Apr 15, 2020
Justin Trudeau Canada COVID-19 Press Conference April 15
Full transcript of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s April 15 coronavirus press conference for Canada.
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (00:00)
In our weekly meeting, I will discuss with provincial and territorial leaders the importance of getting this wage boost in place as quickly as possible. As we face an unprecedented threat to public health, you are our most important line of defense. We will do whatever we can to help you do your job and support you through this time. [foreign language 00:00: 24].
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (02:21)
Today I can announce that we are expanding the Canada emergency response benefit to include people making up to $1,000 a month seasonal workers and people whose EI has recently run out. Maybe you’re a volunteer firefighter, or a contractor who can pick up some shifts, or you have a part time job in a grocery store, even if you’re still working or if you want to start working again, you probably need help in making ends meet.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (02:52)
So if you earn $1,000 or less a month, you’ll now be able to apply for the CERB. If you were expecting a seasonal job that isn’t coming because of COVID-19 you’ll now be able to apply. And if you’ve run out of EI since January 1st you can now apply for the ERB as well. And for others who still need help, including postsecondary students and businesses worried about commercial rent, we’ll have more to say to you very soon. No matter who you are or where you live, we’re in your corner. [foreign language 00:03:38].
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (03:55)
After having accepted the first demand for help from the Canadian armed forces for Nunavik, the government of Quebec has sent us a second request for [inaudible 00:04:03]. I can confirm that the Canadian Rangers will be there to provide support. I want to thank our women and men in uniform, and the families who serve alongside them, for all that they do. Whenever we need you most, you’re always there for us. [ foreign language 00:04:22]. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, know that you aren’t alone and there are people who can help. We have launched a mental health portal canada.ca, and through the Canada COVID-19 app where you can go to find support, so if you need to, please reach out. We’ll be there for each other.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (05:23)
Finally, we have more news today to share on testing LuminUltra from New Brunswick with whom we signed a contract, is now ramping up production to supply enough covert 19 test chemicals to meet the weekly demand in all provinces. And in the last few days we received a new batch of swabs to make sure every province has the supplies they need to keep testing, whether it’s reagents or test kits. We are ensuring that Canada has the tools to fight this virus. Tomorrow, I’ll also be speaking with the other G7 leaders about continuing to coordinate a strong and effective global response to this pandemic. [foreign language 00:06: 08].
Speaker 1: (07:01)
Thank you, Prime minister. We’ll now go to the phone for questions. There’ll be one question and one follow up. Operator?
Speaker 2: (07:08)
Thank you. [foreign language 00:07:08].
Speaker 3: (07:10)
[foreign language 00:07:16].
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (07:10)
[foreign language 00:07:37].
Speaker 1: (07:10)
[foreign language 00:08:09].
Speaker 3: (07:10)
[foreign language 00:08:12].
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (07:10)
[foreign language 00:08:36].
Speaker 1: (07:10)
[foreign language 00:09:05].
Speaker 2: (09:08)
Thank you. [foreign language 00:09:09].
Speaker 4: (09:39)
[foreign language 00:09:15].
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (09:42)
[foreign language 00:09:27]. One of the things that is so important for Canada to do is to continue to work with local experts and international experts to do everything we can to fight this virus and keep Canadians safe and protected. That’s what we will continue to do.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (10:03)
… Canadians safe and protected, that’s what we will continue to do.
Speaker 6: (10:15)
[French 00: 00:45].
Thank you. Merci. The next question, Justin Ling, freelance. Please, go ahead.
Justin Ling: (10:54)
Hi, Mr. Prime Minister. Obviously, I’ve been asking you for about a month now about the state of Canada’s prison. You’ve promised repeatedly that new measures would be coming, that the minister of public safety would be announcing new a cooperation with the parole board. We still haven’t seen any of that. Is this just not a priority? Is nothing coming? Is there even going to be a decision about those inmates who are being released on day passes, like other provinces have done to release them temporarily? Is there any announcement coming?
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (11:23)
We have made significant efforts and taken significant steps to ensure that our incarcerated population is kept as safe as possible from COVID-19. There are number of measures that we’ve taken. We continue to look at more measures. We’re coordinating with the provinces on these efforts as well. We know that it’s a scenario where we’ve seen challenges in terms of outbreaks, but we also are continuing to step up our efforts every day to ensure that all Canadians are protected.
Justin Ling: (11:55)
You say you’re stepping up your efforts. The directive from the commissioner last week said that the corrections officers should wear face masks. Corrections Canada has previously said they’re providing soap and hand sanitizer. By all accounts, those things aren’t happening. If the work you’re doing isn’t happening, do you need to change tact? Finally, have you totally abandoned the idea of releasing federal inmates?
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (12:19)
There have been a number of discussions at the highest levels about various processes that need to be put in place. There’ve been a reduction in transfers in issues that have put potentially people who work there and people who are incarcerated there more at risk. We have taken a number of measures. We will continue to look at taking more measures and we will ensure that the measures in place are properly followed.
Speaker 6: (12:47)
Merci. One more question on the phone, operator.
Thank you. Merci. Next question, Jim Bronskill, Canadian Press. Please, go ahead.
Jim Bronskill: (13:24)
Good morning, Prime Minister. Social-distancing advice differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction from Vancouver closing Stanley Park to cars so more people can walk around it to Ottawa’s local experts telling people to basically not chat on their driveway with neighbors. In light of this, how do you sustain public confidence in social-distancing measures?
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (13:52)
I think we’ve been very, very clear that the best way to prevent further spread of COVID-19 is to stay home as much as possible. If you have to go out, go out infrequently and keep two meters distance from each other and wash your hands aggressively and often. These are the things that we’re asking all Canadians to do.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (14:13)
Across the country, we recognize that different communities are in different situations, that there are different local health experts giving advice that is suitable to that particular context. We make sure that everyone is getting the message that we all have to do our part to fight COVID-19 and that means engaging in social distancing, but it is perfectly normal that there be slight variances in approaches in a pandemic that is manifesting itself in very different ways in different parts of the country.
Speaker 6: (14:49)
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (15:36)
Okay. [French 00:15:38]
Jim Bronskill: (15:42)
On the World Health Organization, how much total financial support is Canada now providing to the organization and has the US president ever put any pressure on Canada to either boost or, of late, reduce its support for the organization?
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (16:01)
Canada’s support for the World Health Organization is in the tens of millions of dollars. I think we’ve increased it recently, but I can make sure that someone has the exact numbers for you or for the media.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (16:15)
No, the president hasn’t made any direct asks or indirect asks of Canada around that.
Speaker 6: (16:21)
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (16:56)
Glen McGregor: (16:56)
Glen McGregor, CTV News. Prime Minister, you’ve repeatedly said how much Canada has relied on WHO for information about what’s happening around the world, are you satisfied the organization sufficiently interrogated the information coming out of China in the early days of the pandemic? We know now a lot of the information was either false or misleading, especially about human-to-human transmission. Do you think they did a good job on how they handled that information and shared it with other countries?
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (17:23)
I think what we need to remember is the path through this pandemic is for us to base ourselves on science, on the recommendations of experts, on the data and the knowledge that we’ve gathered from past pandemics and past health issues to apply to these situations. That’s why we will always continue to work with experts, both domestically and internationally, to take the best advice possible in keeping Canadians safe.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (17:50)
Of course, in the coming months and years, there will be many reflections on various institutions and systems, both domestically and internationally, on how we can improve our response, how we can learn from things we could’ve done better in this process. These are things that will come in the coming times. Right now, our focus needs to be on doing the best we can right now to protect Canadians.
Glen McGregor: (18:14)
We’re hearing about potential shortages of medication used for painkilling and sedation before patients are intubated and put on ventilators. What’s happening at the federal level to ensure that there’s a continued supply of those medications?
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (18:30)
Public Health Canada and Procurement Canada are working together to ensure the steady supply of essential medications to Canada, both related to COVID-19 and not. We recognize that this is a global health crisis, so there are challenges, but Canada has a very strong pharmaceutical industry. We have very strong relationships around the world on getting medication and necessary supplies. We will continue to do everything we can to ensure that Canadians get what they need.
Speaker 6: (19:08)
[ French 00:08:57].
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (19:33)
Okay. [French 00:19:34]
Tom Perry: (19:34)
Hi. Tom Perry with CBC News. On the WHO, you were just asked this, but the conservatives and others have raised concerns that the WHO was too willing to take the word of the Chinese regime early on in the pandemic? Do you share those concerns?
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (19:48)
I think there’s obviously reflections that we have to have going forward and we have to make sure that we are doing everything we can to keep Canadians safe. That is our focus right now. What can we do now? What do we need to do in the coming weeks? How do we lean on ex-
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (20:03)
What do we need to do in the coming weeks? How do we lean on experts in international institutions and in partner countries around the world who are making recommendations alongside our domestic experts on what we need to do now? There will be plenty of time as we move forward to reflect on challenges that were faced in the past. We need to learn and move forward as quickly as we can.
Speaker 7: (20:26)
And you said yesterday that you’re talking to the provinces and territories about eventually reopening the economy. Can you say what work specifically you’re doing with the provinces and territories to do this? You also said that they’re at different points along the spectrum of the pandemic. So do you see, when things do start returning to normal, is that going to be on a provincial level, a local level, a national level? How’s it going to work?
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (20:45)
Well, we recognize that this pandemic is going through very different phases at different points at different places across the country. One size fits all will not work for a country as diverse as Canada. But the overarching principles are extremely important. We know, regardless of where you are in the country, we need to get through this first wave before we can start releasing some of the rules around social distancing and staying at home.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (21:15)
How that release works will vary from region to region, from industry to industry. And coordination at the federal level on how we do that is going to be very important. But with spring coming, people are looking outside, wanting to get out, wanting this to be over. I understand that. It will be weeks more before we can seriously consider loosening the restrictions.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (21:42)
It would be terrible if we were to release restrictions too early and find out that we’re suddenly back in another big wave of COVID-19. And everything we’ve gone through up to now would have been for nothing, because we’ll find ourselves, once again, in the same situation. If we hold on through this period now as long as we have to, once we are able to release things, we will be able to better control how things move forward. But as impatient as people are getting, all across the country, we need to continue to hold on if what we’re doing now as sacrifices are going to be worth it.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (22:25)
Okay. [foreign language 00:22:26].
Janet Silver: (23:41)
Prime Minister, Janet Silver, Global News. I know you’ve just spoken about a coordinated effort and some more patience needed in terms of reopening the economy. But just to follow up on that, I’m wondering whether you envision when that happens that workers will be tested before they’ve returned to work?
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (24:01)
Obviously, when we are able to loosen the controls on social distancing and start to reopen our economy, massive rapid testing on a very wide scale basis will be an essential part of the vigilance we have to have. There will also be a need for very aggressive contact tracing whenever there is a case that appears. We are going to have to be extremely quick about responding to any future outbreaks in future waves. But in order to get to that point, we need to continue doing what we are doing now for many more weeks. We cannot be in a rush to get things going again because if we move too quickly to loosen all these controls, everything we’re doing now might have been for nothing. We’ll find ourselves in another peak just as bad as this one or worse and it will be extremely damaging both to how Canadians feel, but also to our economy.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (25:09)
That’s why we are going to be extremely careful about any steps towards reopening the economy. It seems like over the past days people are talking about when we reopen this, we’ll do this, we’ll reopen that. It’s not happening yet. If we reopen too soon, everything we’re doing now might be for nothing. We are making sacrifices. We’re there for each other. We need to hold on still. And then, once we’re ready, once we feel we’re through, once the experts are telling us that we can talk about reopening the economy a little bit, we will take very careful steps into that. [foreign language 00:25:52].
Janet Silver: (26:54)
Prime Minister, as we see the horrific stories unfold each day across the country with regards to longterm care facilities, people getting sick, people being abandoned, many dying. If your mum was in one of these facilities, what would you do?
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (27:10)
I can’t imagine what so many Canadians are going through right now with loved ones who are suffering people they can’t even visit right now. Seniors worried about falling ill and not being able to see their kids and grandkids again. These are the things that we need to focus on as a country. That is what I will be speaking with premiers about tomorrow night. How the federal government can support the premiers and their responsibility and their jurisdiction over longterm care facilities and senior care, to make sure that we are supporting the heroes who are working in extraordinarily difficult situations for very low pay to continue that work safely and mostly to keep our elders safe. This is a situation where as a society, as a country, we need to pull together to be there for our elders who built this country. That’s what we’re going to focus on in the coming days. [foreign language 00:08:12]. There have been two requests so far-
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (30:03)
…so far by Quebec to send in support from the Canadian armed forces in both Nunavik in Northern Quebec and in [inaudible 00:00:12]. These are things that we are doing, as any more requests come in and we will look to support Quebec or other provinces who are asking for help from the federal government. Regardless of what that help looks like and what they’re asking us, we will be there to help out as provinces need help.
Speaker 9: (30:31)
[foreign language 00:00:33].
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (31:00)
[ foreign language 00:01:00]. Okay. We know that until there is a vaccine for COVID-19 we are going to have to remain extremely vigilant as a world, as a country to resurgences even once this first wave is through. Once we see this first way pass through Canada without having overwhelmed our healthcare system and our healthcare workers, as we certainly hope, we will be able to look very carefully at how with extraordinary vigilance and very rapid response times to any future resurgences of the virus, we can carefully re-engage in certain sectors of our economy in loosening up the restrictions, but we are not there yet. We have to be through this first wave sufficiently to be able to know that we have the capacity to stamp out and restrict any future outbreaks as they come along.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: (33:45)
That means technology, that means better testing capacities, that means continued vigilance, not just by governments, but by all Canadians to preventing it. We’re still a number of weeks away from that, but we are reflecting on what that looks like and what sort of technology and medical solutions will be necessary. We will get through this together. For now, we need to stay strong in our social distancing measures and by staying at home, [foreign language 00:34:16].