POLITICS

Brussels Attacks 'Deplorable,' Canada Stands With Belgium And EU: Trudeau

03/22/2016 09:35 EDT | Updated 03/23/2017 05:12 EDT

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned Tuesday's attacks in Brussels, as his cabinet ministers said they saw no imminent threats to Canadians on their soil.

"I was outraged when I woke up to the news that so many innocent citizens had been killed and injured — shocked and profoundly saddened," Trudeau said after a cabinet meeting on Parliament Hill.

"This cannot and will not be tolerated."

Trudeau, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Foreign Minister Stephane Dion pledged solidarity with Belgium, the European Union and victims of the bombings.

Dion called it a "black Tuesday" for Belgium, as support reverberated across Canada with the premiers of Alberta and Saskatchewan expressing their support.

"Hearing the screams of children in the smoke of the Brussels Metro only strengthens our resolve to combat terrorism in all its forms, and increases our solidarity with the people of Belgium and the whole of Europe," Dion said.

Goodale said the national threat level will not be changed from medium, where it's been since October 2014, when two Canadian soldiers were killed in separate attacks at the National War Memorial in Ottawa and in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.

"There is no information available to RCMP or CSIS that would lead us to any change in threat levels," he said.

Canadian embassy monitoring

Nevertheless, security on Parliament Hill appeared to be heavier than usual.

A visiting European politician called for a moment of silence on Parliament Hill at the start of a news conference.

"Today is not really a happy day for the European Union and I think for many people worldwide," said German Social Democrat Bernd Lange, chair of the European Parliament's trade committee.

Lange was leading a delegation to Ottawa to study the effects of the massive Canada-EU free-trade deal, which is expected to come into effect early next year.

Artis Pabriks, the EU's rapporteur on the deal, said while good intelligence and co-operation between allies are essential for preventing terrorist attacks, Europe, Canada and the United States need to do more on that front.

"Violence and naked power should not be, and will not be the thing which will determine how we will live," said Pabriks, Latvia's former defence minister.

"So we have to stand up to this — and we have to stand up together."

Goodale also reminded Canadians to be vigilant.

bruxelles In this image made from video, emergency rescue workers stretcher an unidentified person at the site of an explosion at a metro station in Brussels, Belgium, March 22, 2016. (Photo: APTN via AP)

"Be aware of your circumstances and your surroundings. If you notice anything that you consider to be unusual or out of the ordinary then you should report that circumstance immediately to your local police," he said.

Dion said he has "no reports of any Canadian citizens being affected by the incidents."

Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose said the attacks reinforce "our resolve as Canadians to stand up to this scourge."

Belgian officials said the casualty toll from three explosions in the capital was 31 dead and 187 injured.

Belgian Health Minister Maggie de Block said 11 people were dead and 81 injured in twin explosions at the Brussels airport. The Brussels mayor said at least 20 people died and 106 were injured in the attack on the Maelbeek subway station, which is close to the European Union headquarters.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks in Brussels, saying its extremists opened fire in the airport and "several of them" detonated suicide belts.

In an advisory posted on its website early Tuesday, Global Affairs said while there was no nationwide advisory in effect for Belgium, Canadians should exercise a "high degree of caution due to the current elevated threat of terrorism."

Air Canada also warned that flights to the Belgian city may be cancelled and security was beefed up at one of Toronto's main transportation hubs. At least one Twitter post indicated the cancellation of a Canadian school trip to the European capital.

terror brussels The military police carries extra patrols at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, on March 22, 2016. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

More than 200 flights to Brussels were diverted or cancelled, according to flight tracking service Flightradar24.

Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said the airline's staff and crew in Brussels were safe and sound and that one flight had been diverted to Paris.

In Toronto, security and police presence was beefed up at Union Station, according to Metrolinx spokeswoman Anne Marie Aikins.

"We do take special precautions with Union Station because it is our largest transportation hub in the country," she said.

"When things like this happen around the world, we take extra vigilant precautions."

The Paris airport authority said security was tightened at all local airports soon after the Brussels explosions on Tuesday morning. Airports in London, Prague, Amsterdam, Vienna, and many others, also saw increased security.

The explosions came just days after the main suspect in the deadly Nov. 13 Paris attacks was arrested Friday in Brussels.

After his arrest, 26-year-old Salah Abdeslam told authorities he had created a new network and was planning new attacks.

Belgium has raised its terror alert to its highest level, diverting arriving planes and trains and ordering people to stay where they were.

— With files from The Associated Press

Also on HuffPost

Brussels Attack