Apr 4, 2020
Justin Trudeau Canada COVID-19 Briefing April 4
Justin Trudeau held a press conference on coronavirus in Canada today, April 4. He said Canada won’t retaliate against the U.S. for banning exports of N95 masks. Read the full transcript here.
What is Rev?
Justin Trudeau: (00:11)
The last few weeks have been hard, in different ways, for everyone. You’re worried about your job or your business. You’re concerned about your health or the health of an elderly parent. No matter what this has meant for you, I know you’re looking for answers. Knowing where we are now and where we might be in the coming weeks and months is how we can all figure out our response. For you, that could be planning on how to make sure the kids keep learning even though they’re at home. For our government, the numbers and data compiled by our experts are critical to understanding the scope of this pandemic and informing the decisions we make to keep you safe.
Justin Trudeau: (00:54)
We’ve made sure you can access the most reliable, accurate information available to us at canada. ca/coronavirus. We’re going to keep releasing up-to-date data on a daily basis and using it to inform our decisions, and we’ll continue working with the provinces and territories on getting new information to have a complete national picture that we’ll share with you. Regardless of the varying models or predictions, one thing is consistently clear. The measures that have been put in place by all orders of government, from closing schools to staying home, are saving lives. But this will only keep working if everyone continues to do their part, if everyone takes their duty to nurses and doctors, to the elderly and to the vulnerable, seriously, as seriously as if it were the life of their parent or their child on the line. Because it is.
Justin Trudeau: (01:58)
The cashier at the store is someone’s brother. The paramedic saving lives is someone’s wife. That’s what at stake here, the lives of the people we love, the lives of the people our neighbors love. So do your part. Wash your hands. Stay two meters away from each other, and above all, stay home. [foreign language 00:02:24]. For the past few weeks, we’ve been staying home. This is what we have to do. We have to keep our distance from others and we have to continue to wash our hands regularly. It’s really at home that most of us feel safest at this current time, but just imagine if you were more scared of staying at home than actually going out and confronting this pandemic. Unfortunately, that’s the reality for far too many Canadians.
Justin Trudeau: (02:53)
That’s the daily lives of those women who are victims of domestic violence. No mother should have to choose between keeping their kids in a house where they’re in danger or taking them to a place where they might fall sick. So what we’ve done is to invest $40 million in women’s shelters and centers that help people who are victims of domestic violence. And for Aboriginal women and children fleeing domestic violence, we’ve invested $10 million for them in emergency shelters. This money will help women’s shelters to take all the necessary measures to protect people, not only against violence, but also against COVID-19.
Justin Trudeau: (03:38)
To help the homeless, we’ve increased the funding for programs for them by 157 million. Those running their programs will be able to buy new beds or rent a new buildings to keep people apart. We’re sending money to communities that are in need, from Vancouver to Saskatoon, Halifax to Toronto. It’s not just an issue of giving a safe place for people to escape violence or to give them shelter when they don’t have a home. It’s really an issue of protecting everyone in our society against COVID-19, and that includes the most vulnerable among us.
Justin Trudeau: (04:19)
No one should have to choose between being somewhere they’re unsafe and risking getting COVID-19. That’s why we’ve invested $40 million for women’s shelters and sexual assault centers across the country, and for indigenous women and children fleeing violence, we’re providing $10 million for emergency shelters. For other shelters, we’ve boosted funding for the Reaching Home program by over $157 million. This will help buy things like physical barriers or rent new space to keep people safe. The communities that need this funding have now been identified and money is getting to them. For people from Victoria to Hamilton, and Regina to St. John’s, help has arrived.
Justin Trudeau: (05:10)
I know we’re asking a lot right now, to stay home, to not see friends, to close your business temporarily. It’s not easy, I get that, but these sacrifices are necessary. The price of acting otherwise is just too steep. To those who are sick right now or have family in hospital, in the ICU, to those who’ve lost a loved one or a friend, we’re thinking of you. We’re here for you, and you remind us of what’s on the line. We all need to take physical distancing very seriously. Done right, these measures will save lives and bridge us, slowly but surely, back to normal.
Justin Trudeau: (06:03)
At the same time, we’re working around the clock to get Canada the resources we need. In the next 48 hours, we will be receiving a shipment of millions of masks by a chartered cargo flight. We’re also working with provinces to transport their medical supplies when possible. Items ordered by Quebec will be on this flight. Our government has also leased a warehouse in China to help collect and distribute these items as quickly as possible. And going forward, the flights we’re chartering to get the materials here include Canadian companies, Cargojet and Air Canada. I want to take a moment to thank everyone, whether you’re working in a warehouse, flying the plane, or part of the ground crew, for your dedication.
Justin Trudeau: (07:14)
… to support you while you do your part. So this weekend, stay at home. Protect your loved ones and our frontline workers. Save lives. I want to take a moment to talk to kids again today. Even at home, there’s lots of stuff going on. There’s lots of stuff to do. I’ll be holding a video conference tomorrow with Dr. Tam to talk through some of your questions. I know a lot of you have sent them in. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow. Tomorrow, you’ll also have a chance to ask someone who knows better than anyone else about staying inside, an astronaut. Canadian astronaut, Jeremy Hansen, will be live on YouTube tomorrow to talk with you, so ask your parents to help send in a question ahead of time.
Justin Trudeau: (08:04)
[foreign language 00:08:06]. For kids, I know you have many questions. Tomorrow, you can tune into my video conference with Dr. Tam, where I’ll be answering all your questions. Please don’t forget that the Canadian astronaut, Jeremy Hansen, will be on YouTube tomorrow to answer your questions as well. To protect your wages and the economy, we have developed a three-step plan which will help us to protect jobs, to support small businesses, and to help those who have lost their income. To protect your health and the health of all our essential workers, we’re working with several businesses to manufacture and distribute medical supplies and also PPEs, as well. We will be helping you. We’ll help you to get through this storm. We need you to do your share, as well. We need you to step up to the plate. I know I can count on you. This week-
Justin Trudeau: (09:03)
We need you to step up to the plate. I know I can count on you. This weekend stay at home, please. Please save our front line workers. Save lives. Thank you very much.
Speaker 4: (09:12)
Thank you, Prime Minister. We’ll now take some questions from the phone. As a reminder, one question, one follow-up. Over to you, operator.
Thank you. [foreign language 00:00:20] The first question is from Teresa Wright from the Canadian Press. Your line is open. [foreign language 00:00:27]
Teresa Wright: (09:29)
Good morning, Prime Minister. Yesterday in response to questions about the White House order for the US to stop exporting N-95 masks, you mentioned the thousands of nurses in Windsor that go across the bridge to Detroit every day. Is Canada considering stopping those nurses from going to the US as a retaliatory measure?
Justin Trudeau: (09:51)
No. We recognize that our countries are deeply interlinked in sometimes very complex ways. The necessary goods and services that flow back and forth across our border keep us both safe and help us on both sides of the border. We are continuing to engage in constructive discussions with different levels within the administration to highlight that the US will be hurting itself as much as Canada will be hurting if we see an interruption of essential goods and services flow back and forth across the border. We continue to demonstrate that this is a good thing for both of our countries, and we look to continue to ensure that essential supplies get across the border.
Teresa Wright: (10:39)
How concerned are you that those arguments at that case that you’re trying to make could be falling on deaf ears?
Justin Trudeau: (10:46)
We’ve had extremely constructive conversations with the Americans over the past weeks throughout this crisis, and we continue to get very good response from them on this issue as well.
Speaker 4: (10:59)
Thank you, Teresa. Next question, operator.
Thank you. [foreign language 00:02:02] The next question is from Rod Nickel from Reuters News. Your line is open. [foreign language 00:02:10].
Rod Nickel: (11:12)
Prime Minister, Premier Kenney said yesterday that his government will take part in next week’s OPEC Plus conference call. Will your government participate in that conference call whenever it happens, and what specific outcome in terms of global supply cuts is your government looking for?
Justin Trudeau: (11:29)
As you know, that conference call, that meeting for Monday has been canceled. We’re continuing to engage with our partners and look very carefully at how we can ensure that Canada’s perspective and Canada’s voice is heard during these important deliberations.
Rod Nickel: (11:47)
And just as a follow-up, to what extent is your government holding off on finalizing its oil support package pending these global talks about supply cuts?
Justin Trudeau: (11:58)
No, we are continuing to work forward regardless of what happens in the global context on support for oil and gas workers who are suffering. But that is why at the same time, we move forward early on in direct support for workers across the country in all industries. The wage subsidy and the CERB will be there to support Canadians who’ve fallen onto difficult times because of COVID-19. Okay. [foreign language 00:03: 29]
Justin Trudeau: (12:31)
While we recognize that we have to make sure we help workers in industries that have been hard hit like the oil industry, for example, we will continue to look at how we can do that and quickly, promptly. But at the same time, I’d like to point out that the measures we’ve already taken, be it the wage subsidy or be it the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit, that’ll help people in all industries across Canada who are facing a tough time because of COVID-19.
Speaker 4: (13:03)
Next question, operator.
Thank you. [foreign language 00:13:05] The next question is from [Katherine Levike 00:13:10]. [foreign language 00:04:11] Your line is open. [foreign language 00:04:13].
Katherine L.: (13:13)
[foreign language 00:04:23]
Yes. Hello, Mr. Trudeau. I’d like to get back to what you were saying previously on the masks that are coming in. I was wondering about the masks from the 3M Company. Could you check if they’re going to come in?
Justin Trudeau: (13:32)
[foreign language 00:13:32].
Those masks will be coming from China, and we are working to make sure that the lines of supply are still functioning, and that those masks be arriving and that they be those.
Katherine L.: (13:50)
[foreign language 00:04:51].
And just to get back to Mr. Trump, did you telephone or are you planning to telephone and speak to Mr. Trump, and is there anything else to do? Could we use NAFTA or any other means in order to settle this issue?
Justin Trudeau: (14:06)
[foreign language 00:14:09].
Since the beginning of the crisis, I have spoken on several occasions to the President, and I intend to speak to him again shortly. At this time, conversations are happening at different levels to stress to what extent essential goods and services flow in both directions from our borders, whether it be doctors or nurses who are working on the other side of the border, or whether it be goods or services and medical equipment such as masks or gloves that are coming in, or test kits that we are sending to the US. Our economies are so intertwined that it would be hurtful to both countries to have any kind of blockage in the supply chain.
Justin Trudeau: (14:57)
I will be speaking to President Trump in the coming days. I have spoken with him a number of times over the past week since the virus really started to hit hard. We’re continuing to engage at all levels with the administration, having very constructive conversations, highlighting that the flow of goods and services that are essential to both of our countries flow both ways across the borders, from medical professionals right across the country who live in Canada and work in the United States to essential goods from gloves to testing kits that Canada ships to the United States. It is in both of our interests to maintain this extraordinary, close relationship.
Speaker 4: (15:45)
Thank you. And we’ll take one more question on the phone, operator.
Thank you. [foreign language 00:15:49] We have a question from Michele [Lamash 00:06:52]. [foreign language 00:15:53] Your line is now open. [foreign language 00:15:55].
Michele L.: (15:59)
[foreign language 00:06:58]
Hello, Mr. Trudeau. I’d like to know if you have broached with the Americans the fact that paper pulp that is used in order to make N-95 masks actually comes largely from Canada and from Nanaimo namely. We could stop the flow on the export of paper pulp. Have you thought about this?
Justin Trudeau: (16:26)
[foreign language 00:07:26].
Yes. We have stressed at many levels all of the goods and services and essential resources that go to the other side of the border. We do not want to start limiting our exports to the US either in goods or services. Our country is in a far better situation, but we need to be able to count on each other, and I am certain that we are going to be able to find a solution to this conundrum.
Justin Trudeau: (16:57)
– in many different ways, the very many different products and resources that flow across the border in both directions to ensure success for our economies, success and keeping our citizens safe. We are not looking at retaliatory measures or measures that are punitive. We know that it is in both of our interests to continue to work collaboratively and cooperatively to keep our citizens safe, and that’s very much the tenor of our conversations, and I’m confident that we’re going to get there.
Michele L.: (17:33)
[foreign language 00:17:32]
Mr. Trudeau, we now know the various scenarios that have been presented for Ontario. You heard them yesterday. I’d like to know what reaction you had to this, and does this resemble in any way the kind of scenarios that are going to be presented for the whole of Canada, and when will you be revealing yours?
Justin Trudeau: (17:53)
[foreign language 00:00:17:53].
Yes, we saw the Ontario scenarios. We are waiting for the Quebec scenarios to be presented. We are presently working with the various province-
To be presented. We are presently working with the various provinces to get the correct data and the correct information in order to be able to forecast various scenarios to Canadian and to answer the questions that everybody has. How serious can this become? When will we be able to reduce the isolation methods? But, every scenario, every forecast model that we are going to come up with is going to, nevertheless, be based on one fact that we need to stay at home.
We need to limit our movements. We need to keep two meters distance, six feet distance from each other. It is our collective behaviors as Canadians that is going to mean that whatever model is created, whatever scenario is presented, that that is how we’re going to get the least amount of possible damage. The least amount of deaths. Like I said, we will be showing you some models in the days to come, but every day we are letting Canadians know what the real figures are that we’re getting from all of the various provinces.
Justin Trudeau: (19:18)
Want to know how bad this is going to get. How much longer it’s going to last. We saw modeling and predictions from Ontario yesterday. We know we’re getting more modeling and predictions from Quebec in the coming days. Canada, at the federal level, will continue to pull together the information and make models and predictions based on that. But, regardless of the curves and the models put forward, one thing is consistent throughout all those predictions. That the more people stay self isolated, stay at home, keep that two meters of distance from each other, don’t go out unless absolutely necessary, and wash their hands regularly, the better off we’ll be.
Justin Trudeau: (20:04)
We will be continuing to share up to the minute data on canada.ca/coronavirus. Please go check it out. See all the public data, the data that we’re making public from all across the provinces. And, we will continue to build and share our predictions in the coming days on how Canada is going to be doing as a whole.
Hi prime minister, McKenzie [inaudible 00:20:29] of C-T-V. Kind of following up on the previous question, yesterday, when the Ontario government put out their projections, they said that between three and 15,000 Ontarians potentially could die from covid 19. That we could be in this from 18 to two years and it potentially could be three waves of this.
You’ve seen the projections that Dr. Tam and public health have put forward. Are the models that Ontario put forward consistent with what you’ve seen so far?
Justin Trudeau: (20:52)
From the very beginning, we’ve seen a range of models talking about the coming weeks and months to longer than that. Talking about very high numbers of possible desks to talk about very low numbers of possible deaths. We know the situation is serious. We know there are a range of possibilities. And, every given model will just give those range of possibilities. What actually happens depends on the choices and the actions that we take every single day.
Justin Trudeau: (21:23)
That’s why, regardless of the model that is put out there, we can impact that model. We can change the predictions based on how we act. Staying home, keeping two meters distant, washing your hands.
Dr. Donley referenced yesterday that Ontario was able to make predictions on the mortality rate largely because we’re able to look at international data that we’ve been able to collect so far on mortality rate. If that’s the case, and Ontario’s been able to put out projection, other provinces are going to do so. Why can the federal government not confidently put out a number right now?
Justin Trudeau: (21:58)
Well, we recognize that different countries around the world face very different mortality rates, very different situations depending on their local circumstances. The same way in Canada, the way different provinces are experiencing, are handling, are bringing in measures to adjust to their situations, vary as well. And, at the federal level, we depend on collating, collecting, and aligning all that data from the provinces in order to build a better picture of what’s going to happen across the country.
Justin Trudeau: (22:33)
We’ve seen different provinces put out numbers, put out data, put out models. But, before we can get to a proper national model, we need to have an even better idea of what we’re doing in various provinces. [foreign language 00:04:51].
We acknowledge that various provinces have various circumstances to deal with, as is the case with many countries around the world. And, they will have to deal differently with what they have to deal with. And, at the federal level, we are collating all of the different data to be able to understand what Canada is facing, globally speaking.
We depend on the forecasting and the data that is given to us by the provinces. And, that’s what we’re presently doing. And, we’re getting all of that data. We’re verifying, we’re aligning them in order to be able to share them with you all in the next few days and to understand what we can expect.
Speaker 7: (23:35)
President Trump made it very clear that he’s unmoved by your urgings and that he will go ahead with this ban on exports. So, what is the number? What is the impact that this has on Canada’s medical supplies?
Justin Trudeau: (23:48)
As we’ve said, we have been working day and night to source medical supplies for Canadian frontline workers. We have shipments coming in in the next 24 hours. We’ve received shipments over the past days. We continue to work with suppliers around the world to ensure that we do get the medical equipment that we need. And, we have more coming in regularly.
Justin Trudeau: (24:12)
At the same time, we’re working with the American administration to ensure that they understand that goods and services that are essential to both our countries flow in both directions across the border. And, it is not in any of our interests to actually limit that flow. We are also, of course, turning towards Canadian manufacturers as the tremendous effort that Canadian companies are putting in to develop made in Canada products, P-P-E equipment and medical supplies that is going to actually not just supply Canada, but be there to supply other countries who need them as we meet our own needs. This is part of what Canada is doing to ensure that we are protecting our frontline workers and all Canadians every single day. Okay. [foreign language 00:07:06].
We will continue to work and do everything we can to bring these essential products to Canada. We are going to continue to work with the American administration to stress to them how important it is for both of our countries to have goods and services that are essential on both sides of the border. And, we will continue to work closely with industry and the manufacturing sector in Canada to develop made in Canada solutions to keep our health workers and our people safety.
Speaker 7: (25:41)
You don’t have the numbers? Or, does it mean you’re not willing to share it? And, given that the E-U has also done this several weeks ago now, why isn’t Canada doing the same?
Justin Trudeau: (25:51)
We understand that it is really important to keep global supply chains flowing. We know that Canadian frontline workers are depending on the arrival of P-P-E from around the world and that’s why we are facilitating those arrivals. They’ve arrived last week. We’ve got more coming in the coming days. We will continue to work to ensure that that comes in.
Justin Trudeau: (26:13)
We’re also continuing to impress upon countries around the world that they are hurting themselves when they limit the flow of essential goods across their borders. We need to work together to make it through this global pandemic. That is what Canada will always do.
Brian Mullen, global news. A question about testing. Why didn’t Canada start procuring tests earlier when we saw what was happening in China? Are you concerned with the limited amount of testing means that you don’t have an accurate picture of what’s going on to inform policy, especially the potential role of asymptomatic people silently infecting other Canadians, which more testing would have identified?
Justin Trudeau: (26:49)
Canada has been doing an awful lot of testing. We have been ramping up testing. We’ve certainly done more testing than a lot of other countries like the United States. And, we’ve seen that early in strong testing in places like Alberta and-
Justin Trudeau: (27:03)
We’ve seen that early in strong testing in places like Alberta and BC have been very, very effective at managing and controlling the spread of COVID-19. We recognize that mass testing and accurate, rapid results are a key part of managing the virus going forward, of ensuring that we continue to be safe through the coming months, and that’s why we are increasing our testing capacity every single day. Okay. [foreign language 00:00:29]
We acknowledge that testing is an essential part of the management of the spread of the virus. Generally speaking, we have done quite well when it comes to testing and screening, but we can do more, and this is why we are continually increasing our testing capacity. We have noticed that in Alberta and in BC, for instance, widespread screening has been extremely efficient as a tool in order to be able to stop the spread or slow the spread of the virus. We know that we need to do more around the country, and this is why every day we are increasing this capacity.
Speaker 9: (28:15)
Are you concerned that the battle we’re seeing over face masks, such as the one we’re seeing now with 3M, could extend to other medical supplies and medications to treat COVID-19? Could this just be the tip of the iceberg, and what are you planning to do about it?
Justin Trudeau: (28:30)
That is one of the reasons why we have turned towards Canada’s local industrial capacity, to develop these solutions for the coming weeks. We know that made-in-Canada solutions are on their way because thousands of businesses, of manufacturers across this country are stepping up, are switching their assembly lines and supply lines over towards producing the necessary medical supplies and equipment that we need. In the meantime, we will continue to source these products from suppliers around the world. Shipments are coming in over the next 48 hours. We’ve had shipments come in over the past few days. We’re going to continue to do everything we can to ensure that our frontline workers get the support and the protection they need.
Speaker 9: (29:16)
But do you have concerns that these shipments could be in jeopardy?
Justin Trudeau: (29:19)
Okay. We know that there is a global competition for these products. Every country in the world needs more of them. That’s why Canada is shifting over so much of its industrial production to develop these masks, these solutions, these equipment so that we can cover our own needs over the medium and longterm, and be there to help other countries at a point where we have enough for ourselves as we manage the spread of COVID-19. At the same time in the short term, we’re continuing to procure the necessary equipment that our women and men on the front lines need right now. Okay. [foreign language 00:29:58]
While we recognize that there is a global competition, strong, ferocious global competition for this equipment and the supplies that everyone’s trying to buy, that’s why we’re developing our domestic capacity to manufacture the essential supplies that we need to protect our frontline workers here at home. Now, this is a solution which will be a medium-term solution, but in the short- term, we’re still receiving goods from across the world because these supplies are essential to keeping people safe. [foreign language 00:03:38] Canada. You’ve talked to Mr. Trump about NAFTA and masks. On NAFTA, do you think it’s perhaps worth waiting before we actually implement it as some people are calling for? Do you think that that’s something that should perhaps be delayed until later? Now on masks, what will you be saying to him? What’s your strongest negotiating chip here?
Well, on NAFTA, we understand that the regulation harmonization process will take some work. There are people within the government who are already working on that. They’ve got a lot of work on their plate in terms of our response to COVID-19, but I like to tell people that the new NAFTA will be implemented very, very soon. It might take a bit more time, but it will be implemented. The current NAFTA remains in force, however, and guarantees a free trade with the US. We will be working in coordination with Mexico and the US, but our priority at this current juncture is to continue to take all steps to protect Canadians and to deal with COVID-19.
Now, in terms of my conversation with President Trump, well, I’m going to be pointing out that there are Canadian healthcare workers who cross the border on a daily basis to work in the US, and the US depends on them in many cases. We have many goods also which we export to the US as essential for them in their fight against COVID-19 as well. I know that the conversation will be very constructive, as they always are.
Justin Trudeau: (32:24)
We will continue to work very, very hard to remind the Americans, as I will in my conversation with President Trump when it happens in the coming days, that we are both of us interlinked in ways that means that it would hurt both of our countries in our ability to protect our citizens or supply chains to be disrupted. There are Canadian health professionals right along the border with the United States who engage in supporting American medical systems in a daily basis, and that would be something that is valuable to the United States. It’s also extremely valuable that we are part of essential supply chains for things from testing kits to gloves to the ingredients in N-95 masks. We know that we do better when we work together and that’ll be my message to the president.
Speaker 11: (33:20)
[foreign language 00:33:17].
Justin Trudeau: (33:23)
[foreign language 00:06:22]
We’ll be working with Mexicans and the Americans to implement NAFTA, but it’s something that we’ll continue to work on. But now our priority has to be COVID-19.
Justin Trudeau: (33:39)
– Mexico and the United States on the ratification of the new NAFTA. But as a reminder for everyone, the existing NAFTA is still very much in place, and will remain in place until such a time as the new one is brought in. The people who are working, who usually work very, very hard on ratification of trade deals, like most people in government are very much focused on our response to COVID-19, and that needs to be our priority right now. [foreign language 00:07:08]