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Justin Trudeau visits Corner Brook, C.B.S. on Monday

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is making a brief visit to Newfoundland and Labrador Monday, with stops in Corner Brook and Conception Bay South.

Prime minister had few details on concerns over Muskrat Falls or loan guarantee

Trudeau visit

7 years ago
Duration 4:18
The sights and sounds of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visiting Corner Brook.

During a brief visit to Newfoundland and Labrador on Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delighted members of the public, but had few details on how Ottawa and the province will work together to address the province's financial crisis, or on the Muskrat Falls megaproject.

Trudeau was in Corner Brook Monday morning, before heading across Newfoundland for stops in St. John's and Conception Bay South.

The atrium of the Arts and Science Building on Memorial University's Grenfell Campus was filled to capacity before Trudeau arrived just after 8:30 a.m., following an early morning meeting with Premier Dwight Ball at Strawberry Hill, just outside Corner Brook.

Dwight Ball and Justin Trudeau had an early morning meeting on Monday, prior to the prime minister's public meet and greet. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

Screams proceeded the prime minister's entrance into the atrium, and selfies followed him out through its back doors during his half-hour "community breakfast" with the public, with a few comments about Newfoundland weather and his delight to be in Corner Brook sandwiched in between.

Muskrat Falls: a concern to Trudeau

Trudeau then spoke briefly of his meeting with the premier, admitting there are "some real challenges," facing the province.

"What we're working on is a broad range of issues, from Muskrat Falls issues, to equalization issues," Trudeau told reporters.

Trudeau did not offer specifics of where his government stands on a larger loan guarantee for Muskrat Falls, a request the province has made to Ottawa in order to help deal with the megaproject's ballooning costs as it continues to fall far behind its original targets.

Most of Trudeau's brief time with the public Corner Brook was spent taking selfies. (Lindsay Bird/CBC)

Premier Ball also declined details on what was accomplished during Monday's meeting, although when asked about how the prime minister feels about Muskrat Falls, Ball said Trudeau is concerned.

"Of course he is," said Ball, who would not provide an update on where the loan guarantee talks stand. Ball added any details on updates involving "infrastructure" would only be released when talks are complete.

"It was a great morning, but we covered a lot of different topics. Some of them related to the financial impacts related to our province, the cost of borrowing for an example, Muskrat Falls, overruns and schedule and so on," said Ball.

Supreme Court

Trudeau was also vague on how the Supreme Court of Canada would continue to have Atlantic Canadian representation in the wake of the recent changes Ottawa has made to the court's appointment process.

The atrium of the Arts and Science Building was filled to capacity - 300 people - all hoping to get in a visit with Justin Trudeau. (Lindsay Bird/CBC)

"I understand the importance of regional representation," he said.

The new process, which will be used for the first time when Nova Scotia Justice Thomas Cromwell retires in September, will mean a nationwide search to fill the position with an independent board reviewing candidates.

While meant to create a more open and transparent process, it also means the end of the long-held tradition of having one spot on the court reserved for an Atlantic Canadian.

"We need to make sure we're folding in all sorts of different aspects to get the best possible people to sit on the Supreme Court," said Trudeau.

"Having the perspective from Atlantic Canada is an extremely important one, and we're looking forward to making sure we make the right choice," he added, without specifying if that "right choice" would be an Atlantic Canadian.

Shahida Shaikh didn't get to ask Trudeau about immigration, but says she was beyond delighted to have met him and gotten a picture. (Lindsay Bird/CBC)

After his short scrum with reporters, Trudeau and his team quickly left Corner Brook to head to the island's east coast.

Around noon, he met with MP Ken McDonald to visit the Newfoundland and Labrador Summer Games Meal Hall in Conception Bay South.

The two also attended a Newfoundland and Labrador Summer Games soccer game before Trudeau headed to New Brunswick.

An earlier visit planned for Corner Brook in April was cancelled due to severe weather conditions.

CBC will have a live blog so you can follow along with the visit. On mobile? Click here to see the live blog.

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