With election call imminent, Canada's Trudeau visits storm-hit region

FILE PHOTO: Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks about a watchdog's report that he breached ethics rules by trying to influence a corporate legal case, at the Niagara-on-the Lake Community Centre in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada, August 14, 2019. REUTERS/Andrej Ivanov/File Photo

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took a break from election planning on Tuesday to visit the Atlantic province of Nova Scotia, where 100,000 people are still without power after Storm Dorian hit on Saturday.

Trudeau, who has been absent from the public eye in recent days, must by law officially launch the campaign for the Oct. 21 election by this Sunday at the latest.

Dorian, classified as a strong post-tropical storm, came ashore after causing devastation in the Bahamas and knocked out the electricity supply to almost 400,000 of the province’s one million inhabitants.

“I was obviously following (this) very closely ... I am here today to thank the first responders and all the people who have been working very very hard,” Trudeau told reporters in televised remarks ahead of a briefing in Halifax.

Polls show Trudeau’s Liberals are only just ahead of the official opposition Conservatives and could lose their majority in the House of Commons, leaving him in a weakened position.

The Liberals won all 32 of the Parliamentary seats in the four Atlantic provinces in the 2015 federal election that brought Trudeau to power but party insiders predict they will lose between eight and 10 of these next month.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Alistair Bell