Mar 23, 2020
Justin Trudeau Canada Coronavirus Briefing Transcript March 23: “Go Home and Stay Home”
Justin Trudeau held a COVID-19 briefing for Canadians, saying “Enough is enough. Go home and stay home” in an urgent warning to Canadians to self-quarantine. Read the full transcript of his speech right here.
Justin Trudeau: (00:00)
[French 00:00:08]. I want to begin by recognizing that a lot of people have now been stuck at home for a week or more because of COVID-19. If that’s starting to take a toll, it’s understandable, but we can’t afford to stop now. I want to be clear. Social distancing, physical distancing, is the single-best way to keep the people around you safe.
Justin Trudeau: (00:32)
What does that mean? It means keeping two meters between yourself and someone else. It means avoiding groups. It means staying home as much as possible.
Justin Trudeau: (00:44)
If you choose to ignore that advice, if you choose to get together with people or go to crowded places, you’re not just putting yourself at risk; you’re putting others at risk too. Your elderly relative who’s in a seniors home, or your friend with a preexisting condition. Our nurses and doctors on the front lines. Our workers stocking shelves at a grocery store. They need you to make the right choices. They need you to do your part.
Justin Trudeau: (01:17)
We’ve all seen the pictures online of people who seem to think they’re invincible. Well, you’re not. Enough is enough. Go home and stay home. This is what we all need to be doing. And we’re going to make sure this happens, whether by educating people more on the risks or by enforcing the rules if that’s needed. Nothing that could help is off the table.
Justin Trudeau: (01:48)
Today, we’re launching federal advertising campaigns. You’ll see faces that you know and trust, people from our cultural sector getting out the recommendations from our healthcare workers. Not having heard this message won’t be an excuse. We’re reaching everyone. Listening is your duty, and staying home is your way to serve.
Justin Trudeau: (02:14)
Every day, there are more and more people who step up and heed this call. Just yesterday, Team Canada and the Canadian Paralympic Team made the tough decision not to send athletes to the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer. I know this is heartbreaking for so many people, athletes, coaches, staff, and fans, but this was absolutely the right call, and everyone should follow their lead.
Justin Trudeau: (02:42)
No matter who you are, if you’re doing your part, I want to say thank you. You are saving lives. And when it gets hard, know that your government is right there with you.
Justin Trudeau: (02:56)
On Wednesday, we unveiled an $82 billion plan for people and businesses affected by the virus. If you’re worried about making ends meet, we’re putting more money in your pocket. If you own a small business, we’re helping you bridge to better times. Tomorrow, the House of Commons will reconvene to pass emergency legislation and put this plan in motion.
Justin Trudeau: (03:20)
For farmers and people across the agri-food business, I know these are hard times too, so we’re also opening up $5 billion in additional lending capacity. Starting today, farmers and producers can apply through Farm Credit Canada for the support they need to keep food growing and get it onto our tables.
Justin Trudeau: (03:43)
On that note, I want to say thank you to people right across the entire food sector. Day in and day out, you grow, transport, and stock the food that feed our families.
Justin Trudeau: (03:57)
Last week, we also announced a plan to mobilize industry so our hospitals have the medical support and equipment they need. Later today, I will have a call with the first ministers to discuss our continued coordination on quarantine and self-isolation. We’re working together to ensure that everyone has what they need, whether that’s equipment for testing or medical supplies.
Justin Trudeau: (04:23)
This evening, the premiers and I will also talk about continuing to move forward with measures to support families and small businesses to ensure our economy rebounds.
Justin Trudeau: (04:34)
For Canadians stranded abroad, we’re working with airlines to get people home. People should be returning by commercial means while they’re still available. Air Canada, WestJet, Air Transat, and Sunwing all have flights this week. As of today, we’ve secured authorizations for Air Canada to operate three flights for this week for Canadians in Peru, and there will be two more flights in the coming days from Morocco. We’ve also helped secure an Air Canada flight from Spain, as well as Air Transat flights, including two from Honduras and one each from Ecuador, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
Justin Trudeau: (05:12)
If you’re a Canadian abroad, register with the government now so we can send you updates and contact you. You need to do this if you haven’t done it already.
Justin Trudeau: (05:25)
Since the start of this crisis, we’ve been using all the tools in our toolbox to manage the situation. We’re very lucky. Canadian innovators are among the best in the world, and they want to be part of the solution.
Justin Trudeau: (05:39)
We’re investing $275 million in research on COVID-19 and the development of vaccines. Vaccination and antiviral treatments are options that we must look at. We’re seeing this with flu. Vaccines stop people falling sick. They protect the most vulnerable and make sure that fewer and fewer people go to the ER.
Justin Trudeau: (06:05)
Today, I am announcing that we’ll be investing $192 million to directly support the creation and the production of vaccines here in Canada. We’ll be funding a long-term solution against a COVID-19 here at home. We’ll be signing an agreement with AbCellera of Vancouver to support their work designed to treat and to prevent COVID-19. We’re also working with Medicago from Quebec to produce a test of vaccines. At the same time, we’re also earmarking money to the University of Saskatchewan for the development of vaccines and clinical tests as well. Canada needs the necessary capacity to produce treatments on a mass basis as quickly as possible. We’re also investing in the National Research Board in Montreal.
Justin Trudeau: (07:03)
We are providing $192 million to directly support vaccine development and production in Canada. We’re investing in a long-term solution to COVID-19 right here at home. Our government will be signing an agreement with Vancouver-based AbCellera to support their work on drugs to prevent and treat COVID-19. We’re also working with Quebec City-based Medicago for vaccine testing and production. At the same time, we’re providing funding for the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization for development and clinical trials. Once there are promising options, Canada needs the capacity to mass-produce treatments as quickly as possible. That’s why we’re investing in the National Research Council of Canada’s facility in Montreal to prepare for the rollout.
Justin Trudeau: (07:57)
These are critical steps forward. We have to remember that vaccines won’t be ready overnight. They will take months to develop and test. So while that’s happening, we need to work to mitigate the impacts of this virus, and luckily we have the tools we need right here at home.
Justin Trudeau: (08:18)
BlueDot, in Toronto, was among the first in the world to identify the spread of COVID-19, coming in nine days ahead of the World Health Organization’s public warning. We’ve signed a contract to use this Canadian software to model the disease. It will help us track, and therefore slow, the spread.
Justin Trudeau: (08:41)
Minister Bains has also sent a call to action to every university, college, polytechnic, and CÉGEP in the country. Their labs have the resources and expertise to be part of this fight. We’ve asked them to identify equipment they’ve got, like masks and ventilators. At the same time, we’re looking at innovative solutions they can be part of, including 3D printing of medical supplies.
Justin Trudeau: (09:07)
Many institutions have already stepped up, and many more will do the same. If you need more information, please go to buyandsell.gc.ca. We need all hands on deck.
Justin Trudeau: (09:22)
Annie Bergeron-Oliver: (11:24)
Hi, Mr. Prime Minister. It’s Annie Bergeron-Oliver with CTV National News. You said that a vaccine will take months, despite funding and assistance that’s being announced today that the government has already put in place. What immediate and specific actions is the federal government doing to increase testing capabilities and to reduce the testing backlogs that people are facing right across the country.
Justin Trudeau: (11:45)
As we said on vaccines, we have moved forward on investing in a number of companies to accelerate their movement towards clinical trials and eventual production of a vaccine. In the meantime, we are increasing our testing capacity every single day. Many companies in Canada are increasing their production. We’re working with labs across the country to accelerate the arrival of testing results as well. We recognize that there is a significant load on the system. We are looking at technological and concrete solutions that will accelerate this process because we recognize that mass testing is a key part of the path forward.
Speaker 3: (12:28)
Justin Trudeau: (12:30)
Okay. [French 00:12:28].
Annie Bergeron-Oliver: (12:35)
There are a lot of people who are sitting at home right now watching this press conference who cannot afford to continue paying their rent for themselves or for their businesses. Why hasn’t your government done more to specifically help renters?
Justin Trudeau: (13:23)
Yeah. We know that there are significant pressures on Canadians right across the country who are facing bills coming in, who are facing pressures on caring for their families. That is why we are working extremely quickly to get money out the door into the pockets of Canadians during this extraordinary time. We recognize there are hundreds of thousands of Canadians out there who are applying for EI benefits online. What we’re working through, including with this step of recalling Parliament tomorrow, is a legislative package that will allow us to move forward even quicker on getting money into the pockets of Canadians who need it right across the country.
Speaker 4: (15:49)
Justin Trudeau: (15:50)
Speaker 5: (15:52)
Justin Trudeau: (16:13)
Olivia Stefanovich: (16:14)
Morning, Prime Minister Trudeau. Olivia Stefanovich, CBC News. How exactly will your government enforce social distancing? Can you spell out exactly what that will look like?
Justin Trudeau: (16:24)
We are going to be speaking with the premiers this evening and talking about ways we can coordinate. We recognize that many communities, many provinces have declared states of emergency. They have taken measures to close certain public places. There is more that can be done. There is more that needs to be done around messaging, and that’s what we’re going to be talking about.
Justin Trudeau: (16:44)
But every step of the way, if we see that measures aren’t being taken up properly, that aren’t being followed, we will look at different measures that could be necessary to enforce these rules. We’d rather not, and we know that millions of Canadians are doing their part, but those who are not doing their part are putting at risk everyone else, including the eventual recovery of our economy and the well-being of millions of Canadians. So we’re going to continue to look very carefully at what could be next steps as we move forward.
Olivia Stefanovich: (17:15)
Can you spell out exactly what kind of enforcement measures you’re looking at at the national level?
Justin Trudeau: (17:20)
I can tell you that we haven’t taken anything off the table, from the Emergencies Act to new measures or existing measures under the Quarantine Act. There are significant tools that are at our disposal. Like I said, we are impressing upon Canadians to do this of their own will, to understand that individuals can and must do their part to keep us all safe and to ensure that we come through this in the best way possible.
Olivia Stefanovich: (17:48)
Should all provinces and territories close their borders?
Justin Trudeau: (17:51)
I will be speaking with the premiers tonight about measures that we can take as a country to move forward, and I look forward to that conversation.
Ryan Tumilty: (18:01)
Prime Minister, Ryan Tumilty with the National Post. This week will be the end of your 14-day self-isolation. Are you planning to resume a quasi-public schedule? Are you planning to leave the house?
Justin Trudeau: (18:12)
As many people are, I’m listening to the advice of experts. I recognize that there is still a week to go in my self-isolation, and we’re going to continue doing that. Those decisions on what next will be taken in the right way, depending on what Public Health says, but certainly I am going to make sure that we continue to follow all recommendations of Public Health officers, particularly around staying at home wherever possible and self-isolation and social distancing, which means keeping two meters apart from each other.
Ryan Tumilty: (18:49)
And in terms of the messaging, we’ve seen people at beaches. We’ve seen people out on trails clustered together. We’ve seen people out at large parties together. Do you think it’s just a question of people not getting the message? Because you’re talking a lot about messaging today.
Justin Trudeau: (19:01)
I think people need to get the message that this isn’t just about them. This is about their neighbors. This is about vulnerable seniors. This is about health workers who are on the front lines trying to keep us all safe. Canadians can and must do their part to keep us all safe.
Justin Trudeau: (19:18)
When we see images of people out enjoying the sunshine in large groups, that is extremely concerning, because they are not just putting themselves at risk; they are putting everyone else at risk. We need to slow and stop the spread of this virus if we are going to come through this strongly as a country without losing too many of our loved ones. Every single Canadian has a responsibility to engage in keeping their distance, in staying home whenever possible, and ensuring that those who have to go out for essential services and to keep us healthy and alive and fed are not at risk themselves.
Speaker 8: (20:03)
Justin Trudeau: (20:15)
[French 00:20:03]. I think it’s frustrating for a lot of people who are listening to medical advice and staying home for their safety to watch other people out there putting not just themselves at risk, but everyone who is staying home at risk, as well.
Speaker 9: (20:33)
Speaker 10: (20:39)
Thank you. Merci. The first question is from Brian Lilley of the Toronto Sun. [French 00:20:45]. Please go ahead, sir. Your line is open.
Brian Lilley: (20:51)
Prime Minister, I’m wondering if you can tell us… You keep being honest about the Emergencies Act, and you seem hesitant. Why are you hesitant? And what extra powers would the Emergencies Act or Quarantine Act give you that you currently don’t have?
Justin Trudeau: (21:05)
The Quarantine Act is already in place, and it gives us significant tools. One of the key elements of the Emergencies Act is that it is an override over the provinces. It takes powers that are normally only in the hands of provinces, or even municipalities, and puts them at the federal level. That’s why we’ve been working closely and coordinating, watching closely as provinces have invoked their Emergencies Act, which has been an important step in fighting this spread of this virus. It’s also why we will certainly be talking about the federal Emergencies Act at the premiers’ meeting this evening to make sure that we all understand what tools each different order of government has and where we might need to do more.
Speaker 10: (21:54)
Thank you. Merci. [French 00:21:55] Le Devoir. The next question is from [French 00:22:00] Le Devoir. Please go ahead. [French 00:22:03].
Speaker 12: (22:15)
Justin Trudeau: (22:28)
Speaker 10: (22:46)
Thank you. Merci. The last question is from Maura Forrest, Politico. [French 00:22:54]. Your line is now open. Please go ahead.
Maura Forrest: (23:00)
Yes, thank you, Prime Minister. In the United States, California and New York have enacted lockdown measures at the state level. You’re not ready yet to invoke the Emergencies Act, but would you support individual provinces enacting similar measures in Canada?
Justin Trudeau: (23:15)
We know that provinces and cities are looking at what next steps they can take. We, of course, will support them in their decision-making, in the powers that they have, recognizing that many of them, if not all of them, have invoked the Emergencies Act at their provincial level. We will continue to coordinate and make sure that they have the backing of the federal government where necessary. We will continue to monitor closely this situation, to work with experts across Canada, and indeed around the world, on everything we need to do to keep Canadians safe.
Justin Trudeau: (23:49)
But even as we do that with all the levers of governments and regulations and powers, fundamentally it comes down to citizens making smarter choices, choosing to stay home, choosing to self-isolate, choosing to keep their distance from each other, not going out and putting at risk people who have to be out for essential reasons in our hospitals, in our food supply, in our pharmacies. These are the things that people need to be doing. These are things, unfortunately, that not everyone is doing yet. And it is why it is so important for Canadians to step up and do what they can, not just to keep themselves safe, but to keep their neighbors and the rest of us safe as well.
Justin Trudeau: (24:34)