3,000 peo­ple have had to leave

their homes.

The floods have claimed at least one life in the prov­ince — a man whose car ended up in a surg­ing river in the eastern Gaspe re­gion. Au­thor­i­ties were search­ing again to­day for a two-year-old girl who disappeared in the same in­ci­dent.

Be­sides the Cana­dian Forces per­son­nel, a naval frigate was sched­uled to ar­rive in Mon­treal on Thurs­day.

The ves­sel will serve as a com­mand-and-con­trol cen­tre in the area, one of­fi­cial said, while crew mem­bers will pro­vide as­sis­tance in Mon­treal and Trois-Rivieres.

CP PHOTO

Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau and Lib­eral MP Steve MacKin­non (left) lis­ten to Que­bec Premier Philippe Couil­lard speak to the me­dia af­ter tour­ing an area af­fected by flood­ing in Gatineau, Que., Thurs­day.

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