May 5, 2020

Justin Trudeau Canada COVID-19 Press Conference May 5

Justin Trudeau May 5
RevBlogTranscriptsPolitical TranscriptsJustin Trudeau Canada COVID-19 Press Conference May 5

Full transcript of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s May 5 coronavirus press conference for Canada.Trudeau pledged $252M towards Canadian agriculture and food industries

 

Follow Rev Transcripts

Transcribe Your Own Content

Try Rev for free and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.

Justin Trudeau: (00:12)
Hello, everyone. Before we get started, I want to note that today marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands. On this day, we remember the Canadians and Newfoundlanders who liberated the Netherlands from the tyranny of the Nazis. We also pay tribute to the deep bonds that were forged between Canada and the Netherlands. We honor the incredible courage and sacrifice of our veterans in whom we are forever in their debt. Time and time again Canadians step up in periods of crisis to help each other, to help our friends. We saw it 75 years ago on the battlefields of the Second World War, and we’re seeing it once again during this pandemic.

Justin Trudeau: (02:21)
[foreign language 00:01:11].

Justin Trudeau: (02:24)
Today, we’re announcing more than $77 million to support food processors during this crisis. This is money that they can use to purchase personal protective equipment for workers, adapt to health protocols, and support other social distancing measures. It will also help expand or adapt our processing capacity to increase the amount of Canadian products we make domestically.

Justin Trudeau: (02:51)
[foreign language 00:01:09].

Justin Trudeau: (03:37)
To help cattle and hog producers we will launch a $125 million national agri-recovery initiative. Farms and processing plants are raising more animals than the system can process into things like steak and bacon because of COVID-19. For many farmers, this crisis means that they have to keep animals for longer periods of time, and that can be expensive. So with this funding, we’re giving extra help to beef and pork producers so that they can adapt to this crisis. This is an initial investment and if we need to add more, we will.

Justin Trudeau: (04:46)
[foreign language 00:04:21].

Justin Trudeau: (04:54)
With hotels and restaurants closed, too much of certain types of food like milk, butter, and potatoes is being produced. While some donations have been made to food banks, we don’t have the capacity right now to redistribute such large quantities of food and some producers have no choice but to throw out their product. It’s a waste of food and a loss of revenue for the people who worked so hard to produce it. To avoid this, we’re launching a surplus food purchase program starting with a $50 million fund. The government will buy large quantities of certain products at risk of going waste, say like say potatoes or poultry, and redistribute them to organizations addressing food insecurity. This will help ensure that our farmers are being compensated for their hard work and that our most vulnerable have access to fresh food during this crisis. Taken together, these measures represent a $252 million investment to support the people who keep our grocery stores stocked and our families fed.

Justin Trudeau: (06:05)
[foreign language 00:06:05].

Justin Trudeau: (06:11)
That said, we know that farmers still have concerns about what this pandemic means for their industry longterm. Having enough workers for harvesting later in the season, having enough personal protective equipment for workers, these are valid concerns and I can assure you that we are working with farmers, stakeholders, and provinces and territories to find lasting solutions. I’m going to close today by thanking every person who works in our food industry. People are spending a lot more time in the kitchen, cooking for an elderly neighbor, cooking for themselves, discovering new recipes, trying to make sourdough, these days especially cooking and baking is about more than nourishment, it’s also about relieving stress, finding a community, supporting each other, creating memories. You help make that possible. So we’re here for all of you and the agri-food industry and we will continue to be here for you.

Justin Trudeau: (07:15)
[foreign language 00:07:17].

Speaker 2: (07:15)
[foreign language 00:07:30].

Speaker 3: (08:55)
Thank you. [foreign language 00:07:38].

Michelle Lemash: (09:14)
[foreign language 00:07:42].

Justin Trudeau: (09:14)
[foreign language 00:07:59].

Speaker 2: (09:14)
[foreign language 00:08:20].

Speaker 5: (09:14)
[foreign language 00:08:28].

Justin Trudeau: (09:14)
[foreign language 00:08:40]. Modeling has always been there not as a crystal ball to tell us what was going to happen but to tell us the range of things that might happen depending on our behaviors, depending on measures brought in. That’s why we’ve been constantly updating it, constantly moving forward with new measures to try and make sure we’re doing everything we can to keep Canadians safe and we will continue to do just that.

Speaker 2: (09:42)
[foreign language 00:09:43].

Speaker 3: (09:46)
Thank you. Next question, Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press. Line open.

Stephanie Levitz: (09:54)
Good morning, Prime Minister. When you briefed Canadians about the helicopter crash last week, did you know there were eyewitnesses, and why does it take 12 hours to confirm that the helicopter had crashed?

Justin Trudeau: (10:07)
The military has very important protocols in place when there is a tragic incident like this around informing the next of kin, of talking to the families as quickly as possible before sharing information with the general public. All those protocols were followed.

Speaker 2: (10:27)
Follow up question.

Stephanie Levitz: (10:30)
As a followup, in your remarks, you made a point of thanking Minister Bibeau with regards to her work on agriculture. There’s been a lot of frustration coming out of that community that the relatively delayed response to their demands as it compares to, let’s say, more urban concerns is a direct reflection of the lack of support for your government in the Prairie provinces. Can you address that?

Justin Trudeau: (10:51)
We move forward initially with supports for workers in all industries across the country with the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, with the wage subsidy, with measures to support small businesses. These are the kinds of things that have had an impact in urban and rural areas. Furthermore, we’ve continued to work with farmers and food producers right across the country to respond to their needs. We have a large and varied country in terms of the challenges being faced in different regions and we’ve been very diligent about responding to the agricultural industry right across the country, including with a significant announcement today that’s going to help people right across the country.

Speaker 2: (11:38)
Thank you. Operator, next question.

Speaker 3: (11:41)
Thank you. Next question, Steve Shrerer, Reuters. Line open.

Speaker 7: (11:49)
Thank you, Prime Minister, for taking my question. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture had asked for support for all sectors. The announcement today seems to be targeted to specific sectors, what do you say producers in the vegetable industry, for the grains industry, that are also facing [inaudible 00:12:09]?

Justin Trudeau: (12:11)
Every step of the way in this crisis we’ve been responding in targeted ways to the industries that need our support in as rapid a fashion as we can. The first things we did was put out broad based support to workers in industries right across the country that could continue to pay their rent and pay their groceries as quickly as possible with the CERB, with now the wage subsidy, with other measures to support small businesses and we’re continuing to do just that. There are certain sectors that are more pressing in their needs for supports, but like I said, this is only an initial amount of support. We will continue to work with farmers, with stakeholders and industry representatives, with provinces and territories to ensure that our food capacity in this country and those people who work so incredibly hard every single day to feed Canadians get the support that they need through this crisis and beyond.

Speaker 2: (13:16)
As a followup?

Speaker 7: (13:18)
And you say this isn’t an initial amount of funding, but the initial ask from the Canadian Federation of Agriculture was $2.6 billion. Spring season starting now so do you have a timeline for when the additional funding that you’re saying could come is going to show up?

Justin Trudeau: (13:34)
We’re responding to pressing needs in terms of processors, in terms of predictability and support for farmers and for producers. We know that there is more to do and we will keep working with them to determine exactly how we can best help. We will be there for our agricultural producers because they are so important to all Canadians. The hard work they do and the support they give us all needs to be respected, reflected on, and mostly supported.

Speaker 2: (14:05)
[foreign language 00:14:05].

Speaker 3: (14:05)
Thank you. [foreign language 00:14:13].

Speaker 8: (14:05)
[foreign language 00:14:15].

Justin Trudeau: (14:05)
[foreign language 00:14:29]

Speaker 2: (14:05)
[foreign language 00:15:01].

Speaker 8: (14:05)
[foreign language 00:15:06].

Justin Trudeau: (15:32)
[foreign language 00:15:18].

Tom Perry: (15:41)
Hi, Prime Minister, Tom Perry with CBC. These companies that run these meat packing plants, they’re big multinational organizations, so why is it up to the federal government to make sure that they keep their workers safe?

Justin Trudeau: (15:53)
We were, of course, supporting the provinces on their initiatives to keep their workers safe. This is something the federal government is happy to help with. Indeed, the responsibility is shared from the owners and operators of the plants to the provincial government, but the federal government is happy to be part of creating solutions in this situation where we’re in an unprecedented crisis. We need to keep people safe, but we also need to ensure a supply of food for Canadians.

Tom Perry: (16:22)
And a lot of the workers that work in these plants, they’re not just working in cramped conditions, they’re living in cramped conditions, so is any of this money or is there anything more the government can do to help them to keep them from spreading COVID-19 at the workplace, but also at home?

Justin Trudeau: (16:37)
Part of the money that we’re sending to help this industry and these areas is to look at the different ways they can keep their employees and these workers safe. These are things that the provinces will have to look at very closely, but the federal government, as always, we’ll be there to support and, and to make sure that Canadians food supply is safe while we keep people safe from COVID-19. [foreign language 00:17:06].

Speaker 10: (17:03)
[foreign language 00:17:40].

Justin Trudeau: (17:03)
[foreign language 00:17:57].

Speaker 10: (17:03)
[foreign language 00:18:29].

Justin Trudeau: (19:12)
[foreign language 00:18:52].

Molly Thomas: (19:20)
Hi, Prime Minister, Molly Thomas, CTV National News. You talked about food waste. Do you have any idea how much food Canadian farmers were forced to throw out? And is this announcement too late when we think of what’s already been lost?

Justin Trudeau: (19:32)
We know we’re in an unprecedented crisis and we’ve had to respond very, very quickly. Unfortunately, there have been a number of farmers who’ve had to dispose of surplus production, but at the same time, this is a new program we’re bringing in around surplus food that will invest $50 million in buying much of that surplus and ensuring that it doesn’t go to waste, that it goes to communities and families who actually need support in terms of food security. It is not a perfect situation by any stretch but we are doing what we can to try and make sure that people are rewarded for their hard work and that others aren’t going hungry.

Justin Trudeau: (20:15)
[foreign language 00:20:17].

Molly Thomas: (20:53)
Prime Minister, Canada, of course, is one of the top five food exporters in the world. How bad is our backlog to get food out to foreign markets right now? And what’s the plan from the federal government to ensure that Canadian products get out there so farmers can plan accordingly?

Justin Trudeau: (21:07)
We’ve seen significant disruptions in global supply chains. We are working very hard to continue to maintain supply chains to our major markets, particularly the United States but also others around the world, because food security is a preoccupation for everyone and Canada is an important part of the solution. We need to make sure we’re doing the best we can. We also need to make sure that we have enough food for Canadians as well, but we are confident that our extraordinary hardworking farmers and producers in the agricultural industry will be up to the task and we will be there to support them every step of the way.

Janet Silver: (21:48)
Prime Minister, Janet Silver, Global News. Earlier you said that your government was working with farmers and stakeholders define longterm solutions for labor shortages for fruit and vegetable producers. I’m just wondering if you could elaborate on what options you are looking at to address those labor shortages.

Justin Trudeau: (22:04)
We recognize that there is a need for extra help when it comes to harvesting fruits and vegetables in the coming months. That’s why administer Bibeau, who will be at the press conference at noon, will be able to answer your questions on what exactly we’re looking at in terms of ensuring that producers have the support they need.

Janet Silver: (22:26)
If I could switch gears a little bit, you’re announcing money today for the agricultural sector. The airline industry is saying they will not be able to get through the financial challenges of COVID-19 without some sort of government assistance and I’m wondering when there is an announcement expected on this and if it will come with any conditions?

Justin Trudeau: (22:45)
First of all, I want to highlight how pleased we are that a number of airlines have taken on the wage subsidy. The ability to rehire hardworking Canadians who haven’t been able to work because flights have been so massively reduced is a good thing for their families, good thing for their communities, and a good thing for the industry as well to ensure that people who work in the airline industry will continue to be connected to those jobs that will come back once this pandemic is through. At the same time, as I said yesterday, we are looking at more specific sectoral supports for industries in areas that are particularly hard hit because of COVID-19.

Justin Trudeau: (23:28)
We think of the tourism sector, we think of the energy sector, we think of the airline industry. We are working very closely with experts and industry representatives to see what kind of support we can do to ensure that the systems and the economy that we had that was flourishing before this pandemic will continue to do well for all Canadians for the coming years. [foreign language 00:23:53].