Apr 9, 2020
Justin Trudeau Canada Coronavirus Briefing Transcript April 9
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada held a press briefing on coronavirus today, April 9. He said “this will be the new normal” until a coronavirus vaccine is developed. Read the full transcript here.
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Justin Trudeau: (01:38)
I want to start off today by talking about the job report we just received for March. As stark as those numbers are, they aren’t a surprise for a lot of Canadians. Each one represents a different story. A worker who’s been laid off, a family that’s having to hunker down, a community that’s anxious about today and tomorrow. We’ve all seen the impact of COVID-19. We all knew this was going to be a tough time, and that countries around the world are in a similar situation. But that’s no comfort if you’re out of a job, if you’re having difficulty making ends meet. You need real support. So we’re doing our best to help you bridge to better times. On Monday we launched the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. More than four and a half million claims have been processed, which means people are already receiving their $2,000 for this month.
Justin Trudeau: (04:24)
We’re also working on legislation to bring in a wage subsidy to help employers keep people on the payroll while working on new loans for business owners. We will keep expanding our three point economic plan to protect jobs, support business owners, and get everyone the help they need. Things will get better, and once they do, you can be sure that our country will come roaring back.
Justin Trudeau: (04:52)
As a country, we’ve gotten through tough times before. We stood together, united and strong. On Vimy Ridge, more than 100 years ago today, thousands of Canadians gave their lives so that our country would know peace.
Justin Trudeau: (05:13)
[foreign language 00:05:16]. As historians have noted, reflecting on Vimy, it was a moment ordinary people did extraordinary things. Fathers and sons, brothers and friends, their sacrifice and courage defined what it is and what it meant to be a Canadian. And their legacy lives on in the women and men who continue to step up and serve us in uniform, in our nurses and doctors who put themselves in harm’s way for us all to stay healthy, and in everyone who steps up and asks what they can do for their fellow Canadians. That’s what makes Canada strong. And that will be our path forward. No matter what tomorrow may bring.
Justin Trudeau: (06:33)
Right now, the future can seem even more uncertain than normal. If you’ve lost your job, if you’re worried about an elderly parent, you probably want to know what to expect. Earlier today we released our modeling on how we think this pandemic might unfold. The modeling shows that COVID-19 arrived in Canada later than in other countries, so we’re in an earlier stage of the outbreak. That means we have the chance to determine what our country looks like in the weeks and months to come. Our healthcare systems across the country are coping for the time being.
Justin Trudeau: (07:14)
But we’re at a fork in the road between the best and the worst possible outcomes. The best possible outcome is no easy path for any of us. The initial peak, the top of the curve may be in late spring with the end of the first wave in the summer. As Dr. Tam explained, there will likely be smaller outbreaks for a number of months after that. This will be the new normal until a vaccine is developed.
Justin Trudeau: (07:45)
But, as we saw, that is so much better than we could face, all of us, if we do not rise to the challenge of this generation. The path we take is up to us. It depends on what each of us does right now. It will take months of continued determined effort. We’ll need to keep practicing physical distancing, staying home and washing our hands. It will help. It will help get the numbers that Dr. Tam was talking about, between 4,000 and 44,000 deaths, as low as possible.
Justin Trudeau: (10:19)
[foreign language 00: 08:30]
Justin Trudeau: (10:22)
I know it’s tough to stay home, especially as the weather gets nicer. If you have kids, it’s even tougher. But to get them back outside and running around the playground and park as soon as possible, you need to keep them inside for a little longer. This will work. And we’ll be with you every step of the way.
Justin Trudeau: (10:44)
Just this week, we received millions more masks to keep our frontline workers safe, and we have contracts to get more ventilators. We are helping industry mobilize, like the entrepreneur from Vars, Ontario, who’s creating reusable visors for hospitals across the province. And we’ve…
Justin Trudeau: (11:03)
… continued to support Canadian researchers working on a vaccine. We’re pulling out all the stops to beat this virus and help you get through this time. [French 00:11:15]
Justin Trudeau: (11:14)
Over 100 years ago today, Canadians showed what mettle we are made of. I know each of us will rise to be worthy of the legacy of the heroes that built this country. We can do this together. [French 00:12:54]
Speaker 3: (12:54)
[French 00:12:54] Thank you. [French 00:12:55]
Justin Trudeau: (14:09)
Okay. We recognize that what we are doing today is making a difference, and we are hopeful that we’re going to be able to get through this in the shortest amount of time. But no matter how long it takes, we will be there to support Canadians in order to get through this. We know though that in order for it to last as short as it can, and to harm as few Canadians as possible, we need to keep doing what we are doing. That is what leads us to the best scenario.
Justin Trudeau: (14:47)
And once we’re through this first wave, as we look to the resurgences that will happen over the coming months until we discover a vaccine, now we will be much better equipped both with aggressive testing strategies that we’re developing right now, with aggressive contact tracing, and with Canadians who know what to do when they have to, to socially distance, to stay home where and when necessary in the coming months.
Speaker 3: (16:50)
Thank you. [French 00:16:51] Next question, Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press. Line open.
Mia Rabson: (16:58)
Good morning. I’m just wondering, given the new projections today, do you think that we’re going to have to have stronger measures necessary to keep people at home? Do you think people are listening? And what are those measures that you think we might need to add?
Justin Trudeau: (17:13)
We have seen that the measures that have been taking have been taken seriously by Canadians right across the country. People are staying home, people are choosing to go out only for necessities. They are working from home as much as possible, and these are the measures we know are going to keep us on the right path. Are there things we can do to strengthen and improve? Sure, and we’ll keep looking at those, but the big things that we’re going to be able to improve in the coming weeks is stronger and more sophisticated and aggressive testing protocols, because every day we get better at that, and continuing to develop tools for better contact tracing. We know that those things on top of the social distancing that we’re doing right now have the best impact on keeping this curve as a short and as low as possible.
Speaker 2: (18:13)
Mia Rabson: (18:14)
I’m also wondering, if there are going to be multiple waves of this, if we aren’t going to be able to get out of this until we find a vaccine, which we’re told is 12 to 18 months away at best, do you envision that we’re going to have multiple waves of shutdowns, lockdowns, closures of the economy? And how can we handle those kinds of constant shutdowns?
Justin Trudeau: (18:33)
I think even after we’re through this first wave, we will need to remain vigilant and we will need to bring in different measures. Normality as it was before will not come back full on until we get a vaccine for this, and as you say that could be a very long way off. But once we get through this first wave, we will have developed both tools and habits that will allow us to be much more resilient and resistant to further outbreaks and spreads that will be able to be kept localized, that we’ll be able to fight against and protect our most vulnerable from over the coming months.
Justin Trudeau: (19:14)
It will require continued actions in different places and quick responses, but part of getting through this wave in a rapid way will be because we are developing the tools that will also help us when those wavelets come forward in the coming months.
Justin Trudeau: (19:36)
Okay. [French 00:19:37]
Speaker 3: (20:33)
Thank you. [French 00:20:35] The next question, Maura Forrest, Politico. Line open.
Maura Forrest: (20:41)
Yes. Thank you, Prime minister. Today obviously there’s been a lot of grim announcements that people have had to take in, both in terms of job numbers and in terms of these projections. They’re getting this information as they’re heading into a holiday weekend when they’re being asked not to celebrate with their families. I’m just wondering how you think Canadians should react to this today.
Justin Trudeau: (21:04)
I think obviously this is difficult news. This is news that reflects, particularly in the job numbers, a reality that millions of Canadians have been feeling over the past weeks, that the real impact on not just our economy but on the lives of Canadians, of workers, of families, and of communities is significant and real. But what we’re also seeing in numbers from different parts of the country is that there is a light at the end of this tunnel, that if we keep doing the things that we’re doing the way we’re doing, as we’ve seen in other countries, we are able to minimize the level of the impact of this wave of Covid-19. We are unfortunately going to continue to lose people across this country in the coming weeks, but we also know that there are things that we can continue to do to make sure we get through …
Justin Trudeau: (22:02)
… this first wave as quickly and as low impactfully as possible. That’s why as we gather with the immediate family members that we’re sharing a home with right now, as we FaceTime to our loved ones and reflect through this Easter weekend, we need to know that we will continue. We can continue to do what is necessary for the coming weeks and months to get through this first wave in the right way, so we can get back to being there for each other in the coming year.
Speaker 7: (22:46)
Speaker 8: (22:48)
Yes. Thank you. Dr [Gnu 00:22:50] this morning said he was going to be celebrating this weekend virtually with his family. How will you be celebrating?
Justin Trudeau: (22:56)
I’m hoping to be able to see my family this weekend. Of course, the priority is ensuring that we’re getting the legislation passed. Conversations are still ongoing with members of the opposition parties. We know that we need to pass this legislation to get the help to people that is needed. That’s why while we continue discussions around democratic processes and defending our institutions, which will be ongoing, which is really important to me and to all of us, we need to move forward on getting this legislation moving through the House so we can get the help out to Canadians. And that is my focus this weekend.
Speaker 8: (23:34)
Justin Trudeau: (23:34)
Okay. [French 00:23:35]
Speaker 7: (23:45)
Speaker 9: (23:47)
Thank you. [ French 00:02:29].
Speaker 11: (26:08)
Justin Trudeau: (26:09)
[crosstalk 00:26:09] [French 00:26:09] I think it’s extremely important that we do have strong democratic institutions that continue to function to serve Canadians, to get the help needed to Canadians and provide that input from voices across the country on the impact that things are having in their community. That is essential and we’re going to continue to talk with opposition parties about how we can make sure that our institutions and our parliament continues to function. It is something to remember that when we do gather in smaller numbers, first of all, it still requires a significant number of support staff to come into work to be there while parliament is functioning and that puts them at risk as well. But it’s also something that doesn’t allow for members of parliament who live in further off parts of the countries to be weighing in and make sure that their communities are being heard. That’s why we are so interested in looking for virtual ways of gathering the House and we’re going to continue to work on that, but it’s I think really important that parliamentarians get together to make sure that the work of getting the help to Canadians happens and happens quickly. While these continued conversations about furthering our democracy in this moment of crisis continue, it’s not the time to further delay getting help to Canadians.
Justin Trudeau: (27:48)
Speaker 8: (29:12)
Justin Trudeau: (29:12)
If indeed Mr Scheer suggested that the debate and discussions had by parliamentarians around a given piece of legislation don’t really have an impact, I choose to disagree. I think it’s really important that we hear voices from every corner of the country on the potential impacts or potential improvements to the bill we’re putting forward. I think that’s how parliament is supposed to work and that’s how Canadians consider that parliament is supposed to work. So, I very much look forward to the debate on our wage subsidy to see how it’s going to impact and hear from every corner of the country as much as we can on how we can make sure that it’s doing the right things for Canadians. Parliament matters. The debate that happens in parliament matters and you can’t just shrug it off like a rubber stamp that doesn’t matter because I know how deeply it matters that we have proper and robust debate on this.
David Thornton: (30:13)
David Thornton, CBC News. Prime minister, documents show that the government has been preparing for a pandemic for over a decade, since the outbreak of SARS, but we’re seeing now that it seems that the government has been caught off guard and Canadians are paying up the price for that. What went wrong in your planning?
Justin Trudeau: (30:35)
I think we’ve seen countries around the world caught off guard by the nature of this epidemic. The challenges that we’ve faced in terms of getting Canadians protected are echoed in challenges faced around the world and some countries are handling it better than others. I think Canada has done a good job of keeping on a path that is going to minimize as much as possible the reality we’re in right now and that’s why we need to continue to do the things we’re doing. Staying home, contact tracing, aggressive testing and why we need to continue to listen to experts on next things we can do or other things we need to do to ensure that we’re having the minimal possible impact on Canadians. And of course, there’ll be lots of lessons learned from this as there were lessons learned from SARS, and we’re going to learn them and bring them into play.
David Thornton: (31:28)
What went wrong in the government’s planning?
Justin Trudeau: (31:31)
I think we all know that this was a situation that we’re adjusting as best we can to. We took the advice of experts, we move forward in significant ways. As we look back at the end of this, I’m sure people will say, “Oh, you could have done this a few days before, or maybe you did this one too quickly and you could have taken a few more days to reflect on it.” Every step of the way we make the best decisions we can given the information we have and if it’s not exactly right, we fix it and we try and get it better as we move forward. I think that’s what Canadians expect.
Molly Thomas: (32:06)
Hi, prime minister. Molly Thomas, CTV National News. Your government says they’re negotiating with the opposition right now. Can you help Canadians understand what is the holdup to recalling parliament? This wage subsidy is sitting on the table, there are businesses we’re talking to on the brink of bankruptcy here. What is the holdup right now?
Justin Trudeau: (32:23)
My understanding is that the legislation itself is largely seen as the right solution by other parties. They may have little tweaks and improvements to make and we look forward to working with them on suggestions or amendments that they have, but there seems to be a sense from the official opposition that this is a moment to define or determine how parliament will function in the coming weeks, and they are negotiating around the structures. We’ve said we’re of course happy to have these conversations. We’ve put forward some proposals around things that we think could work to both minimize the-
Justin Trudeau: (33:03)
… risk to Canadians while moving towards a virtual Parliament, and ensuring the debate and accountability that is so important in our democracy. And we just hope that the official opposition will choose to realize that we need to pass this legislation quickly to get the help out to Canadians as quickly as possible.
Justin Trudeau: (33:24)
Speaker 13: (34:11)
Prime minister, you’ve talked about Canada having fiscal fire power, the government it was planning for four months of uncertainty here at least in emergency funding, how long of a financial rope do we have here? And should we be rationing that emergency funding at all knowing that we’re in for a year here of self isolation on and off?
Justin Trudeau: (34:30)
We had made the decision early on that we needed to be aggressive and broad in getting help out to Canadians. And that’s what we did with the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and the wage subsidy. And we’ve moved very, very quickly and we are continuing to fill gaps and look at areas where we can do more to help Canadians. We will continue to do that. But we knew that our best chance of rebounding from this strongly and getting back to the extraordinarily successful country and economy that we’ve had, that we’ve built over so many generations, is to ensure that Canadians are supported through this however long it takes.
Justin Trudeau: (35:14)
Now, we are extremely hopeful that we will be able to begin to restore a certain measure of economic activity in the coming months after this first wave of is past. But we will make sure that every step of the way we’re giving Canadians the support they need to be able to keep themselves safe, to do what is necessary to keep us all safe, and to ensure that as we get going again, Canada continues to be successful for all Canadians.
Speaker 14: (35:45)
Justin Trudeau: (35:45)
Speaker 15: (35:45)
Justin Trudeau: (35:45)
Speaker 15: (35:45)
Justin Trudeau: (40:21)
Brian Mullen: (40:25)
Prime Minister, Brian Mullen, Global News. President Trump is looking at tariffs on imported oil aimed at getting Saudi Arabia and Russia to reduce the flood of crude oil swamping the market. Is Canada looking at the same to support our oil and gas industry? And if not, what is the government going to do to support the industry?
Justin Trudeau: (40:42)
I can tell you that our Minister of Natural Resources, Minister O’Regan is closely coordinating with his counterpart, the Secretary of Energy in the United States. We recognize that the North American market and oil production sector needs to stand together on this. And we’re working very closely with our counterparts and our NAFTA partners to ensure that we have a strong and united front in dealing with this global situation.
Sean Silcoff: (41:15)
Prime minister Sean Silcoff from The Globe and Mail. My colleagues today wrote about the fact that Ottawa had a playbook for a pandemic 14 years ago. It was coauthored by Dr. Tam and subsequent audits flagged problems with Canada’s emergency stockpile of medical equipment. You said that just a few moments ago that you were caught off guard. But given all the pandemic preparedness done here in Ottawa, going back to 2006, and how some of the plans like having enough medical supplies in our stockpile have come up short, what will your government do to fix that going forward?
Justin Trudeau: (41:47)
Well, I think we’ve already seen, and we spoke about a number of times in the early days of this pandemic, how there were significant lessons we learned from that SARS epidemic. There were things that were done or were not done in 2003 that led to significant changes in our approach on public health. And Canada was better positioned than a number of countries around the world to respond to this pandemic because we had had and learned from the experience of SARS.
Justin Trudeau: (42:20)
Similarly, as we go through this time, we will learn more things about how to be even better prepared next time. If this ever happens again as it is likely that it will in the coming decades, we need to make sure that we have the tools necessary to keep Canadians safe. And that is something that keeps evolving every single day. We will listen to science, we will share the best recommendations with Canadians, we will lean on each other, and we will get through this together. It’s what we do as a country. [French 00:09:53].
Speaker 16: (42:56)
Justin Trudeau: (42:56)