Canadian PM Harper visits flooded Quebec area for the first time

Posted Jun 6, 2011 by KJ Mullins
Fifty days ago the Richlieu River rose flooding 3,000 homes in Quebec. Today, for the first time Prime Minister Stephen Harper toured the area.
Stephen Harper
Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper
Photo courtesy Conservative Party
It's a 177.9 kilometer trip from to Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec from Ottawa. Last Monday NDP Leader Jack Layton toured the area blasting Harper for not doing enough for the victims in the flood region. At that time he said he would be demanding action for help reported the Montreal Gazette.
"We are going to demand action," Layton said. "His policy is to not help people. He said he's not there to do the cleanup or something to that effect. That is an attitude that does not respect the population."
Harper's visit to the area comes after he took time to visit Slave Lake and Winnipeg. Today after taking a 15 minute aerial tour of the disaster Harper promised that there would be financial aid coming to Quebec to pay for flood mitigation efforts.
For those affected by the flood Harper said employment insurance would be fast tracked. That fast track can't come soon enough for victims who have been forced to use portable toilets and travel kilometers from home just to take a shower.
The Montreal Gazette reports that Dimitri Soudas, a spokesperson for Harper answered questions as to why the Prime Minister had not been in the region since the beginning of the floods:
“What matters is that we, as the federal government, have been working hand in hand with the provincial government since the beginning” of the floods.