Politics

Scheer suspending campaign activities in Atlantic Canada amid hurricane warnings

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer announced he'd be putting Atlantic campaign efforts on hiatus while the East Coast braces for Hurricane Dorian to make landfall. 

Category 2 Hurricane Dorian is barrelling toward the region with winds of 140 km/h

Andrew Scheer takes questions from the media at the official ceremony for the National Acadian Day and World Acadian Congress in Dieppe, N.B., Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. (Marc Grandmaison/Canadian Press)

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer announced he'd be putting Atlantic campaign efforts on hiatus for the weekend while the East Coast braces for Hurricane Dorian to make landfall. 

The Category 2 storm is barrelling toward the region with winds of 140 km/h and gusts of up to 165 km/h. As of early Saturday morning, the system was about 650 kilometres southwest of Halifax, moving northeast at 41 km/h — the fastest it has travelled since it formed.

In a tweet posted Friday night, Scheer encouraged residents of Atlantic Canada to take the proper precautions to stay safe and urged the other federal parties to stop election activities in the region as well.

Scheer's office said they're planning to resume campaigning on Monday, but they're closely monitoring the storm.

In a statement, the Liberals said they were focused on supporting the East Coast residents. 

"Our MPs and candidates are active in their community and supporting where they can. No formal campaign activities are being held in the affected region this weekend. Our thoughts are with the resilient people of Atlantic Canada and their families at this difficult time," spokesperson Braeden Caley wrote.

CBC News has reached out to the other parties for comment. 

Storm surges, heavy winds expected

Most of Atlantic Canada is under a combination of weather warnings, including hurricane, tropical storm and rainfall warnings for much of Nova Scotia, rainfall warnings for New Brunswick, rainfall, wind, storm surge and tropical storm warnings for P.E.I. and hurricane, tropical storm and wind warnings for Newfoundland and Labrador.

Environment Canada is warning of flooding along the coast due to storm surges and pounding surf.

The agency is cautioning the winds will topple trees, damage roofing and cladding on buildings, and lead to extended power outages. 

Scheer has been spending a lot of time in Atlantic Canada as the campaign kickoff nears. The Liberals swept all 32 seats in the region in 2015 and the Conservatives are looking to win back some of their lost ridings. In 2011, the Tories held 14 ridings on the East Coast.

The CBC's Poll Tracker shows the two parties have been trading leads in those provinces since the SNC-Lavalin scandal broke in February. 

Each of the federal party leaders have visited Atlantic Canada over the summer — though the NDP's Jagmeet Singh has not been to New Brunswick. 

With files from CBC Nova Scotia

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