Apr 7, 2020
Justin Trudeau Canada Coronavirus Briefing Transcript April 7
Justin Trudeau held a coronavirus briefing for Canada on April 7. It included a funny moment where Trudeau used the phrase “speaking moistly” to describe what happens when you talk and don’t wear a mask, then he immediately regretted saying it. Read the full transcript here.
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Justin Trudeau: (00:00)
[foreign language 00:00: 00] Over the past few weeks, almost 5,000 Canadian companies have stepped forward to help fight Covid 19. On behalf of all Canadians, thank you for stepping up. As countries around the world grapple with this pandemic, the demand for critical supplies like test kits, ventilators, and personal protective equipment is going up. To keep our frontline workers safe and care for Canadians with Covid 19, we need a sustainable, stable supply of these products, and that means making them at home. With our plan to mobilize industry, we’re helping companies retool, repurpose, and innovate to fight Covid 19. We’ve already signed letters of intent with a number of partners to produce the things we need. And today we have more good news to share.
Justin Trudeau: (01:34)
We’re working with Thornhill Medical, CAE ventilators for Canadians and a group led by Starfish Medical to produce up to 30,000 made in Canada ventilators. These purchases will help increase our capacity to make sure these lifesaving machines are made right here at home. We’re also working with Nobel prize winning researcher, Doctor Art McDonald, who is leading a team of scientists to develop ventilators that are easy to make. And to produce medical gowns and establish new supply chains right here in Canada, we’re teaming up with over 20 companies including Arc’teryx, Canada Goose and Stanfield’s. One thing that is particularly inspiring to see is just how many companies are not just producing these goods, but innovating. For example, Auto Live is looking to make medical gowns out of material they’d normally use to produce airbags.
Justin Trudeau: (02:31)
[ foreign language 00: 02:30] Our government is working around the clock to ensure that our frontline workers have everything they need to save lives and stay safe. While we’re working to secure critical equipment from Canadian sources, we’re also in touch with other suppliers around the world who want to sell to Canada. We’re expecting 500,000 masks from 3M tomorrow and we’re working as fast as we can to get them to our frontline workers.
Justin Trudeau: (04:05)
From the outset, our priority has been the health and safety of all Canadians. So whether you’re making medical gowns, delivering ventilators, or treating a patient with Covid 19, we have your back. We’re going to be there for you. We also have a three point economic plan. It supports business owners including through new loans while safeguarding jobs with the wage subsidy and helping those who no longer have a paycheck with the CERB.
Justin Trudeau: (04:34)
Yesterday evening, our government proactively shared our proposed legislation on wage subsidy with opposition parties. I know house leaders will be speaking throughout the day to reach an agreement for the house of commons to quickly pass this legislation which will give much needed financial support to Canadian workers while helping employers to keep their staff on the payroll. A lot of work has been done since we announced our plan to subsidize wages. We continue to rely on your input and feedback as we refine it and we’ll have more details to share very soon.
Justin Trudeau: (05:10)
Yesterday was also the first day people could apply to receive the CERB. On that note, I want to recognize the tremendous work done by the public service who processed hundreds of thousands of claims. They’re working around the clock to get Canadians the help they need as quickly as possible. And I also want to remind everyone that if you were born in April, May, or June, today’s the day you can apply.
Justin Trudeau: (05:36)
Finally, as some of you will know, today marks world health day and national caregiver day. This year, I’m especially grateful for our healthcare professionals and caregivers who are working day and night to keep us safe and to care for our most vulnerable. As Canada confronts this pandemic, many have pointed to our healthcare system as a major asset. Ours is a country where health is a right rather than a privilege. And that’s something of which we can all be proud.
Justin Trudeau: (06:09)
But our healthcare system is only as strong as the people it employs. Whether you’re a doctor or a nurse, someone who keeps our hospital clean, or a home care worker, thank you for taking such good care of us. Thank you for everything you’ve done over the years to help so many of us start a family overcome an illness and enjoy longer, healthier lives.
Justin Trudeau: (06:33)
We do not need a pandemic or a special day to recognize your essential contributions to this country, but I hope all Canadians will join me in expressing our deepest gratitude. I hope Canadians honk a little out louder when your shift ends today and add another rainbow to their window.
Justin Trudeau: (06:52)
[foreign language 00:06: 52]
Speaker 1: (07:05)
[foreign language 00:07:00].
Speaker 2: (07:09)
[foreign language 00:07:08]. Thank you. The first question is from Peter [Manzeru 00:07:14] from the Hill Times. Your line is now open, [foreign language 00:07:17].
Good morning, Prime Minister. I want to go back quickly to ask you about your decision on March 16th to close the border to foreign nationals. The health minister had been saying for more than a month, by that point, that there was no benefit really to doing that. It wouldn’t keep the Canadians safe. You explained your decision at the time by saying that the advice you’d been receiving from public health officials had been evolving. Can you tell us a little bit more about how exactly that advice changed?
Justin Trudeau: (07:51)
I appreciate that your question is taking us back to March 16th, but I’m focused on today and I’m focused on tomorrow. There’ve been a lot of reflections on what was done in the past and we will certainly keep reflecting on that, but everything I’m focused on right now is how to make sure that people are getting the help they need right now, how to keep Canadians safe, how to get through this particular time. And that’s what I’ll stay focused on.
Speaker 1: (08:20)
Follow up question?
Yeah, sure. We’re just looking for some clarity on how exactly the public health advice has been changing. How the information coming from these officials has been changing and where they’re getting it from.
Justin Trudeau: (08:37)
This is a never before experienced pandemic that is presenting new challenges every single day, new facts, new data, every single day and throughout, we’re making decisions based on the best advice that those health officials are giving us. Obviously, this advice is best based on modeling, on facts, on what’s happening in other countries, what predictions can be made around-
Justin Trudeau: (09:03)
[inaudible 00:09:00] in other countries, what predictions can be made around what might help, what could make a difference, and as that evolves, as the information evolves, of course we’re going to keep adjusting and updating our approach. We’ve done that from the beginning, and we will continue to do so.
Speaker 4: (09:21)
Thank you, [foreign language 00:09:22]. The next question is from Christopher Nardi from the National Post. The line is now open. [foreign language 00:09:28]
Christopher Nardi: (09:29)
Good morning, Mr. Prime Minister. I want toe come back quickly, you mentioned earlier that a group of companies are going to be teaming up to produce 30,000 made in Canada ventilators. Does that mean that you expect that we’re going to need to use, at the very least, 30,000 ventilators throughout this pandemic?
Justin Trudeau: (09:47)
What we’ve said from the very beginning is we need to be ready for any circumstances and every circumstances. The opportunity to make sure that we have ventilators available if we need them is going to be extremely important. We have told these companies across the company who have put up their hands to go ahead and get building ventilators, as quickly as possible, and as many as possible, in case we need them in Canada.
Justin Trudeau: (10:13)
We certainly hope that we won’t be needing all those ventilators, but we also know that there are countries around the world where they are not able to tool up local production to create more ventilators. They are going to be reliant on a global supply that’s already stretched thin. If we end up making more ventilators that Canada needs, because Canadians continued to stay social distancing, continued to follow best health advice, that’ll be great news, and we will have ventilators to share with other countries that are facing more difficult circumstances. For us, doing more right now, doing quicker right now is really the only option.
Justin Trudeau: (10:54)
[foreign language 00:10:54]-
Christopher Nardi: (10:54)
How quickly do you … Sorry.
Christopher Nardi: (11:42)
As a follow up, I wanted to talk about your wage subsidy. You mentioned that yesterday you passed a bill to the opposition for consultation. Does that mean that a bill and Parliament needs to be reconvened in order for that program to actually go forward?
Justin Trudeau: (12:00)
Much of the wage subsidy is going to be embedded within the income tax act, so that does require us to move forward on Parliamentary legislation. That’s what we’re talking about right now with Parliamentarians.
Speaker 4: (12:18)
Thank you. The next question is from Kristy Kirkup from The Globe and Mail. The line is now open. [foreign language 00:12:24]
Kristy Kirkup: (12:27)
Good morning, Prime Minister. Has the United States granted a full exemption for its import restrictions, or is the situation with the company 3M a one-off?
Justin Trudeau: (12:38)
We continue to work with Americans. As I’ve said, we’ve had constructive and productive conversations that have assured that this particular shipment comes through, but we recognize there is still more work to do. We’re going to continue to highlight to the American administration the point at which healthcare supplies and services go back and forth across that border. It is in both of our interests to ensure that we continue working together with integrated supply chains that move back and forth to ensure that we can continue to protect Canadian healthcare workers while they continue to do the things they need to do to keep Americans safe.
Kristy Kirkup: (13:18)
On another matter, what is the federal government prepared to do if COVID-19 ends up spreading like wildfire in communities like Eabametoong First Nation, also known as Fort Hope, in northwestern Ontario, given its housing crisis, and it’s been on a boiled water advisory for more than 6800 days?
Justin Trudeau: (14:15)
From the very beginning, we have been concerned about the potential impact of COVID-19 on rural, remote, indigenous communities that could be extremely vulnerable because of preexisting challenges around housing and healthcare, but also vulnerabilities within the population of elders and people with respiratory challenges. That’s why, from the start, we’ve worked with the AFN and with communities across the country to ensure that we’re sending more money, more community resources to those areas. We will continue to respond in every way we possibly can to help those communities that are beginning to deal with COVID-19. We recognize that there are particular vulnerabilities that we need to work very carefully with, and we continue to do so.
Speaker 4: (15:43)
[foreign language 00:15:43] Thank you. The next question is from [Manon Cornellier 00:15:47] from Le Devoir. Your line is now open. [foreign language 00:15:52]
Janet Silver: (17:48)
Prime Minister, Janet Silver, Global News.
Janet Silver: (18:01)
Prime Minister, Janet Silver, Global News. Yesterday, Dr. Tam said one should wear a non-medical mask if physical distancing was not possible, but there’s still a lot of confusion about when and where one should wear a mask. Maybe you could clarify for Canadians regarding non-medical masks, whether a person is presymptomatic or asymptomatic, should they wear a non-surgical mask when they go outside, even if they think they can physical distance?
Justin Trudeau: (18:27)
I think those are exactly the kinds of questions that people should be taking the advice of medical experts from. I am not a medical expert. What I have heard from medical experts is that the most important thing is for people to stay home. If they do have to go out, they need to keep two meters apart and look to go out as minimally as possible. We need to wash our hands regularly. We need to cough into our elbows. These are the things that we know will slow and arrest the spread of this disease through this country. My understanding of what Dr. Tam explained yesterday is that if people want to wear a mask, that is okay. It protects others more than it protects you because it prevents you from breathing or speaking moistly on them. What a terrible image. But it actually is something that people can do in certain situations. Our focus though is making sure that people don’t think that wearing masks can mean that they don’t have to social distance as much or can go out more often. The advice remains, stay home and keep two meters apart.
Janet Silver: (19:49)
And also when your government saw the spread of covid-19 in China and Asia back in January, did your government start procuring extra medical supplies then? Because it seems that Canada was not prepared and did not secure enough PPEs for our hospital workers.
Justin Trudeau: (20:05)
I think we’re seeing right now that the entire world was unprepared to have as much PPE as needed. Some places are facing far greater shortages than Canada. We have worked extremely hard to step up, both in our procurement of PPEs, but mostly on increasing the Canadian production of personal protective equipment and materials like ventilators and testing kits. We recognize that this is something that we’re incredibly lucky, that Canadian companies are stepping up and in the coming weeks we will have a secure supply for many of those products from here in Canada. In the meantime, we continue to work to bring in the equipment that is going to be necessary to keep our healthcare workers protected and our frontline workers protected across the country.
Speaker 5: (21:01)
[ foreign language 00:02:52].
Justin Trudeau: (21:04)
[foreign language 00:03:10] We recognize that 30,000 ventilators is a large number of ventilators and we certainly hope that we do not get anywhere near that number, but we find it much better to be prepared and to create these pieces of equipment that are going to be necessary in Canada and certainly elsewhere around the world. We foresee those ventilators, there’s a number of different suppliers coming in a matter of weeks, some in a matter of months. But we know that creating these is going to be extremely important to be able to handle the future pass of this epidemic.
Speaker 5: (22:19)
[foreign language 00:04: 20]
Justin Trudeau: (23:13)
[foreign language 00:04:40] We are happy to be receiving donations and shipments from many companies in Canada and around the world. We need to make sure that that equipment is to Canadian standards and we will make sure that it gets to the healthcare and frontline workers who need it. That is our priority right now. But receiving goods from a particular company won’t necessarily imply at all that we regard different situations with that company any different down the future.
Hi, prime minister, it’s Annie Bergeron-Oliver with CTV National News. There are a lot of people who are sitting at home right now who are dealing with depression, anxiety and distress. Whether it’s because they can’t figure out how to pay their upcoming bills, they’re dealing with covid-19 on their own or they’ve lost a loved one to the virus and can’t have a funeral or a celebration of life. Why hasn’t your government done more in terms of mental health support and what specifically will you be doing for those people?
Justin Trudeau: (24:16)
First of all, we know that the priority has been to get help out to as many people as possible and with the various measures we put forward from the wage subsidy to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. I know that has gone a long way towards alleviating some of the stress people are facing. But people are facing really difficult times at the same time. Whether it’s kids who are stuck alone and not able to play with their friends, or whether it’s seniors who are worried about their own vulnerability or just Canadians who are really worried about their situation and their future and are feeling alone and are feeling really challenged. We need to be there for each other.
Justin Trudeau: (24:57)
That’s why as I said a few weeks ago, reach out if you need help. There are support lines, there are measures in place to give us positive reinforcement and support, but each of us individually can also look out for our neighbors, look out for our loved ones, have more conversations, try to create a supportive system where we’re there for each other, where we’re going to get through this together. It is a difficult situation, particularly difficult on a number of people. We need to make sure that we’re caring for each other and of course we have done things and we will continue to do more to make sure we’re supporting Canadians through this difficult time as everyone does the things necessary to support our healthcare workers, to keep them safe and to minimize the impact of this disease.
And a growing number of police forces and bylaw officers right across the country are now starting to lay fines and charges to people who are not obeying physical distancing measures. Do you support fining individuals who are not following social distancing measures and with a number of people now being issued these tickets, does that indicate to you that many people still are not taking this pandemic seriously?
Justin Trudeau: (26:13)
We know that one of the best ways to ensure that this pandemic is as short as possible is as unserious or as non-consequential as possible, that the fewest number of Canadians die, that our healthcare systems don’t get overwhelmed, we need to stay at home. We need to engage in social distancing. That has been the message for weeks now and it will continue to be the message for the coming weeks. We need to make sure that everyone is doing their part. Recognize that lots of police forces and municipal governments and provincial governments are looking at ways of ensuring that people understand how serious it is. And we of course expect people to use good judgment-
Justin Trudeau: (27:03)
And we of course expect people to use good judgment both on behalf of citizens, trying to make sure that their social distancing and not going out if they don’t have to, but also on enforcement officers in terms of applying fines. We’re all in this together. We need to get through this together. We need to be there for each other, but we need to make sure everyone’s doing their part as well.
Female 1: (27:21)
So is that a yes or no that you’d use [crosstalk 00:27:22]?
Justin Trudeau: (28:27)
Okay. [French 00:00: 25].
Tom Parry: (28:30)
Prime minister, Tom Parry from CBC News. I’d like to ask you about testing for the virus. What’s holding up Health Canada from approving a serologic antibody testing? Apparently kits made in Canada are being used in the United States, and I guess more widely, what’s keeping Canada from adopting a policy of rapid, wide-scale testing to try to get this under control?
Justin Trudeau: (28:52)
As I’ve said over the past many weeks, rapid wide-scale testing is an essential part of controlling the spread of this virus. Canada is doing very well compared to many, many countries around the world in terms of the amount of tests that we’re doing, but we know we can and we should be doing even better. That’s why nationally, every day we’re testing more people than the day before, and we’re going to continue to ensure that provinces across the country are able to do those tests necessary.
Justin Trudeau: (29:21)
The serological tests are also something that is being looked at very, very carefully, tests for antibodies to see who has had coronavirus or not, but we still in the early days of reflecting, not just on the medical implications but on the societal implications of those tests as well. But we are continuing to pursue every avenue as a way of getting us through this, keeping the numbers of Canadians severely infected to the lowest possible level, and of course to bringing our economy back strongly as soon as possible so we can keep doing the things that we love to do as Canadians. [French 00:30:00]
Tom Parry: (30:56)
And a week ago, your government asks correctional officials to consider early release for some federal inmates to reduce the risk of COVID-19. Just like to know what’s happened since then. And Correctional Service of Canada says they’re still studying this issue, but there’s already cases of COVID-19 inside federal institutions. So what’s taking so long to act?
Justin Trudeau: (31:14)
We’ve taken measures already at Corrections Canada to ensure that they were keeping inmates and corrections officers more safe from COVID-19 but we’re still looking at other steps, and I’m sure Minister Blair will be able to have further updates on that in the coming days.