Jun 2, 2020
Justin Trudeau Canada COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript June 2
Full transcript of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Tuesday, June 2 coronavirus press briefing. He addressed the George Floyd protests in the US & Trump’s comments on military action. He paused for about 20 seconds when asked about the US & Trump before answering.
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Justin Trudeau: (00:00)
[foreign language 00:00:03]. Later today, I’ll be in the House of Commons to speak about what I know is on a lot of Canadians minds. I’ll have more to say then, but for now I want to address the role that we as leaders and allies have to play. As politicians, we must listen and learn about what needs to be done to fight racism, discrimination, and justice, because being an ally is about taking a hard look at our existing systems and being committed to doing the necessary work to fix them. Our government is ready to take action. [foreign language 00:00:40]. As we move through this pandemic, I know a lot of Canadians are wondering when their community will be able to get back up and running. The short answer is that it depends on where you live, and how things are going for your city or your region. That’s why every province and territory has its own plan to restart. But as I said yesterday, as a country, defeating COVID-19 is something we must do together. Our government knows that, which is why I’ve been collaborating with the premiers on a shared approach moving forward. Yesterday, we took a first step with some funding from municipalities. Of course, help for cities and towns is just one piece of the puzzle. We know that provinces and territories also need support on securing personal protective equipment and other vital supplies. And here too, we’re stepping up.
Justin Trudeau: (02:24)
Since day one, our government has been working around the clock to secure vital PPE. Just take the fact that we’ve received more than a hundred million surgical masks and nearly 40 million gloves, and are continuing to send a whole range of supplies to the provinces and territories. Or that we’ve signed a contract for millions of syringes to have the supplies needed once a vaccine is ready. Working with suppliers from around the world is key to keeping Canadians safe, but at the end of the day, one of the best ways to ensure we have what we need, well, it’s to make it right here at home.
Justin Trudeau: (03:05)
Our government has been working with Canadian manufacturer to make that happen. Over half of our face shields were produced in Canada, working with companies like Canadian Shield with retooled to manufacture visors, and went from 10 employees to 200, is a win win. Not only do we build our capacity to make these supplies at home, we support good jobs for Canadians, and the same goes for testing. We’re now funding for Canadian companies working on what may be breakthrough solutions for COVID-19 rapid testing, Deep Biologics in Guelph, Nicoya Lifesciences in Kitchener, [inaudible 00:03:45] Edmonton, and Metabolic Insights in Colona.
Justin Trudeau: (03:51)
This is on top of the support we’ve already [inaudible 00:03:53] testing, including for Precision Biomonitoring, as they set up a test kit manufacturing facility in Ontario. We’re making huge progress, but we have to keep going. As we restart the economy, demand for supplies will go up, and Canada must be able to keep up. So whether it’s N95 masks or ICU equipment, we will continue our work with the provinces and territories on the supplies we need going forward. [foreign language 00:04: 26].
Justin Trudeau: (05:54)
To support Canadian jobs, to restart economy, we have to work together. And it’s not just as governments, but across sectors too. Last month, we set up the Industry Strategy Council led by Minister Bains, and chaired by Monique Leroux. Their mandate is to take a deeper dive into the specific challenges and pressers that different industries are facing. Today, Minister Bains announced the council’s membership, nine business leaders from across the country, who each represent a different pillar of our economy. This team will bring together government and industry to meet and discuss regularly as we plan our path forward. [ foreign language 00:06: 37].
Justin Trudeau: (07:49)
I want to end this morning by recognizing that today is the La Festa della Repubblica, which is the perfect time to wish everyone a happy Italian Heritage Month. For generations, Italian Canadians have made our country stronger, better.
Justin Trudeau: (08:03)
… generations Italian-Canadians have made our country a stronger, better place. So it comes as no surprise that during this pandemic, just like always, this community is stepping up to help. Maybe you’ve been taking groceries over to an elderly neighbor, or maybe you were one of many who helped raise a million dollars for the Italian Red Cross. How ever you’re lending a hand, thank you. It just goes to show that we are stronger together. [foreign language 00:00:27].
Speaker 2: (08:42)
[foreign language 00:00:50].
Speaker 3: (08:47)
Thank you, [foreign language 00:00:57]. First question, Lee [inaudible 00:01:00], the Canadian Press, line open.
Yes, Prime Minister. Thanks for talking to us today. I’d like to know what, if anything, your government plans to do to help Canadians and activists leave Hong Kong. Specifically, is Canada prepared to get pro-democracy advocates safe haven or asylum in Canada?
Justin Trudeau: (09:18)
Canada is a country that has always welcomed people from around the world fleeing persecution and violence. We have a strong immigration system that looks at individual cases, looks at systemic challenges and responds to them. And I know our system is doing just that. [foreign language 00:01:34].
Speaker 4: (09:50)
As a follow up?
So you’re not committing to any action to help Hong Kong at this point in time?
Justin Trudeau: (09:58)
No, we continue to be-
[crosstalk 00:10:02] activists in Hong Kong?
Justin Trudeau: (10:02)
We continue to be very concerned about the situation in Hong Kong. We have 300,000 Canadian citizens who live in Hong Kong, and millions of others who are fighting for justice and peace. These are things that we obviously are watching and following very carefully. We will continue to stand up for peace, for dialogue, for de-escalation of tensions, and for Beijing to engage constructively with the people of Hong Kong.
Speaker 4: (10:30)
Thank you. Operator, next question?
Speaker 3: (10:33)
Thank you, [foreign language 00:02:34].
Speaker 5: (11:14)
[foreign language 00:00:10:39].
Justin Trudeau: (11:18)
[foreign language 00:02:49]. I understand that discussions are ongoing between the NHL, the government, and public health authorities. I think everyone would love to see some games played in any number of Canadian cities. But at the same time, we need to make sure that what we’re doing is keeping Canadians safe every step of the way. That’s why discussions are ongoing between public health and the interested parties.
Speaker 2: (11:53)
[foreign language 00:03:50].
Speaker 5: (12:29)
[foreign language 00: 03:52].
Justin Trudeau: (12:37)
[foreign language 00:04:05].
Speaker 2: (12:41)
[foreign language 00:04:44].
Speaker 3: (12:47)
Thank you, [foreign language 00:12:47].
Speaker 6: (12:47)
[foreign language 00:12:52].
Justin Trudeau: (12:47)
[foreign language 00:13:13].
Speaker 6: (14:00)
[foreign language 00:06:04]-
Justin Trudeau: (14:07)
We are firm in our commitment to a two-state solution as a country. I have highlighted both publicly and directly to Prime Minister Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz the importance of staying away from measures that are unilateral and our deep concerns and disagreement with their proposed policy of annexation. We think that the path forward is a two-state solution reached to by dialogue between the parties involved and anything that is unilateral action by either side is unhelpful in the cause of peace.
Speaker 2: (14:50)
[foreign language 00:06:45].
Speaker 6: (14:54)
[foreign language 00:14:44].
Justin Trudeau: (15:08)
[foreign language 00: 06:59].
Speaker 4: (15:24)
Thank you. Operator, last question.
Speaker 3: (15:28)
Thank you, last question. Brett Forester, APTN National News. Line open.
Brett Forester: (15:35)
Hello, Prime Minister, the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was released a year ago. It concluded a genocide happened and is happening in this country. Do you believe indigenous peoples have been and remain subjected to genocide in Canada?
Justin Trudeau: (15:52)
I think the situation that has been faced by indigenous Canadians for decades, for generations, for centuries is appalling and needs to stop. Many people have talked to-
Justin Trudeau: (16:03)
… appalling and needs to stop. Many people have talked about cultural genocide, used very strong words for it and I think there are very strong words necessary to talk about the continued injustice towards indigenous peoples that is ongoing in Canada, which is why we need to do better as a country. We need to work with indigenous partners on the road to reconciliation. We need to be there and respect and partnership. And that is what our government has pledged to do.
Speaker 7: (16:31)
As a followup.
Speaker 8: (16:35)
Yes. What word would you use to describe this? You mentioned cultural genocide. What word would you use to describe this?
Justin Trudeau: (16:44)
You know, I think the words that we continue to focus on is how we use reconciliation, how we use partnership, how we use shared stewardship of the land. How we reach out a hand to fix the grievous historical wrongs. We need to be focused on building a better present and future. And that means recognizing the past, but also putting in place the partnerships to move forward. There are lots of words that can be used. We need to use them and we need to move forward.
Molly Thomas: (17:17)
Hi Prime Minister. Molly Thomas, CTV National News. I was looking at the latest procurement numbers and we have less than 10% of N95 masks that we have asked for across the globe, a fraction of the gloves and gowns that we need. How far away are we from domestically supplying everything that we need for PPE here in Canada? I mean, are we 20% there? Are we 50% there? How far along are we?
Justin Trudeau: (17:40)
From the very beginning, we have worked extremely hard to ensure that our frontline workers and more across the country get the PPE that they need. And we have worked with partners around the globe to procure millions of items to ensure that people are protected. But at the same time, we’ve ramped up local production in a significant way.
Justin Trudeau: (18:02)
We’ve restarted domestic production of many of these items so that we don’t have to be just reliant on overseas imports. That has worked very, very well. We continue to have enough supplies to supply the provinces in their needs right now. But as we reopen, we know we’re going to need more as more and more industries begin to restart and need PPE. That’s why we’re continuing to ramp up production. We’re continuing to ramp up the scale of importation. We will continue to ensure that there is enough PPE right across the country.
Tom Parry: (18:40)
Hi Prime Minister. Tom Parry, CBC. You’ve been reluctant to comment on the words and actions of the US president, but we do have Donald Trump now calling for military action against protesters. We saw protestors tear-gassed yesterday to make way for a presidential photo op, I’d like to ask you what you think about that. And if you don’t want to comment, what messages do you think you’re sending?
(Trudeau pauses for about 20 seconds)
Justin Trudeau: (19:20)
We all watch in horror and consternation what’s going on in the United States. It is a time to pull people together, but it is a time to listen, is a time to learn what injustices continue despite progress over years and decades. But it is a time for us as Canadians to recognize that we too have our challenges. That black Canadians and racialized Canadians face discrimination as a lived reality every single day. There is systemic discrimination in Canada, which means our systems treat Canadians of color, Canadians who are racialized differently than they do others. It is something that many of us don’t see, but it is something that is a lived reality for racialized Canadians. We need to see that, not just as a government and take action, but we need to see that as Canadians.
Justin Trudeau: (20:32)
We need to be allies in the fight against discrimination. We need to listen. We need to learn, and we need to work hard to figure out how we can be part of the solution on fixing things. This government has done a number of things over the past years, but there was lots more to do, and we will continue to do that because we see, we see you, we see the discrimination that racialized Canadians live every single day.
Justin Trudeau: (21:01)
[foreign language 00:21:06].
Tom Parry: (22:37)
Why though are you so reluctant to comment directly on the words and the actions of the US president?
Justin Trudeau: (22:48)
My job as a Canadian Prime Minister is to stand up for Canadians, to stand up for our interests, to stand up for our values. That is what I have done from the very beginning and that is what I will continue to do. Canadians need a government that will be there for them, that will support them and that will move us forward in the right direction. And I will do that. [foreign language 00:07:21]
Marieke Walsh: (23:32)
Marieke Walsh with the Globe and Mail. Prime Minister, in 2017, a UN report on anti-black racism in Canada found continued conditions deplorable. They talked about the inequities that continue in Nova Scotia, for example, 30 years after segregation ended. And one of their recommendations was for your government to issue an apology for Canada’s history of slavery and other historic inequalities and consider reparations. Why haven’t you done that and will you do it?
Justin Trudeau: (24:01)
Over the past years, our government has worked very …
Speaker 9: (24:03)
Will you do it?
Justin Trudeau: (24:03)
Over the past years, our government has worked very, very closely with the black community, with members and thought leaders within the community to respond to the very many tangible things that need to be done to support black Canadians to counter the systemic racism, the systemic discrimination that continues to exist within Canada, within our institutions. Everything from microaggressions to acts of violence are part of the daily lived reality for far too many Canadians. And what we’re seeing in the United States and what Canadians are speaking about here in Canada underlines the fact that we need to act. And acting means many things. Yes, we’ve created more funding for community organizations. We’ve invested in Statistics Canada to collect more just de-aggregated data, desegregated data, but we know that there’s much more to do.
Justin Trudeau: (24:58)
We’re working with the black business community to make sure that there’s better access to capital for young entrepreneurs so that there are economic opportunities going forward. We need to take a hard look at our institutions and are structures to ensure that those barriers that may be invisible to many of us, but far too present for black Canadians and racialized Canadians are addressed. There are a lot of things to do, and we will continue to work with the black community on the things we need to do.
Justin Trudeau: (25:27)
Speaker 9: (26:17)
That didn’t answer my question. My question is very specific. You say you’ve had time to talk to leaders in the black community, people in the black community. And you’ve had this report now for almost three years, and you still can’t answer this question. Will you issue an apology and will your government rule out reparations for slavery in Canada?
Justin Trudeau: (26:37)
We will work with the black community across this country, as we have, to respond to their priorities. There is a lot to do in Canada and we will do it in partnership with them.
Speaker 10: (26:50)
Justin Trudeau: (26:53)
Speaker 10: (26:53)
Justin Trudeau: (28:39)
[French 00:04: 04].
Janet Silver: (28:41)
Prime minister, Janet Silver, Global News. You and your government has defended the WHO repeatedly and refuse to say whether you trust the data China was providing early on. Even your health minister has accused journalists of questioning the data, pedaling conspiracy theories. I’m wondering, do you still believe the Chinese data can be trusted? And do you think the WHO was wrong to publicly praise the regime, even though they weren’t getting the information they needed early on?
Justin Trudeau: (29:11)
I think there are many questions that need to be asked about the WHO, about China and other countries behaviors through this. We need to focus right now on doing everything we can to keep Canadians safe and to end this pandemic, not just in Canada, but around the world. And the WHO remains a really important partner and ally in doing that. But there are many questions that need to be answered going forward in regards to the systems we have in place and in terms of different countries’ behaviors, and those questions will be asked and answered as we move forward.