Jun 16, 2020
Justin Trudeau Canada COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript June 16
Full transcript of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Monday, June 16 coronavirus press briefing. Trudeau said US-Canada border restrictions will be extended to July 21 and CERB will be extended another 8 weeks. Read the full speech transcript here.
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Justin Trudeau: (00:00)
[foreign language 00:00:11]. Hello everyone. Over the past few months, we’ve introduced programs that are making a real difference in the lives of millions of people, right across the country. Take the Rose and Crown Pub in Kenmore, Alberta. As they were getting ready to welcome customers again, they used the wage subsidy to rehire 15 employees, and they got a loan through the Canada Emergency Business Account so they could buy personal protective equipment, plexiglass, screens, and additional handwashing stations to comply with public health guidelines. That’s good news for people who are now back on the job and for locals who miss their favorite neighborhood spot.
Justin Trudeau: (00:46)
When this crisis first began, a lot of people lost their jobs overnight. They didn’t know how they were going to feed their families or pay their bills. So our government responded rapidly and substantially to support Canadians with programs like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.
Justin Trudeau: (01:06)
Three months later, we’re beginning to see across the country that we’re now in a place where we’re gradually and safely starting to reopen parts of the economy, but I’m not going to sugar coat it. We still have a long journey ahead. Some sectors will bounce back more quickly than others. Many workers will be able to find work, but others won’t. Over the past few months, Canadians have been able to count on the Canada emergency response benefit to help them get through a tough time. And the reality is that even as we start to reopen, a lot of people still need the support to pay their bills while they look for work. That’s why today I am announcing that we will be extending eligibility for the CERB by eight weeks. So if you’ve been getting the CERB and you still can’t work because you’re unable to find a job or it’s just not possible, you will keep getting that $ 2,000 a month.
Justin Trudeau: (02:02)
Over the next few weeks, our government will look at international best practices and monitor the economy and the progression of the virus to see what changes, if any, need to be made to the program so that more people are properly supported. But I want to be very clear with Canadians. Our goal here is to make sure that the CERB is working for you in the best way possible. Our government will continue to be there for you. This pandemic is an unprecedented challenge for our country, and we’re going to make sure that all of our supports,, including the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and employment insurance are working effectively to get Canadians back on their feet. That’s also a big part of the reason why I proposed to give the provinces and territories $14 billion to make sure that you have childcare, that there’s testing and tracing, and that your workplace is safe. As the situation evolves, so too must our response evolve with it. And that’s what we’re going to keep doing.
Justin Trudeau: (03:08)
[foreign language 00:03: 19].
Justin Trudeau: (05:46)
I want to close this morning with some news regarding the Canada US border. I can now confirm that Canada and the United States have once again agreed to extend by 30 days until July 21st the current measures in place along our border. This is an important decision that will keep people in both of our countries safe.
Justin Trudeau: (06:09)
[foreign language 00:06:12].
Speaker 1: (06:12)
Thank you, Prime Minister. We’ll now go to the phone for questions. One question, one follow up. Operator?
Speaker 2: (06:43)
Thank you. [foreign language 00:06:44]. For questions, please press star. [foreign language 00:06:51]. First question, Christy Kirkup, the Globe and Mail. Line open.
Christy Kirkup: (06:53)
Good morning, Prime Minister. Many legal experts say that one concrete thing that your government could do to reduce the harm caused to black and indigenous communities would be to remove all mandatory minimum sentences in the criminal code. Will your government make this commitment?
Justin Trudeau: (07:13)
That is certainly one of the clear recommendations that is coming out. There’s a clear message today from the parliamentary black caucus to that effect. And we’re going to continue to look at that and other measures that we can move forward to make sure that our justice system does not continue to be unfair towards a racialized Canadians and indigenous Canadians. [foreign language 00:07:53].
Christy Kirkup: (07:57)
And Prime Minister, Mexico has halted sending upwards of 5,000 additional workers to Canada until it has assurances that there will be a closer monitoring of health and safety rules and until there’s a better grasp of what went so wrong. What will you do to address their concerns?
Justin Trudeau: (08:14)
I spoke with President Lopez Obrador just a couple of days ago. We touched on this topic. I shared my sympathies and condolences to the families of the Mexican workers who passed away here in Canada. We are also as a country preoccupied with what has happened and we are going to make sure that we’re following up, not just with our partners around the world, but with Canadians to ensure that we know what happened and we make sure that we’re keeping all workers in Canada safe. [foreign language 00:08: 54].
Justin Trudeau: (09:00)
Speaker 4: (09:49)
Thank you. [French 00:00:08].
Speaker 5: (10:05)
Justin Trudeau: (10:08)
Speaker 6: (10:09)
Justin Trudeau: (10:12)
We knew that moving forward with our bill would give us further measures to encourage people and to make sure that people were taking work when it came up. We’re still looking at ways of moving forward to encourage people to look for work and to make sure that they are taking jobs that become available. The reality is that there are 3 million people out of work who are looking for work. And even as our economy is reopening, there are many, many more people out of work, willing to work then there are jobs available and that’ll be the story for the coming weeks as well. So we’re going to keep encouraging people to take jobs when they do, and we’ve seen just with the job numbers, that many, many people have been returning to work from all income ranges, but we know there’s more to do and we will keep working on it.
Speaker 3: (11:05)
Justin Trudeau: (11:05)
Speaker 3: (11:05)
Thank you. Operator, next question.
Speaker 4: (12:04)
Thank you. [French 00:12:04] Next question, Alex Ballingall, Toronto Star, line open.
Alex Ballingall: (12:14)
Morning, Prime Minister. Just returning to the statement from the Parliamentary Black Caucus. Have you had a chance to read through it? And I see that it’s been signed by a number of supporters, including some of your cabinet ministers. Should we take that as a signal that you’re willing to move on this stuff? Or will you commit to fulfilling the list of demands that we see in that statement?
Justin Trudeau: (12:36)
I’ve said many times we are committed to moving forward on a huge range of measures. We’re working with communities, we’re working with leaders like members of the Parliamentary Black Caucus to identify what exactly we need to move forward first in priority on. But I think it’s really important that we all come forward and look at bold ideas that we can take on very soon to fix the systemic discrimination that continues to exist in our country.
Speaker 8: (13:05)
Justin Trudeau: (13:09)
Okay. [French 00:13:10]
Speaker 3: (13:23)
You want to follow up, Alex?
Alex Ballingall: (13:41)
Is it be the treasury board website’s data published on the website? So the RCMP spending has gone up by 32% since the year you took power, which is about $900 million in spending. So I’m wondering if you can tell us why that budget has gone up so much. And if you’re looking at that statement you just discussed the calls for? Looking at reallocating some of that spending to different programs?
Justin Trudeau: (14:10)
We are always going to make sure that money invested in keeping Canadians safe is spent exactly the right way. We took office at a time where the previous government had made budgetary cuts to a range of law enforcement and security services. And therefore we needed to make sure that there was an ability to continue to keep Canadians safe. But at the same time, I think what we’ve seen over the past weeks and what we’ve heard from black racialized and indigenous Canadians, very clearly, not just over the past weeks, but over years means that we do have to look at budgets. We do have to look at allocation of funds. We do have to look at how we’re making sure that community supports, community programs, grassroots organizations, and various support programs are also properly funded.
Speaker 3: (14:59)
Speaker 8: (14:59)
Justin Trudeau: (16:09)
Okay. [French 00:06:03].
Speaker 3: (16:12)
[French 00:16:12] Operator.
Speaker 4: (16:12)
Thank you. [French 00:15:38].
Speaker 3: (16:12)
Justin Trudeau: (16:12)
Justin Trudeau: (19:05)
[foreign language 00:19:05] Minister, Ralph Goodale. [foreign language 00:19:40]
Mia Rabson: (20:14)
Justin Trudeau: (20:18)
We know that there are still families reeling from the terrible loss of the Iran Air take down. We know that there’s a lot more work to do. The black boxes have been promised to be transferred to France, but Iran is saying that they can’t do it right now because of COVID. Obviously, even though there’s a pandemic we’re continuing to work on this issue. I spoke with President Zelensky of Ukraine just a couple of days ago where this issue was discussed. We’re going to continue to put pressure on the Iranian regime, alongside our international partners to get answers, to get justice, to get compensation for the families. This is something we’ve committed to do and we will continue to do. The honorable Ralph Goodale is leading this effort for Canada and continues to be closely engaged on it.
Mia Rabson: (21:11)
Mia Rabson from The Canadian Press. Is your government willing to do what’s needed to allow the Canadian cities to be part of the hub for the NHL to continue to play, and when will that decision be made?
Justin Trudeau: (21:21)
We have indicated that we are comfortable with moving forward on an NHL hub in one of three Canadian cities that are asking for it. Obviously, the decision needs to be made by the NHL and the cities, and provinces, in the jurisdiction, but Canada is open to it as long as it is okay by the local health authorities.
Mia Rabson: (21:46)
The black parliamentary caucus has a number of economic measures that they’re specifically asking for help, too, in the COVID-19 recovery for black-owned businesses, as well as more work from the government, to include businesses owned by black Canadians and procurement. Are you ready to commit to those things specifically going forward?
Justin Trudeau: (22:26)
Many of these things were things that we are already working on along with the liberal black caucus. Yes, we know that there are significant economic measures that have been brought to the fore by this pandemic that were already existing challenges, and the success of black-owned businesses, black entrepreneurs, and young black professionals, has been something that I’ve had many discussions on over the past couple of years with members of the black community in Canada. We will be moving forward on a number of those recommendations.
Tom Parry: (22:59)
Hi, Prime Minister, Tom Parry, CBC. The vote on the UN Security Council seat is coming up. You’ve been speaking to your fellow leaders. You’ve been lobbying hard. I’m wondering just how you’re feeling about Canada’s chances going into this vote?
Justin Trudeau: (23:57)
As I’ve said from the beginning, getting a seat on the UN Security Council for Canada is not an end in itself, it’s a means to an end. It’s a way for Canada to continue to be influential and have an impact in multilateralism and around the world. Over the past number of months, whether it’s been on COVID, whether it’s been on development and financial reform, whether it’s been on climate change, whether it’s been on a range of things from peacekeeping, to security, to women, we have been moving forward and leading the way. We will continue to do that. What we’ve done over the past months, yes, has been talking about the security council, but also looking for ways concretely where Canada can be more engaged on the world stage. Regardless of what happens in the campaign we are more engaged, and we will continue to be more engaged on the world stage.
Janet Silver: (25:57)
Prime minister, Janet Silver, Global News. The pitch that, and just to follow up on our pitch for a seat at the United Nations Security Council, the pitch from a year ago seems to be somewhat different than we’re making now, and I’m wondering if you can talk to us about how the pandemic has influenced, and has changed, what you’re saying to members of the United Nations Security Council who can vote.
Justin Trudeau: (26:20)
I think one of the things that we’ve seen through this pandemic is just how interconnected and interdependent the world is. You can take it in a positive and a negative. Obviously, the interconnections have left us more vulnerable to economic shocks and more vulnerable to spreads of virus. But at the same time, that resilience that we’re able to do by leaning on each other, the multiple supply chains that we can create, the establishment of common rules and approaches around things like trade, around things like health approaches, around coordinating international travel, is more important than ever. Now is a time for us to reflect on our multilateral institutions and how they can be improved-
Justin Trudeau: (27:02)
…On our multilateral institutions and how they can be improved. Given this crisis in the 21st century. Many of our multilateral institutions were created 70, 75 years ago, following the tremendous shock and upheaval of World War II. And those institutions have served us well as a world over the past many decades, but this crisis is an opportunity for us to rethink them and to think about what is truly needed to make sure that we have a fairer more just world, to make sure that the most vulnerable within our countries and around the world are better supported, better protected, and given better opportunities.
Justin Trudeau: (27:38)
And at this moment, the ability for countries to convene together, to pull together different voices is more important than ever before. And Canada of identity, having a seat at the G7 table, at the G20 table, at APEC, at the Commonwealth, at la Francophonie, the organization of American States, and many other different multilateral tables has always been able to pull people together and move forward concretely. And right now, as we look at the kind of world we’re going to come out of a post COVID, we need a country like Canada that is big enough to make a difference, but small enough to know we can’t do it alone and we will continue to work together.
Speaker 12: (28:19)
Justin Trudeau: (29:36)
Okay. [French 00:28:21]
Speaker 13: (29:40)
You spoke earlier, sir, about temporary foreign workers from Mexico coming here and contacting COVID-19, and you said you were looking at measures to make it safer. I’m wondering, what specifically are you going to do to make sure it is safer for temporary foreign workers to come here to Canada?
Justin Trudeau: (29:56)
Okay. We know that there are many issues from living conditions to the fact that they’re tied individually to particular companies or employers to various challenges around labor standards that require looking at. And we can even look at things like pathways towards citizenship that could give people more rights. We rely on temporary foreign workers for a large part of our agricultural production in this Canada, in this country. But we should always take advantage of moments of crisis to reflect on can we change the system to do better? Better for Canadians, but also better by the people who come here and make sure we stay fed.
Speaker 12: (30:42)
Justin Trudeau: (30:46)
Okay. [ French 00:03:42].
Annie Bergeron-Oliver: (31:19)
Hello, Prime Minister. It’s Annie Bergeron-Oliver with CT National News. For 16 months, Canadian Yasser Albaz has been arbitrarily detained in a crowded Egyptian prison. And recently he has developed severe COVID-like symptoms. Will you make a personal appeal to President Sisi to release him? And what challenges does your government face bringing somebody home who may have COVID?
Justin Trudeau: (31:39)
First of all, we have continued to get consular support and access. It is something that this government takes very seriously, the health and safety of Canadians detained abroad, and we will continue to do everything we can to ensure that they are properly treated, and eventually if possible, brought home. At the same time, the question of ensuring a safe return because of COVID is always an issue, but we have measures around quarantine, measures around safety protocols in place. That means that wouldn’t be a barrier if this individual were to be able to return home. [French 00:32:18]