May 4, 2020

Justin Trudeau Canada COVID-19 Press Conference May 4

Trudeau May 4
RevBlogTranscriptsCanada COVID-19 Briefing TranscriptsJustin Trudeau Canada COVID-19 Press Conference May 4

Full transcript of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s May 4 coronavirus press conference for Canada. Read the full transcript here.


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Justin Trudeau: (00:10)
[foreign language 00:00:11] In the fight against COVID-19, our focus will always be here at home. But this is a global challenge. To keep Canadians safe and restart our economy, we need to defeat this virus, not just within our borders, but wherever it will be found. That’s how we’ll beat COVID-19 for good. So, just like we’re coordinating our efforts across the country, we’re collaborating with allies around the globe too.

Justin Trudeau: (00:40)
Earlier this morning, I joined leaders from other countries and from civil society and industry, to work together on accelerating the global development of COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and testing. We all share a common goal, ending this pandemic. And Canada is stepping up to do its part.

Justin Trudeau: (01:01)
Canada’s contribution of over $850 million for the global fight against COVID-19, includes investments in Canadian and international research. At home, we’re providing funding for everything from the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization for their work on a vaccine development to Vancouver-based AbCellera for treatments. Right across the country, we’re making sure that Canadians can keep leading.

Justin Trudeau: (01:31)
Our $850 million commitment, also includes support for vaccine development through the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the WHO’s solidarity trial, that helps hospitals share information on treatments. The more we cooperate, the more likely that we find a cure and find it quickly. And that’s something we all want to see.

Justin Trudeau: (02:57)
[foreign language 00:01:57]. COVID-19 is an unprecedented challenge, but it’s not the first time that Canadians have been called to do their part. Over the past generations, Canadians have time and time again, stepped up in defense of our shared future. This week marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands and a victory in Europe day. From the fall of 1944 to the spring of ’45, thousands of Canadians pushed back the occupying forces road by road, town by town. They fought, and many died to defend the values that we hold dear peace and democracy, the rule of law and human rights. And today, 75 years later, we remember their courage and their sacrifice.

Justin Trudeau: (03:52)
Earlier this morning I spoke with Mark Rutte, the prime minister of the Netherlands, we talked about the close lasting bonds of friendship that exists between our two countries. We talked about how we collaborated together in years past, standing for our values, fighting side-by-side, and how we were doing that again today in this global crisis, in friendship and in solidarity. So today, I ask all Canadians to join me and our friends and allies in the Netherlands at 2:00 PM Eastern Time, to observe two minutes of silence in honor of our veterans.

Justin Trudeau: (04:34)
As we pause, let’s reflect on how each of us can live up to their example. Maybe you’ll do your part by staying home to protect our healthcare workers. Maybe you’ll bring groceries to an elderly neighbor or make a donation to a food bank or simply make the effort of sending a postcard to a veteran to thank them for their service. With your actions, you’re contributing to your community and demonstrating that Canadians time and time again will continue to step up.

Justin Trudeau: (05:08)
I know the weather’s getting nicer, we still need to be extremely careful. And not just for our seniors but for everyone around us. So don’t go out unless you absolutely have to. And if you do, keep two meters apart from each other.

Justin Trudeau: (05:22)
[foreign language 00:05:25]

Speaker 1: (06:38)
Thank you, Prime Minister. We’ll now go to the phone for questions. Just a reminder, one question, one follow up. Operator?

Operator: (06:45)
Thank you. [foreign language 00:06:47] First question, Kate Bolongaro, Bloomberg, line open.

Kate Bolongaro: (06:52)
Hello, Prime Minister. We’ve heard from Canadian airlines that the government is studying what is happening elsewhere to help the sector and they’re getting a lot of aid in other countries, and they are direct competitors of the Canadian industry. So, I’m wondering what exactly is your government looking at to help the airline sector beyond the wage subsidy and why is it taking so long to roll this out?

Justin Trudeau: (07:12)
We have in Canada a very strong airline sector and we need to continue to have a strong airline sector, once this is all done. So of course, we’re looking very carefully at how to support industries like that, that are so important to Canada and to Canadians. But one of the key things that we were able to do right off the bat, which helped massively in the airline sector and elsewhere, was move forward on the CERB and the wage subsidy. Ensuring that Canadians can continue to keep their jobs even as they stay home, that they continue to have that link to their employers is going to allow our economy to come back stronger and the damage done by this COVID-19 pandemic to be minimized. We will have more to say about sectoral supports in the future, but for now, the support that we’ve given to workers right across the country, is making a very real difference.

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

Speaker 1: (08:40)
The follow up, Kate.

Kate Bolongaro: (08:42)
So, I have a very quick question regarding the Bank of Canada nomination. You’ve been committed to more equality and diversity across government positions, why did your government decide to follow the same model by nominating another English speaking man to the role instead of a Francophone or a woman?

Justin Trudeau: (09:26)
We were fortunate in this country to have many extraordinary people qualified to head up the Bank of Canada. And we made the determination on who would be the best to see us through this difficult time and seven years into the future as well. And I know that Tiff Macklem will do just that.

Justin Trudeau: (09:44)
[foreign language 00:09:51]

Justin Trudeau: (10:00)
[foreign language 00:00:05].

Speaker 2: (10:03)
[foreign language 00:00:08].

Speaker 3: (10:12)
Thank you. [foreign language 00:10:12]. Next question, Laura Ozlem the Canadian Press. Line open.

Laura Ozlem: (10:20)
Good morning prime minister. I wanted to ask you about the EU pledge conference this morning. The money pledged by Canada is money that’s already been announced, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation estimate it will take about $20 billion in the longterm to roll out a vaccine worldwide. So why is it that Canada is not bringing more money to the table, and has Canada been asked to pledge more in the coming days and weeks?

Justin Trudeau: (10:45)
The pledging conference this morning was a beginning. It was a recognition that many countries are already stepping up in developing research and science towards a global vaccine. Canada has made significant investments as you’ve highlighted in our scientists and researchers who are world class and who are contributing to finding solutions not just for Canadians but for the entire world. It is really important that the world comes together to collaborate because even once we find a vaccine, whether it’s in Canada or elsewhere around the world, we will share that vaccine in its formula, but production of that vaccine will be extremely important right around the world as well. It cannot just be the wealthiest countries producing that vaccine for their citizens, we need to ensure that there are systems in place so that the billions of people around the world who are vulnerable can get these vaccines as well. That’s why this takes a global effort and that’s why Canada is so pleased to be able to contribute through what we’re doing here at home and investments overseas as well, and there will be more to come as the world grapples with this pandemic.

Justin Trudeau: (11:57)
[foreign language 00: 01:59].

Speaker 2: (12:46)
[foreign language 00:12:46].

Laura Ozlem: (12:48)
Thank you. And on the emergency financial benefit, will the current benefit programs be adjusted to account for the slow and gradual return of people to work and the fact that they may return to earning too income to qualify for benefits, but not enough to get back to where they were and make ends meet and pay the bills.

Justin Trudeau: (13:07)
Laura, I really look forward to facing that challenge of how we start to scale back the benefits and help people get back to work. We’re not there yet. We’re very much still trying to make sure that people are getting the support they need, even as the economy is starting to gradually reopen. Our focus is on keeping people safe and ensuring that they have the ability to stay home and pay for groceries and pay their rents and support each other. So yes, obviously a lot of thought is going into the various steps that are going to be needed as we get people out of their homes and back to work. But for now, we’re still very much focused on how we help people through this.

Speaker 2: (13:53)
Thank you. Next question, operator.

Speaker 3: (13:54)
Thank you. [foreign language 00:13:56].

Speaker 4: (13:54)
[foreign language 00:14:02].

Justin Trudeau: (13:54)
[foreign language 00:14:13].

Speaker 2: (13:54)
[foreign language 00:15:03].

Speaker 4: (13:54)
[foreign language 00:15:04].

Justin Trudeau: (13:54)
[foreign language 00:15:15].

Speaker 2: (15:38)
[foreign language 00:16:02]. And we’ll take one more question on the phone please. Operator.

Speaker 3: (15:38)
Thank you. [foreign language 00:16:06].

Speaker 5: (15:38)
[foreign language 00:16:12].

Justin Trudeau: (15:38)
[foreign language 00:16:40].

Speaker 5: (15:38)
[foreign language 00:17:50].

Justin Trudeau: (18:46)
[foreign language 00:08:13]. We brought forward important measures on banning the sale, the purchase, and the use of military style assault weapons in this country. This is a significant step towards more gun control in this country, and a very important one, but there are many other steps to take and there are many details to be worked out on exactly how the buyback program will work, whether and what sort of grandfathering there might be. These are things that we will be working on as we move forward towards legislation. We will have to work with other parties in the house, not just because we want to establish a strong consensus, but because in a minority parliament it is necessary to get the support of other parties. And I know that both the Bloc Quebecois and the NDP are very strong aligned with us in wanting more and better gun control. And we’re going to work together and I’m sure we’re going to be able to get the right balance for Canadians to keep people safe in their communities as we move forward.

Speaker 6: (20:00)
[ foreign language 00:10:00].

Justin Trudeau: (20:01)
[French 00:20:00].

Speaker 7: (20:01)
In English, please.

Justin Trudeau: (21:44)
We have been extremely transparent with Canadians about the investments we’re making in this unprecedented times, whether it’s the billions of dollars in support for Canadian families across the country or measures that we’re moving forward with to support small businesses. We have been announcing just about every single day, me here or ministers, what we’re doing and sharing it with Canadians.

Justin Trudeau: (22:12)
A budget typically is an expression of what people can expect in the coming year, both in terms of how the economy is going to unfold, what sort of measures are going to be brought in. And in normal times, it’s usually pretty accurate. Right now, we’re in a situation where there is a tremendous degree of uncertainty as to what the economy could look like six months from now, what the economy could look like three months from now, what’s going to happen in the coming weeks. So while we are continuing to be open and transparent, the reflection on at what point we might be able to present a budget or even just an economic update is ongoing. We will continue to keep everyone apprised of what we’re doing and what we see coming. And we’ll continue to look for ways to share with Canadians.

Speaker 7: (23:48)
[ French 00: 03:02].

Justin Trudeau: (24:12)
[French 00:03:13].

Kevin Gallagher: (24:16)
Kevin Gallagher with CTV, National News. Prime Minister, I just want to go back to the question about potential financial aid for the airline sector. Air Canada posted a first quarter billion dollar loss or in excess of a billion dollars. I just want you to clarify your answer. It seemed that our bailouts for affected industries that have been especially hard hit during this pandemic off the table, is there any possibility outside of the programs you’ve already announced?

Justin Trudeau: (24:46)
We moved forward very quickly on supports for workers through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, which is being taken up by companies large and small across the country including airlines who see this as a real way of making sure that when life starts to return to normal, they are able to get their employees back to work very quickly. This was the emergency priority that we had as a government to ensure that Canadians from coast to coast to coast would be okay to be able to stay at home, to be able to buy their groceries and support their families and pay their rents and do the things that would allow us to stay safe.

Justin Trudeau: (25:33)
But we recognize that companies large and small in various sectors across this country are particularly hard hit by COVID-19. I think of the airline industry. I think of the tourism sector. I think of the energy sector and other significant sectors that will require more support on that. We will be looking at sectoral supports. We will be making announcements on that in the coming days or week. It is something we have to get right, but we will be looking at measures to ensure that some of our most important sectors for the Canadian economy continue to stay strong through this pandemic and mostly beyond it.

Kevin Gallagher: (26:20)
There is a great deal of concern from employees at the Cargill meat processing plant in High River, Alberta that are going back to work now after the plant was shut down because of the death and multiple cases there for COVID-19. You said last week that top priority is ensuring worker’s safety. These workers don’t feel safe. What more can the federal government do in terms of inspecting food processing plants to ensure the utmost safety during this time?

Justin Trudeau: (26:52)
We’re working with provinces across the country to ensure that the supply chain for agriculture continues and that worker safety is upheld. That is a provincial area of responsibility, but the federal government has a role to play as well, particularly around ensuring that there are adequate safeguards and PPEs in place. One will remember that the CFIB, Canadian Food Inspectors, are designed to inspect the food for safety, are ensuring that the way meat is handled, the way vegetables are processed is not putting Canadian safety at risk. The responsibility for the protection of the workers in that place is not the primary or hasn’t been the primary responsibility of the CFIB. That is much more for provincial labor codes, but we will of course be there to support the provinces in it’s work to ensure both the continued flow of supply chains for our food, but also the protection of workers who could be vulnerable right across the country.

Justin Trudeau: (29:06)
[French 00:08: 09].

Bryan Mullan: (29:08)
Bryan Mullan, Global News. Prime Minister, a question about the Policing the Pandemic report, which shows 5.8 million in fines have been levied against Canadians for COVID-19 enforcement. How do you reconcile the support the federal government is providing to Canadians with the fact that other levels of government are handing out substantial amounts of fines?

Justin Trudeau: (29:26)
I think it’s extremely important that Canadians continue to behave as we have largely in social distancing and staying home, in keeping ourselves, our loved ones, our families, our extended families, our seniors, our healthcare workers, and our essential workers safe from rapid spread of COVID-19. The federal supports that we’ve given to workers, to families, to students, to people right across the country have been so that people can stay home, so that they can engage in social distancing, so they do-

Justin Trudeau: (30:03)
… prevent further spread of COVID-19. And we are seeing over the past weeks the curve is flattening and we are on a positive trajectory. We are not out of the woods however, and it requires us to continue to remain attentive and vigilant in following the instruction set out by our public health officials. And that’s why different jurisdictions have different, more specific rules suitable for their own jurisdictions. And that is also why they have taken it upon themselves as a responsibility to ensure that those rules be followed for the protection of all Canadians.

Bryan Mullan: (30:43)
On sending your kids back to school, what specific protections would you want to see in place so that kids and teachers are safe?

Justin Trudeau: (30:50)
I think obviously that’s an area of provincial jurisdiction that I won’t weigh in as prime minister, but as a parent I can certainly say that looking at what sort of social distancing measures will be in place. What are the kids going to do at recess? What are the kids going to do at lunch? How many kids are going to be in a classroom? How my kids are going to be kept safe, are things that all parents are thinking about and all parents will want to see that the school system, the province, the teachers are grappling with before we move forward in the next steps. And I know that there are an awful lot of people at all those different levels working on that right now.

Olivia Stefanovich: (31:31)
Good morning, prime minister Olivia Stefanovich, CBC news. How do you feel about countries that aren’t contributing to this global pledge but have in the past and have the means to do so again?

Justin Trudeau: (31:42)
I think this is a moment for people to come together and recognize that we all have ways of contributing to solving this problem. I think it is a global pandemic and what happens outside our borders, no matter how well we handle what’s going on inside our borders, will have an impact on us directly with potential further spread of COVID-19, or indirectly with disrupted supply chains and a weakened global economy upon which we all depend. I think we need to look at doing our part. Certainly Canada has a long and storied tradition now of stepping up, as we mark the 75th anniversary of Canadians liberating the Netherlands tomorrow. We know that Canadians have always stepped up and will continue to step up because we recognize that our role within the world does matter and I would encourage all countries to see that the only way we’re going to get through this is if we get through this together.

Olivia Stefanovich: (32:46)
On another matter, in Canada, women have been hit harder than men by COVID-19 and when you look at many sectors that employ women such as the service industry, they are suffering right now. So I’m wondering how can your government ensure women aren’t set back by this virus?

Justin Trudeau: (33:02)
I think a number of people have talked about the fact that this is a economic crisis that has hit our most vulnerable and most marginalized peoples most. Women have been extremely hard hit in the service sector, in the home care sector, as well as a number of marginal and more challenged communities, whether it be new Canadians or whether it be young people. We need to make sure, and that’s why as a government we’ve moved forward on protecting vulnerable people with the Canada emergency response benefit, with extra help for charitable organizations and networks that are there to work for each other. One of the things that has been a real preoccupation for this government is when we tell people to stay home, to stay safe and their home isn’t safe, what do they do?

Justin Trudeau: (34:03)
The impact of domestic violence at a time of tremendous stress and anxiety for all of us in society that can exacerbate situations of domestic violence is something that we are deeply preoccupied with as a country and as a government. And that’s why we’ve made investments in shelters and in networks to support women fleeing domestic violence. And we will continue to recognize that this pandemic isn’t hitting everyone equally, that the most vulnerable, are, as they so often are, more vulnerable. And that is why we have to do everything we can to support the people who need our help, including and especially women through this.

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