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Conservative Leader Doug Ford makes a campaign stop in Ottawa on May 30.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford is defending his decision to not visit Ottawa sooner following a deadly storm that has left thousands of people in the area without power for nine days.

At a morning campaign stop in the city, Ford faced questions about why it took him more than a week to visit the area that was the hardest hit by the destructive May 21 storm that swept across the province.

Ford said he was on the phone daily with the CEO of Hydro Ottawa and local mayors, offering them resources as the region recovers.

Hydro Ottawa says that 8,000 customers are still without power in the national capital region.

Today marked the first time Ford has visited Ontario’s second largest city in months.

The incumbent premier of Ontario said last week he wouldn’t visit Ottawa because he didn’t want to distract crews trying to repair downed power lines.

He visited Uxbridge, Ont., on May 23, a day after that community declared a state of emergency following the same storm.

Eleven people died in the storm across Ontario, with nine being killed by falling trees.

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