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Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball in his office at the Confederation Building in St. John's on Feb. 18, 2020.

The Canadian Press

The premier of Newfoundland and Labrador says he’s furious with U.S. President Donald Trump for suggesting the country could ban exports of medical supplies to Canada.

Dwight Ball told a news conference today that the province gained international acclaim for the way its residents helped thousands of stranded airline passengers after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States in 2001.

Ball says that when the United States was in crisis, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians “acted fast and did what was necessary.”

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The premier said even though he was “infuriated” with Trump’s actions, he insisted that the people of the province wouldn’t hesitate to repeat what they did during 9/11.

Former Gander, N.L., Mayor Claude Elliott agreed with his premier.

“I understand the United States is going through a very dramatic time, especially in New York and they need a lot of supplies, but we’re fighting an enemy that is just not one state, it’s the whole world,” said Elliott on Sunday. “And when we come to those times of tragedy in our life, we need everybody helping each other.”

Elliott has been self-isolating at home and says that when he does go out for groceries or other necessities the streets of Gander are quieter than usual, with people carefully adhering to physical distancing guidelines.

On Friday, American manufacturer 3M – one of the largest producers of N95 medical-grade face masks – said it had been told by the White House to stop exporting the equipment to markets in Canada and Latin America – a charge the White House has denied.

The White House later issued a statement that suggested its order was aimed at “wartime profiteers” who could divert protective equipment away from hospitals to foreign purchasers willing to pay significant premiums.

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Media reports suggest Trump had singled out 3M after a Fox News report accused the Minnesota-based company’s American distributors of selling its masks to “foreign buyers” that were outbidding U.S. customers.

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