Apr 16, 2020
Justin Trudeau Canada COVID-19 Press Conference April 16
Full transcript of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s April 16 coronavirus press conference for Canada. He said Canada will keep border restrictions with the U.S. for long time.
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Justin Trudeau: (06:00)
Good afternoon. Hello, everyone. Just this morning, I got a call with the other G7 leaders to discuss the pandemic. We all remain committed to doing whatever it takes to help the people and our economies rebound after this crisis. We’re working together to support international efforts to develop a vaccine, expand treatment, expand testing, and ensure that critical medical supplies get to the front lines.
Justin Trudeau: (06:41)
As I’ve said before, this is a global crisis and it demands a global response. While we’re doing everything to keep people safe in our respective countries, we also have to help more vulnerable nations fight this virus by providing more support for their healthcare systems, debt relief, and other forms of assistance. We will keep working together as partners to ensure the safety and health of people around the world.
Justin Trudeau: (07:07)
Justin Trudeau: (09:25)
[foreign language 00:00:02].
Justin Trudeau: (09:54)
Over the past few weeks, we have rolled out a series of measures to get people the help they need as quickly as possible. As things evolve, we’re hearing from Canadians who need more help, from businesses who need more support. No one should feel that they’re alone in this fight. Our government is here to help you through these challenging times. When we hear the program is not reaching as many people as it should, we make changes.
Justin Trudeau: (10:24)
A few weeks ago, we launched the Canada Emergency Business Account to help small businesses struggling with cashflow. Under this program, banks are offering $40,000 loans, which are guaranteed by the government. To date, more than 195,000 loans have been approved. We’re talking about more than seven and a half billion dollars in credit to small and medium-sized businesses. It’s a start, but ministering and others have heard from business owners who could really use this help, but who do not fit the current admissibility criteria. So we’re going to make some adjustments because we want to be there to support you.
Justin Trudeau: (11:04)
Today, we are expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account by both increasing and decreasing the eligibility threshold. Now, businesses who spent between $20,000 and 1.5 million dollars in total payroll in 2019 will be eligible to receive a loan through the CEBA. That’s businesses who … 20,000 and 1.5 million dollars in total payroll in 2019 who will now be eligible. This is money entrepreneurs and employers can use to cover operational costs and help with other immediate needs. Businesses and commercial property owners are also facing specific challenges because of COVID-19, so we plan on introducing the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance. This program will provide support to help small businesses with their rent for the months of April, May, and June. To implement this program we have to work with the provinces and territories as they govern rental relationships, and we hope to have more details to share very soon.
Justin Trudeau: (12:17)
[foreign language 00:03: 17].
Justin Trudeau: (14:02)
Over the past few weeks, we’ve all had to get used to this new normal. It’s been snowing in some places this week, including here in Ottawa because that’s just what 2020 brings, but we hope that the weather will get nicer. As time goes on, staying home and not seeing friends is going to be even more difficult. We’re going to miss our colleagues, our friends, our neighbors, and our parents even more than we do now, but we have to be disciplined. We must stay the course. We cannot let the progress we’ve made go to waste, and, above all, we cannot put lives at risk. So let’s keep following public health recommendations. Wash your hands, stay home as much as possible, and if you do go out, be sure to stay at least two meters away from others. If we persist and persevere, I know that we will prevail. Once again, thank you all for joining us. I’m now happy to take questions.
Speaker 4: (15:02)
Thank you, Prime Minister we’ll now go to the phone lines for some questions. Just one question and one followup. Operator?
Thank you. [foreign language 00:15:10]. The first question [foreign language 00:15:13].
Speaker 5: (15:13)
[foreign language 00:15:19].
Justin Trudeau: (15:13)
[foreign language 00:15:37].
Speaker 5: (15:13)
[foreign language 00:16:37].
Justin Trudeau: (15:13)
[foreign language 00:16:46].
Speaker 4: (15:13)
[foreign language 00:17:24].
Thank you. [foreign language 00:17:29].
Speaker 5: (15:13)
[foreign language 00:17:36].
Justin Trudeau: (15:13)
[foreign language 00:17:46].
Justin Trudeau: (18:00)
Speaker 6: (18:02)
[French language 00:00:12].
Speaker 7: (18:10)
Justin Trudeau: (18:25)
Speaker 8: (19:07)
Thank you, next question, operator.
Speaker 9: (19:13)
Thank you [French 00:01:25]. Next question. Ryan Timothy, National Post, line open.
Ryan T: (19:31)
Yeah. Good morning Prime Minister. I’m wondering when you’re meeting with the [inaudible 00:19:36] today, are you going to discuss how to phase and reopen the economy? I’m wondering if you’re at all concerned that the possibility that some provinces that are doing better may reopen before other provinces creating a strain there.
Justin Trudeau: (19:51)
I think one of the things we’ve seen across the country from leaders, and from citizens is a desire to know when this is going to be over, how soon we’re going to be able to start getting back to normal life, but I think everyone understands that until we have a vaccine, until we are in a place where there is proper treatment, there is a massive amount of testing, we are not going to be able to talk about getting back to normal. We will hopefully in the coming time be able to loosen certain restrictions, but our health professionals, and experts, and all leaders understand that, that has to be done at the right moment, and very, very carefully.
Justin Trudeau: (20:39)
It would be absolutely disastrous for us to open up too early or too quickly, and have another wave hit us that could be just as bad as this one, and find ourselves in a situation of having to go back into quarantine the way we are right now, and have everything that we’ve done these past weeks be for nothing. We know that there are lots of conversations to be had about how we reopen our economy, what happens in the right order, what the sequencing is, how we keep people safe, but we’re a long way from having the ability to start doing that. Of course, conversations are ongoing now, but we’re still many weeks away from talking about actually doing anything to reopen our economy, even with the variations across the country of the local state of the pandemic.
Speaker 9: (21:32)
Speaker 10: (21:34)
Yeah, and then in terms of that discussion, do you envision that it will be based on metrics? Will it be based on the number of new cases say or some sort of metrics-based approach to making that decision, I guess?
Justin Trudeau: (21:51)
I think looking at where we are on the curve, the number of new cases, the decline in cases will be an important piece of it, but I think what’s even more important is the measures that we will have in place to be vigilant, to respond if and when there are resurgences of the virus in local pockets, in particular areas. We are going to need to be extremely vigilant, extremely prepared to respond quickly with massive testing, with contact tracing, with measures that people will be able to kick in very quickly if that comes. I don’t think we can talk about reopening things until we are confident that we have exactly the plan on responding to future resurgences in place, and that’s a lot of what the conversations are going on right now.
Speaker 8: (22:43)
Thank you. Next question, operator.
Speaker 9: (22:46)
Thank you [French 00:22:47]. Next question, David Ljungrenn, Reuters, line open.
David L: (22:53)
Yeah. Good morning, Prime Minister. On your G7 call, did other leaders state to president Trump about his decision to suspend funding for the World Health Organization?
Justin Trudeau: (23:06)
I think we all recognize on the call how important it is to continue to coordinate, and collaborate the science around the pandemic to work on public health measures around the world to share information around vaccine development, around treatments that can work. There is a need for international coordination and the WHO is an important part of that collaboration and coordination. We recognize that there have been questions asked, but at the same time it is really important that we stay coordinated as we move through this. That’s certainly what Canada’s going to do.
David L: (23:43)
Secondly, president Trump yesterday suggested that the border with Canada, the restrictions could be loosened. Are there any such plans from your point of view?
Justin Trudeau: (23:50)
I think there was a recognition by the president as I’ve highlighted many times that the closeness, the collaboration, the friendship between Canada and the United States is quite unlike any other, and therefore the work that we continue to do to keep our citizens safe while coordinating very carefully is unlike our approaches with other countries around the world. There’s a recognition that as we move forward there will be special thought given to this relationship, but at the same time we know that there is a significant amount of time still before we can talk about loosening such restrictions. Okay [French 00:06: 29].
Moly Thomas: (25:11)
Hi Prime Minister, Molly Thomas, CTV National News. You said there would be a significant amount of time I guess to having this border discussion. What is the danger to Canada to opening that border?
Justin Trudeau: (25:21)
We are having ongoing discussions on border issues, on supply chains with the United States all the time, and we have a integrated economic relationship, and a close people to people friendship within our countries that allowed us to move forward on closing the borders in a way that assured essential services and supplies continue to travel. We will continue to look at ways we can move forward to help each other deal with this pandemic. We recognize that it will be time still before we can loosen those border restrictions.
Moly Thomas: (25:56)
What is the danger though, Prime Minister?
Justin Trudeau: (25:58)
We recognize that there is a need to protect our citizens as every country is doing. Most countries around the world move forward on restricting travel, and Canada, and the United States are no exception.
Moly Thomas: (26:12)
Are you, sorry. In French.
Justin Trudeau: (26:13)
Okay [French 00:08:14].
Speaker 11: (26:28)
Prime Minister are you concerned about retaliation at all from the Americans if we don’t open on the timeline that they might want?
Justin Trudeau: (26:35)
The coordination and collaboration between Canada and the United States on this issue, and on all issues has been entirely exemplary. The reflection that the president shared was one of how close we are, and how the status of the Canada U.S. relationship is different than the status of relationships that we have with other countries around the world. There was a recognition that we will do things perhaps differently than other countries.
Justin Trudeau: (27:03)
We will do things perhaps differently than other countries, but there is still a recognition that we need to continue holding that the measures that we have in place for a good while to come, still.
Janet Silver: (27:13)
Prime Minister, Janet Silver, Global News. With people dying at group homes for disabilities and Premier Ford saying that the situation in longterm care homes should be, “A wake up call for the world.” What is your government planning to do to support the country’s most vulnerable citizens, not only now but in the weeks to come?
Justin Trudeau: (27:32)
Well, tonight I will be speaking with the premiers and we will be talking directly about how to ensure better protection for our elders in longterm care. It is impossible to imagine the anguish families and indeed our elders are going through in this situation there is just so much fear, so much uncertainty. We need to do a better job of being there for them. The federal government is looking at ways to support the Provinces as they deal with this issue. We’re discussing pay top-ups for people who work in those situations because the conditions are getting more and more difficult. There are also more regulations we can talk about bringing in to do a better job of protecting our most vulnerable. I think that’s what Canadians expect.
Justin Trudeau: (28:21)
[foreign language 00: 01:22]
Janet Silver: (29:04)
Prime Minister, you spoke a little earlier with regards to Quebec’s request for military assistance. I’m just wondering, have you received a request from other premiers specifically relating to the military for help for longterm care facilities and what sort of role do you see the military playing when it comes to longterm care facilities?
Justin Trudeau: (29:25)
We have received three requests in total from Quebec, two for Canadian Rangers to help out in Northern remote areas, both in Nunavik and in Bas Saint Laurent. This most recent requests around help in longterm care facilities is somewhat different than the requests that the federal government usually gets around support for provinces, which is much more often around things like floods and forest fires. But we are of course working to help. We’re working with Quebec to figure out how we can best help in this situation because this is a situation that is unprecedented at many, many levels and what we have continued to say is we will figure out how to help. We will be there for each other.
Good morning, Prime Minister, Celine [inaudible 00:00:30:14], CBC News, it’s April 16th today and that was the day that your federal modeling said that there would be between five and 700 deaths in Canada and more than 31,000 infected confirmed cases. We’re at nearly double the number of deaths, so I’d like to know what went wrong with the modeling and what does this mean for Canadians?
Justin Trudeau: (30:31)
I think people need to understand that modeling is a framework that allows us to plan for different scenarios in the future. It is not a declaration of what is going to happen, but it is a discussion of what might happen in the coming days, in the coming weeks and allows us to plan and prepare for it. I think one of the things we’ve seen over the past a number of weeks is a far more severe impact on seniors residences and longterm care centers then we had certainly hoped for or more than we feared and therefore we need to take more measures to protect our seniors. That’s what I’ll be talking with the premiers about tonight.
Justin Trudeau: (31:19)
[foreign language 00:04:19]
Is the Canadian government prepared for some frontline workers, medical workers to die in the fight against COVID 19? And what would the government possibly be looking at to support family members and dependents left behind?
Justin Trudeau: (32:02)
There have been far too many deaths already in Canada and that’s why we need to continue to do everything we can to slow the spread of this disease and to protect our frontline workers. With PPE that we’re ordering in, with support for them, for their families, as we get through this difficult time. And the most important thing is for Canadians to continue to stay home, to slow the spread of this virus, to ensure that those who go to work every day to keep the rest of us safe and to fight this virus are able to do so in safety, for themselves and for their loved ones. We will continue to do everything we can to protect these heroes.