Apr 3, 2020

Justin Trudeau Canada COVID-19 Briefing April 3: Calls US Stop on Medical Supplies to Canada a ‘Mistake’

Justin Trudeau April 28 COVID 19
RevBlogTranscriptsPress Conference TranscriptsJustin Trudeau Canada COVID-19 Briefing April 3: Calls US Stop on Medical Supplies to Canada a ‘Mistake’

Justin Trudeau held a press briefing today, April 3, where he addressed 3M saying Trump officials have told them to stop sending face masks to Canada, warning Trump about restricting medical supplies to Canada. He also announced $100M is coming for Canada food banks. Read the full transcript here.

 

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Justin Trudeau: (00:05)
Morning everyone. Hello. [French 00:00:06]. Before we get into things, I have two pieces of news to share with everyone. The first one is about the distribution of critical equipment to provinces and territories. For the past few weeks, our government has been working closely with industry to produce the supplies our healthcare workers need, like masks, face shields, gowns, ventilators, and test kits. Well, today I can announce that our government has signed an agreement with Amazon Canada to manage the distribution of this equipment to the provinces and territories. Or geology. [French 00:00:48]. Across the country, there are food banks that can help. But like most organizations, food banks are facing new challenges because of this pandemic. With everyone staying home, they have fewer volunteers, and a difficult economic climate means that they’re receiving fewer donations that they normally would while demand rises. The staff at the Neighbor to Neighbor food bank in Hamilton told us they’re getting more and more calls, and it’s overwhelming for the volunteers who are spread really thin and working overtime to help their community. The work being done by food banks and their volunteers is essential, so there’s no question that they need more support during this crisis. If you have the time and ability to help, reach out to your local food bank and ask them how you can help them.

Justin Trudeau: (02:55)
At the same time, I’m announcing that the government will provide $100 million to meet the urgent food needs of vulnerable Canadians, including those living in indigenous and Northern communities. This money will help ensure that organizations can buy and deliver food to those who need it the most. It will help support organizations that you may already know, like Food Banks, Canada, Breakfast Club, and the Salvation Army, and many more.

Justin Trudeau: (03:25)
On that note, I do want to take a moment to thank all volunteers and organizers. Thank you for feeding our communities. We see you and we are grateful for the incredible tireless work you do, even in these extremely difficult circumstances. Especially in these extremely difficult circumstances. You are doing essential work for our most vulnerable. You are showing what it is to be Canadian, to be there for each other in times of difficulty. [French 00:03:58].

Justin Trudeau: (06:53)
Our government is also supplementing the GST credit to help low income people. We had said that in May, every qualifying adult would receive up to $300 with $150 for each child, but I can now confirm that help is coming sooner this month in April instead. Our government has also been working with major banks to deliver benefits, including the CERB through direct deposit. Effective today, people should visit their banks website for information on how to enroll for direct deposit if they haven’t already. [ French 00:07:33].

Justin Trudeau: (08:00)
[foreign language 00: 00:06].

Justin Trudeau: (09:23)
I want to close with a message for kids. On Sunday I’ll be holding a video conference focused on you with Dr. [Tan 00:01:32]. So send me your questions through CBC Kid’s website by the end of the day. And I’m looking forward to answering you this weekend. [foreign language 00:01:40].

Speaker 1: (09:43)
Thank you, Prime Minister. We’ll now go to the phone lines for a few questions. One question and one follow up. Operator?

Operator: (09:49)
Thank you. [foreign language 00:09:49]. First question, [Kate Mongaro-Bloomberg 00:01:53], your line is open.

Kate M.: (09:58)
Hello, Prime Minister. I have a question regarding OPEC [inaudible 00:10:03] Canada [inaudible 00:10:07] has been [inaudible 00:10:08]-

Justin Trudeau: (10:07)
I’m sorry, Kate, your line is cutting out a little bit. Can you try and speak closer to the phone and a little more clearly?

Kate M.: (10:17)
Yes, no problem. Can you hear me now, Mr. Prime Minister?

Justin Trudeau: (10:19)
That’s much better. Thank you.

Kate M.: (10:21)
Okay, so my question is regarding the OPEC [inaudible 00:10:25] meeting on Monday. Is Canada planning to meet with [inaudible 00:10:27] to meet with, or has it already talked [inaudible 00:10:31] OPEC [inaudible 00:10:33] the output levels for [inaudible 00:10:35], and what would [inaudible 00:10:40] look like?

Justin Trudeau: (10:41)
I can assure you that we’ve been coordinating closely with the United States and other allies in looking at the challenges paced by OPEC right now. We recognize that these catastrophically low oil prices are having an impact on many people’s economies and indeed on Canadian oil sectors. We’re trying to coordinate to ensure that we make sure that our economy doesn’t face the kinds of challenges that it’s been facing. We need to continue to support workers across the country. We will continue to work internationally to try and impact on the difficult decisions made by OPEC over the past weeks. And we will keep you posted on that.

Kate M.: (11:29)
And what is happening with the support package for the oil sector we’ve been hearing about?

Justin Trudeau: (11:34)
We’re continuing to work with provinces, with particularly the province of Alberta, to ensure that we’re giving support to workers who are in particularly distressed industries. The wage subsidy and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be of help to people right across the country, including in the oil sector, but we recognize that certain industries are facing much greater stresses than others, and we will continue to work with that with the provinces. I can highlight that in our conversation last night, the Premiers and I did discuss this. I heard directly from Premier Kenney and others on the importance of support to the oil sector, and we’re going to continue to work with them.

Speaker 1: (12:20)
Thank you.

Kate M.: (12:21)
Thank you.

Speaker 1: (12:21)
Operator, next question.

Operator: (12:21)
Thank you. [foreign language 00:12:20].

Melanie: (12:21)
[foreign language 00:12:27].

Justin Trudeau: (12:21)
[foreign language 00:04:49].

Speaker 3: (12:27)
In English, please.

Justin Trudeau: (13:43)
Okay. We’ve been working very closely with the Americans to highlight what Canadians know very, very well, that the level of integration between our economies goes both ways across the border, that we are receiving essential supplies from the United States, but the United States also receives essential supplies and products and indeed healthcare professionals from Canada every single day. I think of the thousands of nurses, for example, who cross the bridge in Windsor to work in the Detroit medical system every single day. These are things that Americans rely on, and it would be a mistake to create blockages or reduce the amount of back and forth trade of essential goods and services, including medical goods across our border. That is the point we’re making very clearly to the American administration right now.

Speaker 1: (15:24)
And a follow up, [Melanie 00:06:38]?

Melanie: (15:28)
Yes. [foreign language 00: 06:40].

Justin Trudeau: (15:37)
[foreign language 00:07:03].

Speaker 1: (15:42)
Thank you. Next question, Operator.

Operator: (15:45)
Thank you. [foreign language 00:15:45]. Next question, [Tanda LeCharles 00:07:47], Toronto Star. Line open.

Justin Trudeau: (15:57)
Tanda, you might be on mute.

Tanda LeCharles: (16:01)
Yeah, I am. Sorry. Thanks for taking the-

Tanda LeCharles: (16:03)
-question. Can you clarify, last night this order came from Trump to 3M company to cease their exports to Canada and you’ve talked about how valuable it is, but have you since then put in a call to the president? Do you have one planned today? You said it would be a mistake, but it’s a done deal, is it not?

Justin Trudeau: (16:25)
3M has indicated that it understands how important it is to continue with delivering on orders to places like Canada because there is much trade that goes back and forth in essential services and it could end up hurting Americans as much as it hurts anybody else. That is the point that we are making very directly and have been making for many days now to various levels of the American administration and that message is getting through.

Justin Trudeau: (16:54)
[French 00: 00:57].

Tanda LeCharles: (17:31)
As a follow-up, sir, you didn’t indicate whether you have or will speak to the president today, but I’d like to understand from your perspective just how big a gap this leaves Canada’s supplies of these crucial medical masks.

Justin Trudeau: (17:47)
We continue to be confident that we’re going to receive the necessary equipment. We understand that there are pressures across our healthcare systems in various regions on the dwindling supplies. That’s why we are working so hard to ensure that we get the right supplies to them in the right amount of time. We’ve seen a number of Canadian companies stepping up their productions, which will be flowing soon. We’re also receiving more shipments from places around the world. We will do everything we can to ensure that no part of Canada goes without essential supplies in facing this pandemic.

Speaker 7: (18:24)
Thank you. Operator, one more question on the phone please.

Operator: (18:29)
Thank you. Merci. Justin Lane, freelance, the line is open.

Justin Lane: (18:36)
Hi there, Prime Minister. You’ve been imploring people to stay home if they can. You’ve been asking people not to go to work, but given that, why are you still sending in civil servants to run immigration detention facilities when that could seriously increase the risk of spreading the virus not only to those detained in the facilities, but to those workers who have to go back home to their families every day? Do you consider that an essential service to be locking up people who were applying for asylum here?

Justin Trudeau: (19:06)
We recognize that there are many essential services that need to continue to be delivered for Canadians’ safety, for the well-being of our country, and ensuring that Canadians are safe needs to be a top priority. That’s why we’re going to continue to ensure that essential services get done wherever possible. Civil servants are encouraged to work remotely to work from home. We know there are significant things that need to be worked on to deliver for Canadians, to keep Canadians safe at this particular time. I want to take the opportunity again to thank the public service for all it does in these difficult times to make sure Canadians are kept safe and secure.

Justin Lane: (19:47)
Well, it’s not really a question of safety when you’re locking up those who may have overstayed a visa or who applied for asylum, and certainly, it’s been two weeks now since I first asked you about releasing non-violent offenders and nothing has happened. Your government has continuously said, you’re looking at it, everything’s on the table, you’re looking at it, but nothing’s actually happened yet. Why are you dragging your feet and why has action not been taken yet?

Justin Trudeau: (20:11)
I can actually inform you that action has been taken. We’ve been working closely with Corrections Canada and detention facilities of all types to reduce the vulnerability to the spread of COVID-19, to ensure that measures are in place to keep Canadians safe. We continue to look at other measures that can be taken and we will take those measures in due course.

Brian Mullen: (20:34)
Brian Mullen, Global News. Prime Minister, on the issue of 3M, you’re saying if the US goes ahead with this, it could hurt Americans also because of the flow of supplies and resources across the border. Are you considering any retaliatory measures against the US?

Justin Trudeau: (20:48)
We are discussing very closely with the United States the importance of keeping the flow of essential goods and services across our border to help both of our countries. I am confident that the close and deep relationship between Canada and US will hold strong and that we will not have to see interruptions in supply chain in either directions.

Justin Trudeau: (21:11)
Okay. [French 00: 05:11].

Glen McGregor: (21:37)
Glen McGregor, CTV News. Prime Minister, within the hour, Ontario officials are going to reveal their projections on the number of cases and the number of fatalities we might expect in the province. Dr. Tam has said the federal equivalent of those models are being used to inform your policy decisions, require Canadians to dramatically alter their way of life. Don’t you have an obligation to follow Premier Ford’s lead and release projections on the worst case and best case scenarios about how many of us might die?

Justin Trudeau: (22:07)
Alright. We have been releasing information every single day on data received from the provinces, updating it regularly on websites so Canadians can see the latest numbers and look at various models that use those numbers to make various projections. At the same time, we need to make sure that the projections that we will be releasing are based on the most-accurate, the deepest, the most-properly correlated information out there. We are working with the provinces to be able to build a robust model to give the projections that people want to see. People are wondering, how much longer is this going to last? How many Canadians are going to be severely affected? These are things that we will be sharing with Canadians, but we need to make sure we have a better grasp on the accuracy of the data before we put projections out there. Okay. [French 00:23:30]

Marissa Walsh: (23:36)
Marissa Walsh with The Globe and Mail. I just want to return to the OPEC questions you were asked at the top. Can you clarify, is Canada at the table at Monday’s meeting, or are you just dealing with the US and the US is the one dealing with OPEC?

Justin Trudeau: (23:47)
Okay. We are continuing our conversations with the international community, including with OPEC. There have been communications between OPEC and Canada. We will continue to stress that we need to work together as a world to get through this economic crisis as-

Justin Trudeau: (24:03)
…well as a health crisis. We will continue to insist on that.

Marissa Walsh: (24:07)
Okay. Can you please clarify if that means Canada will actually be at the table? And also I’d like to get your thoughts on whether Canadian producers should actually be cutting their production further. They’ve already had to do this. More is expected because of supply challenges. So is it a wise strategy for Canada to coordinate with a price setting cartel that has caused many of the current problems that we’re seeing in the global pricing of oil?

Justin Trudeau: (24:30)
Well, I can assure you that conversations are ongoing with the United States on how we can work together to ensure that we are countering some of the measures being brought in by OPEC and we will continue those conversations.

Speaker 9: (24:46)
[French 00:00:54].

Justin Trudeau: (24:50)
[French 00:25:04].

Speaker 9: (24:50)
[French 00:25:18].

Justin Trudeau: (25:55)
[French 00:01:37].

Olivia Stefanovich: (26:01)
Good morning, prime minister. Olivia Stefanovich, CBC News. I imagine you have seen the projections from Ontario and Quebec that will be released shortly. Can you tell us what your reaction is to those numbers and how this will change the federal approach?

Justin Trudeau: (26:12)
I’m not going to preempt the announcement that Premier Ford is going to be making shortly. We have seen the numbers. We continue to work very, very closely with the provinces. We are very much looking to share national projections with Canadians in the coming days, but I can tell you that we know that this is a very difficult situation for Canadians. There are some very challenging projections out there that will emphasize how important it is for all of us to do our part, to stay home, to keep ourselves safe, to keep our loved ones safe, and to get through this as best we possibly can.

Olivia Stefanovich: (26:50)
How do these numbers change the federal approach?

Justin Trudeau: (26:52)
Our federal approach continues to be to do everything we can based on the best scientific advice to keep Canadians safe and to ensure that our economy bounces back strongly after this is all through. The measures that we’re encouraging and asking Canadians to take, whether it’s around self isolation, whether it’s around social distancing, which means keeping two meters apart, whether it’s around ensuring that people are washing their hands regularly and for 20 seconds. These are the things that are going to help keep Canadians safe. As much as we can do at the federal level, as much as we can support, as much as we can bring in quarantines and decrees, ultimately, it is Canadians’ own behavior that will make the difference in this. How we get through this depends on you and that’s why I’m so confident that we will get through this because Canadians are always there for each other. We’re looking to do the right thing. We will get through this together. [French 00:27:57].