Apr 14, 2020

Justin Trudeau Canada COVID-19 Press Conference April 14

Justin Trudeau Briefing Transcript May 14
RevBlogTranscriptsCanada COVID-19 Briefing TranscriptsJustin Trudeau Canada COVID-19 Press Conference April 14

Full transcript of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s April 14 coronavirus press conference for Canada. He said Canada-U.S. border restrictions won’t be lifted any time soon.


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Speaker 1: (00:00)
Hello Mr. Prime Minister. I’m wondering what is your government’s concrete plan to reopen the economy? For example, a rolling staggard or an all at once approach and can you give us more information about these plans and your discussions with the provinces on reopening the economy?

Justin Trudeau: (00:16)
I know that everyone is very interested to know when things are going to get back to normal, when they’ll be able to go back to work, when we’ll be able to leave this isolation at home, when kids will be able to go back to schools. The reality is it is going to be weeks still. We recognize that it is going to be important to get our economy going and that we will have to do it in phases. We will have to remain vigilant until such a point as a vaccine against COVID-19 is found. We are having ongoing discussions with the provinces at this point. We recognize that different regions of the country are at different places along the evolution of their COVID-19 curve. We’re going to make sure that we try to stay coordinated as best as possible. But those discussions are ongoing about how we’re going to reopen the economy. It’s just that it’s going to be a while still.

Speaker 1: (01:13)
And you had just mentioned sectors- [crosstalk 00:01:16]

Justin Trudeau: (01:16)
Sorry. Let me answer in French.

Justin Trudeau: (01:20)
[foreign language 00:01:20].

Speaker 1: (02:14)
Okay, perfect. You had just mentioned about sectors who have been especially hard hit by COVID-19 and that we should be expecting news on help for them soon. And I’m wondering specifically, when is the oil industry bailout coming?

Justin Trudeau: (02:26)
First of all, we recognize that the most important thing from the very beginning was to get help out to Canadians right across the country, regardless of the sectors they’re in, regardless of their situation or their location. That’s why we put forward two extremely strong measures that help all workers across the country: the Canada Emergency Response Benefit for people who’ve lost a paycheck and the Emergency Wage Subsidy so that people can keep their jobs and be ready to come back to work when the economy comes back. As I’ve said a number of times, we will and we are looking at more specific sector related relief and supports for those sectors that are hardest hit, whether it’s a tourism sector, the airline sector, or the oil and gas industry or others. We will have more to say on that shortly.

Speaker 1: (03:55)
Thank you. Next question.

Speaker 3: (04:46)
Thank you. [foreign language 00:03:22].

Speaker 4: (04:46)
[foreign language 00:03:31].

Justin Trudeau: (04:48)
[foreign language 00:03:47].

Justin Trudeau: (04:49)
We recognize the terrible and tragic stories that have come out of senior’s residences and longterm care facilities across this country. And our hearts go out to families who’ve lost loved ones in some terrible ways. We know we need to do more and that is why we are highlighting how important it is, not just for ourselves but for our loved ones, for our healthcare workers, for our seniors, that we continue to follow directions, that we stay home as much as possible, that we keep two meters apart wherever we can and that we continue to wash our hands regularly. We need to make sure that our seniors, who are most vulnerable to this, are protected. As mentioned, senior’s residences are provincially mandated, but the federal government has put forward guidelines for across the country on making sure that our seniors are protected.

Speaker 4: (05:53)
[foreign language 00:05:46].

Justin Trudeau: (05:59)
[foreign language 00:05:58].

Justin Trudeau: (06:31)
Okay. We recognize that some of the measures taken in place to protect our seniors in our longterm care facilities, such as asking people to only work in one center instead of a few of them will mean a need to hire more people to support our seniors and to work in those centers and we’re going to continue to work with provinces on ways to ensure that people can be found to do this important work.

Speaker 1: (07:00)
Thank you. [foreign language 00:06:58].

Speaker 3: (07:42)
Thank you. [foreign language 00:07:03].

Speaker 5: (07:42)
[foreign language 00:07:06].

Justin Trudeau: (07:44)
[foreign language 00:07:32].

Justin Trudeau: (07:47)
Okay. As I mentioned last week in my presentation after three weeks of my family living up at Harrington and me working here, I went to join them for Easter. We continue to follow all the instructions from public health authorities.

Speaker 1: (08:02)
[foreign language 00:08:04].

Speaker 5: (08:13)
[foreign language 00:08:07].

Justin Trudeau: (08:13)
[foreign language 00:08:20].

Speaker 1: (08:26)
[foreign language 00:08:32].

Speaker 6: (08:34)
Thank you. Merci. Next question. Alex Ballingall, Toronto Star, line is open.

Speaker 7: (08:41)
Morning, Prime Minister. You mentioned in your introduction that people traveling to Canada will need a credible quarantine plan. Can you expand on what the government’s definition of a credible plan will be? Who will assess that and will that be applied to the land border as well as airports?

Justin Trudeau: (09:00)
The order that goes in tonight is the strengthening of the quarantine act orders to give authorities the ability upon evaluation of the person entering Canada’s plan to self quarantine. If it is inadequate, they will be required to quarantine in a hotel. Examples of things that could be inadequate. For example, if their plan is to go stay in a place where there are many elderly family members at risk of COVID-19 or whether they don’t have a set destination, if they’ve been outside of the country for many years. We now have the authority to require them to self isolate for two weeks in a quarantine location like a hotel.

Speaker 1: (09:52)
A follow up?

Speaker 7: (09:52)
Okay. Yeah. I noticed that in the daily updates from public health, there’s been incomplete information sort of stubbornly over a period of time with case report forms on only 62% of our cases, hospitalization data for less than half. Why is this such an incomplete picture and are you concerned that having an incomplete picture will make it more difficult to allocate resources across the country?

Justin Trudeau: (10:23)
I want to, once again thank the provinces for being tremendously active on improving the quality of the data that they send us in Ottawa. There were significant gaps in the beginning, but I can highlight that almost all provinces have done a much better job in sharing their data with Canadians in their provinces, but also with the federal government that is allowing us to have a much more complete picture. We continue to improve on data collection and collation every single day, but that is something that, as you highlight, is a really important way to ensure that we’re doing the right things at the right point to keep Canadian safe.

Speaker 8: (11:07)
Prime Minister Mike Le Couteur with Global National. I wanted to ask you: Alberta’s Energy Minister has said that she’s expecting a federal relief package for Canada’s oil and gas sector between $20 and $30 billion and she’s expecting it later this week. Can you confirm those details first and can you say if the federal government will be taking equity stakes in Canadian firms?

Justin Trudeau: (11:26)
When we have issues to announce on sectorial supports, we will be making those announcements, Mike.

Speaker 8: (11:33)
So then as a followup, some workers in the oil patch worry that key Canadian companies will be vulnerable to foreign takeovers or will decide to relocate head offices to other jurisdictions. Should your government forbid foreign takeovers in the energy sector or relocations for at least this period of time?

Justin Trudeau: (11:51)
We are very concerned about the state of a number of industries across this country, including the oil and gas industry. And that’s why we have worked hard on making sure that we’re giving the right supports for the industry and particularly for workers across the country. Our focus has always been on ensuring that good Canadian jobs remain. We know that Canadians and families are suffering and that’s why we need to support them. Okay.

Justin Trudeau: (12:27)
[foreign language 00:12:18].

Annie Bergeron-Oliver: (12:33)
Hello, Prime Minister. It’s Annie Bergeron-Oliver with CTV National News. You said that you’re going to have more news about essential workers and the CERB in the coming week, but employees at longterm care facilities are already leaving their jobs. You brought parliament back and you passed the wage subsidy this weekend, but there was no specific help included for the longterm care industry. What specifically is your government going to do now to keep longterm care facilities properly staffed so that the new guidelines your government implemented this weekend can be followed?

Justin Trudeau: (13:02)
We are in conversation with the provinces right now on moving forward on a model of increasing support for longterm care workers and other workers in essential industries like Quebec has done to ensure that people are motivated and encouraged financially as well as because it’s something that they believe in deeply to continue caring for our most vulnerable. Okay.

Justin Trudeau: (13:35)
[foreign language 00:13:30].

Annie Bergeron-Oliver: (13:51)
On a separate subject, some security experts are saying that Canada’s intelligence network was not prepared for the pandemic, and that instead of being able to rely on our own Canadian intelligence, we were dependent on our American allies as well as the Five Eyes Network. When specifically and exactly did Canadian intelligence tell you about the possibility of a pandemic and when did you hear that information from our allies?

Justin Trudeau: (14:13)
You know, we had meetings of the incident response group as of late January to talk about the COVID-19 potential threat. We were well coordinated with our Five Eyes allies and other intelligence services around the world and being aware of this potential challenge on the horizon and were dealing with it as of the end of January.

Justin Trudeau: (14:36)
[foreign language 00:14:41].

Speaker 10: (14:36)
[foreign language 00:15:08].

Justin Trudeau: (16:23)
[foreign language 00:15:23].

Justin Trudeau: (16:26)
Okay. We recognize that people are eager to know when we’ll get into the next phase and be able to loosen some of the restrictions on work, on school. We will be looking at that very carefully with the provinces in different ways across the country to make sure that where we start work up again in the weeks where we’re allowed to do that, because right now we are still very much in this phase and we’ll need to remain in this phase for a good while still. But as we start to open up, we will be strategic and vigilant about what we are able to do in a very gradual way. In regards to the American border, we recognize that travel restrictions are going to remain extremely important in terms of containing the spread of COVID-19 in Canada and we’re going to continue to work with the Americans and people around the world to ensure that we continue with these restrictions.

Speaker 10: (17:20)
[foreign language 00:17:23].

Justin Trudeau: (18:25)
[foreign language 00:17:42].

Justin Trudeau: (18:27)
We’ve been looking at different ways of ensuring that our longterm care facilities and our senior’s residences have the support that they actually need, have the workforce that they need to take care of our seniors. There are a number of provinces looking at the model put forward by Quebec that involves a salary top-up for people working in these essential jobs. We are willing to participate in that, in sending money to the provinces to help in those. And we’re having discussions with the provinces about what that is, but there are very different needs and situations right across the country and we’re continuing to work with different provinces on their different priorities.

Tom Perry: (19:07)
Prime Minister, Tom Perry with CBC News. Premier Jason Kenney says that federal bureaucracy is standing in the way of approving tests and drugs to use against COVID-19. He’s directed as officials to consider using medications that have been approved by Europe or the U.S. health officials. Health Canada is the regulator of these approvals here in Canada so what would the consequence of a province attempting to do this be, given it doesn’t have that jurisdiction?

Justin Trudeau: (19:33)
We are in an unprecedented crisis and that creates a significant level of anxiety. So I understand that people can get anxious and impatient about things, but as a government, we are going to remain grounded in science. We are going to remain grounded in our experts who are doing an excellent job in ensuring that Canadians are kept safe and healthy.

Justin Trudeau: (19:58)
[foreign language 00:19:59].

Tom Perry: (20:20)
Premier Kenney also spoke yesterday about Dr. Theresa Tam, and he said he believes she’s qualified to be Canada’s Chief Public Health Office. But he also said that in January she was repeating talking points out of the People’s Republic of China about there being no evidence of human to human transmission. What’s your response to that and do you think comments like this run the risk of undermining the credibility of Canada’s public health officials?

Justin Trudeau: (20:42)
I think Canadians have demonstrated that they have a tremendous level of trust and confidence in our public health officials and in our medical system. We are going to continue to work with top medical officials like Dr. Theresa Tam to make sure that we’re doing everything we need to do and have done every step of the way to keep Canadians safe.

Justin Trudeau: (21:04)
[foreign language 00:21:08].

Speaker 1: (21:04)
[foreign language 00:21:31].

Justin Trudeau: (21:04)
[foreign language 00:21:31].

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