May 25, 2021
Justin Trudeau Canada COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript May 25
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provided coronavirus and vaccine updates during a press conference on May 25, 2021. Read the transcript of the news briefing here.
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Justin Trudeau: (00:00)
In our struggle against COVID-19, over half of Canadians have now been vaccinated. More than have of Canadians have now received at least one dose of a COVID 19 vaccine. And that number is going to keep going up fast because millions more doses are coming. We now ranked number three in the G20 on doses administered per capita. It’s clear that working together as one big team Canada is paying off. To all of our healthcare staffs at hospitals, pharmacies, and vaccination centers, thank you for being part of this historic effort. You’re doing a great job. Keep it up. We’re all so deeply grateful. And to everyone who is now eligible to book a first dose, we’re all counting on you. Make sure you get your shot when you can. If we all do our part, if we get vaccinated and continue following public health guidelines, we will have a much better summer and we will get through this crisis once and for all.
Justin Trudeau: (01:07)
There are lots of reasons to be hopeful, but that doesn’t mean we can let our guard down yet. In a number of places, we’re still facing a very serious third wave. Last Friday, I reached out to Premier Pallister about the extremely concerning situation in Manitoba. I also had a call with Mayor Brian Bowman of Winnipeg. I let them both know that the federal government is ready to do whatever it takes to keep Manitobans and all Canadians safe. As soon as the province asks for more assistance, we’re there to help. That’s why, in anticipation of Manitoba’s official request for additional support to manage the situation, we’re preparing to deploy federal health, human resources. We’re also looking at deploying medical staff through the Canadian Red Cross and sending support from the Canadian Armed Forces. In just a few moments, Minister Carr will speak more about additional supports for Manitoba and what we’re already doing in the province. Since the beginning of this crisis, our government has worked closely with all provinces and territories to make sure everyone is safe. And, as long as this pandemic lasts, that’s exactly what we’re going to continue to do.
Justin Trudeau: (02:23)
This Thursday, we will be holding another meeting of all provincial and territorial premiers. We will first talk about the measures that we need to take to end this third wave. And right now that has to be our number one priority. We will also talk about the various reopening plans. The Premiers around the table will have the opportunity to share their experience about what is working well across the country. And, on that note, as we are gradually reopening, we have to not let our guard down. The number of new cases has to be brought as low… see a loosening of restrictions where it is safe to do so, but we have to remain responsible. Everyone has to do their part. You need to continue to follow local health restrictions and get your vaccination as soon as you can. If we do all this together, we will have a better summer. We will be able to see our friends on the patio, and we will be able to eventually get through this crisis.
Justin Trudeau: (03:34)
Today, I also want to take a moment to mark the first anniversary of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, United States. We all remember the horrible images of that murder that scandalized and changed the world. George Floyd’s death was a tragedy, and it was a reminder that there are still too many people living with anti-black racism and injustice, including here in Canada. Last summer, Canadians and especially young people marched to demand change. From economic empowerment through the Black Entrepreneurship Program, to proposing to remove ineffective mandatory minimums from the criminal code, to historic investments in community organizations. Our government is working with black communities across the country to make sure nobody is left behind. We will continue to take real action to fight systemic racism and create more opportunities for black Canadians and for everyone.
Justin Trudeau: (04:36)
Before I end, I’d like to say a few words about the arrest of the Belorussian journalist, Roman Protasevich, over the weekend. The behavior of the Belarus regime is outrageous, illegal, and completely unacceptable. This was a clear attack on democracy and on the freedom of the press. We condemn it and call for his immediate release. We also condemn this kind of dangerous interference in civil aviation. Canada has existing sanctions in place against Belarus, and we’ll be examining further options. We also strongly support action through all available international institutions, including the International Civil Aviation Organization, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and NATO. We stand in solidarity with our partners in defending journalists all around the globe. Thank you. I will now give the floor to Minister Carr. Jim? Jim, you might be on mute.
Jim Carr: (05:49)
I want to begin by acknowledging that I’m joining you from the traditional Treaty 1 territory of the Anishinaabe people and the homeland of the Metis Nation. The COVID-19 situation here in Manitoba is serious. We are experiencing surges, more variants of concern, and climbing ICU rates. Our healthcare system is reaching its limit. To our essential workers, I want to say thank you. To the exhausted nurses, doctors, and other hospital staff who’ve been on the front lines of this latest surge, you have the gratitude and respect of our entire province. Teachers, custodians, grocery store workers, public transit operators, you have kept life going for us. You keep stepping up. Thank you.
Jim Carr: (06:45)
Across our province, we are feeling frustrated. Sometimes we even feel angry or exhausted by this virus. We’ve endured our first, second, and now third wave of lockdowns, of business closures, active case counts, and most tragically lives lost. If you’ve lost your job or are anxious that you might lose it, if you’ve had to close down your business, this new surge and the virus may feel crushing. And, in light of the current situation today, departments and agencies across the federal government have again come together to support the government of Manitoba and the people of our province. In response to the recent request from the government of Manitoba, the government of Canada is preparing to deploy additional federal health resources, including medical staff through the Canadian Red Cross and the Canadian Armed Forces. The Armed Forces will support vaccine rollout in 23 indigenous communities in Manitoba. And we are also providing 50 additional interviewers to do contact tracing across the province. The government of Canada is also prepared to deploy epidemiologists, lab technicians, and increased testing capacity from the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada to respond to needs identified by Manitobans.
Jim Carr: (08:17)
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have responded to all 17 requests for federal assistance for Manitoba. The National Emergency Strategic Stockpile has allocated over 37 million units of personal protective equipment, vaccine ancillary supplies, and other medical equipment to Manitoba, including nitrile gloves, disposable gowns, face shields, N95 respirators, and surgical masks. Manitoba has requested additional biomedical equipment, which the NESS expects to be able to supply.
Jim Carr: (08:58)
I would like to thank municipal leaders, such as Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman, for their leadership, and to Premier Pallister for his cooperation. We all share a common goal, keeping Manitobans safe and building back better and strong as quickly as possible. For the Manitobans who are watching this update, stay home if you. Get vaccinated, and encourage the people you care about to do the same. There is hope. More Manitobans are getting vaccinated every day. Canada is in the top three countries of the G20 delivering daily vaccinations. It’s up to us to stay vigilant. Follow public health guidelines to drive case numbers down. Get vaccinated. As the prime minister has said, the federal government will do what it takes for as long as it takes to keep Manitobans and all Canadians safe. Thank you. Dr. Tam, over to you.
Dr. Theresa Tam: (10:05)
Thank you, and good morning. Nationally, prior to the long weekend, we’re seeing strong and steady declines in disease trends. And data after the long weekend will tell us whether these trends continue. The latest seven-day average of 5,000 or fewer new cases reported daily is 40% lower than the peak of activity in mid April. The number of people experiencing severe and critical illness is also decreasing as overall infection rates come down. The latest seven day average for the number of people with COVID-19 being treated in our hospitals each day has dropped by 20% since peak activity to about 3,400 daily. Of these, an average of about 1,300 were being treated in intensive care units, which has dropped 10% since the peak. And average daily deaths are down 15% to 41 deaths being reported daily.
Dr. Theresa Tam: (11:10)
With four and a half million COVID-19 vaccine doses delivered before the long weekend and Canadians continuing to roll up their sleeves as vaccination clinics expand across the country, our fastest moving trend is happily that of vaccination coverage. Last Friday, we reached the milestone of 20 million people having received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine to date. This number is increasing fast.
Dr. Theresa Tam: (11:37)
To continue to make the progress we need, each of us has a key role to play on the vaccine runway. By getting vaccinated as soon as we’re able and keeping up with essential precautions, such as masking and spacing, we can sustain our strong and steady progress while more vaccines roll out to help us bring this curve in for a landing. Regardless of your vaccination status, following the advice of your local public health authority, choosing lower risk activities and settings, and keeping up with essential precautions will help protect the progress we’ve made and set us up for a better summer while we get our house in order for safer fall.
Dr. Theresa Tam: (12:19)
We’ve been asked to do a lot to protect each other, and it would be great if we could say that this was the last wave we’ll ever need to worry about. But, until the infection rate is well and truly down, we can’t regain the upper hand and get our public health, laboratory, and health capacity back on top and ready for the fall. If we can continue cautiously for the summer, while immunity is building across the country, we will be able to reestablish proactive capacity for laboratory testing, genomic sequencing, case investigation, and contact tracing to interrupt the spread at source. Working together, we can end this pandemic and get back to the connections and activities that enrich our social and economic life and wellbeing in Canada. Thank you.
Dr. Howard Njoo: (13:05)
Good morning, everyone. Across the country, before the long weekend, we all saw an important decline in case numbers and the trends. And we’ll see, after the long weekend, whether they use trends continue. 5,000 cases are being reported every day. And this is much lower than what we saw in mid April by about 40%. And we also find that hospitalizations are going down as vaccinations are going up. And so, we find that every day we have seen a decline, which now amounts to 20% compared with mid April.
Dr. Howard Njoo: (14:03)
…than since compared with mid April, we have about 3,400 people in our ICUs, which is a 10% decrease compared with April. And we have now 41 people on average dying every day, which is 15% lower. Know that Canadians are continuing to roll up their sleeves as vaccination clinics expand across the country. Our fastest moving trend is happily that of vaccination coverage. And last Friday, we reached the milestone of 20 million people having received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine to date. This number is increasing fast.
Dr. Howard Njoo: (14:52)
To continue to make the progress we need, each of us has a key role to play on the vaccines runway. By getting vaccinated as soon as we’re able and keeping up with essential precautions, such as masking and spacing, we can sustain our strong and steady progress while more vaccines rollout, will help us bring this curve in for landing. Regardless of your vaccination status, following the advice of your local public health authority, choosing lower risk activities and settings and keeping up with essential precautions will help protect the progress we’ve made and set us up for a better summer. While we get our house in order for a safer fall.
Dr. Howard Njoo: (15:48)
We’ve been asked to do a lot to protect each other and it would be great if we could say that this was the last wave we ever need to worry about. But until the infection rate is well and truly down, we can’t regain the upper hand and get our public health laboratory and health capacity back on top and ready for the fall. If we can continue cautiously through the summer, while immunity is building across the country, we’ll be able to re-establish proactive capacity for laboratory testing, genomic sequencing, case investigation and contact tracing to interrupt the spread at source. Working together, we can end this pandemic and get back to the connections and activities that enrich our social and economic life and our wellbeing in Canada. Thank you.
Speaker 1: (16:52)
Thank you, Dr. Njoo. The prime minister will be taking three questions on the phone. One question, one followup. Same for reporters in the room. Ministers and doctor will available for 15 minutes afterwards to answer more questions. [foreign language 00:17:03].
Thank you. [foreign language 00:17:16]. Please press star one at this time if you have a question. [foreign language 00:17:20] Your line is open. [foreign language 00:17:27]
Dr. Howard Njoo: (17:29)
Good morning, Mr. Trudeau. I would like to come back to what you said last week about the Constitution and the fact that Quebec wants to change it because that created a lot of concern and fear, especially in English Canada. I would like to ask you to clarify your remarks. Do you agree that a Quebec is a nation and French is its official language?
Dr. Howard Njoo: (17:57)
Answer, for a long time, the federal government has recognized that we have two official languages, but that Quebec has a special role to play in protecting French in Quebec and we continue with that view. However, we do also intend to ensure protection of official language minority groups across the country, including Anglophones in Quebec. We will defend those minorities’ rights with respect to Quebec being a nation. I have stated for a long time that Quebec does form a nation. It is a province, that I have long recognized that French is its official language.
Dr. Howard Njoo: (18:48)
Question, I want to come back to what was confirmed last week and I want to know whether your government is going to intervene to protect that Canadian citizen.
Dr. Howard Njoo: (19:13)
If we receive an extradition request from France, we will certainly respond as we should.
Justin Trudeau: (19:24)
If receive an extradition request from France, we will of course analyze it with the full rigor that Canadians expect us to.
Speaker 1: (19:36)
Thank you, operator. Next question on the phone.
Thank you. [foreign language 00:19:40] The next question, Dylan Robertson, Winnipeg Free Press. Your line is open. [foreign language 00:19:47].
Dylan Robertson: (19:47)
Good morning, Prime Minister. What do you think the need for federal support in Manitoba’s ICU says about the provincial government’s planning, preparedness and response for the third wave of the pandemic, given what we saw in the weeks in other provinces from the impact of this wave?
Justin Trudeau: (20:06)
Thanks, Dylan. Obviously we are deeply concerned about the situation facing Manitoba, which is why I reached out to the premier and the mayor of Winnipeg on Friday to talk about what more we could do. As I said, we stand by to send more support, whether it’s through the Red Cross, whether it’s the Canadian Armed Forces, whether it’s frontline workers. My job as a federal leader is to be there to support Canadians in every corner of the country, not to judge how provinces have managed it. It’s simply to be there to put the interests of Canadians first and that’s what we will always do. Jim, do you want to follow up on that?
Jim Carr: (20:56)
Yes, Prime Minister. We’re squarely focused on the needs of Manitobans and when the request comes from the provincial government, we have been there to respond and to respond quickly, whether it’s adding vaccination capacity within First Nations, adding more epidemiologists, more public health officials through the Red Cross and the Canadian Armed Forces, we respond to the changing needs within the province as expressed by the premier and by public health professionals. We have been here for the people of Manitoba and that’s the focus of our attention and that’s why we are making these further announcements today.
Speaker 1: (21:41)
Following up, Dylan.
Dylan Robertson: (21:43)
Prime Minister, the Manitoba premier says North Dakota wants to share vaccines with the province, but it’s being blocked by the Biden administration. Do you share that understanding? And is our ambassador to Washington advocating to make this happen?
Justin Trudeau: (21:58)
We have been since the beginning of this pandemic, working with partners around the world, including the United States, to ensure that we get through this as quickly as possible, the conversations continue, including at the level of our ambassador in Washington. We will continue to try and make sure that we’re getting Canadians vaccinated as quickly as possible so we can get through this and get life back to normal and as well, turn even more efforts to helping the world get through this because we don’t end this pandemic anywhere until we ended everywhere.
Dr. Howard Njoo: (22:36)
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have worked with our partners around the world, including the United States on the need to get Canadians vaccinated as quickly as possible and we continue to work with our partners in the United States in particular, through our wonderful ambassador to Washington. And we are making every effort to get everyone vaccinated as quickly as possible so that we can get back to a normal life and so that we can help people around the world, because we know that the pandemic will not be over anywhere until it is over everyone.
Thank you. [foreign language 00:23:20]. Our next question, Elaine [foreign language 00:23:26] your line is open. [foreign language 00:23:27].
Dr. Howard Njoo: (23:28)
Good morning. Mr. Trudeau. I want to come back to this issue of the Constitution because last week your remarks were criticized by many in the country, especially outside Quebec and in The Globe and Mail there was mention of that. It seems like this clause about Quebec being a nation can be interpreted differently and applied to other aspects of the Constitution, at least that’s the fear. And I would like to know what you think about that fear.
Dr. Howard Njoo: (24:06)
I don’t share that interpretation. Answer.
Dr. Howard Njoo: (24:10)
Elaine, question. Okay, perhaps you could give a little bit more detail. You don’t think that there is any risk. Some people also are concerned about the Anglophone minority in Quebec and feeling that you are abandoning them and that French as the official language of Quebec could be interpreted as meaning that Quebec Anglophones’ rights won’t be respected.
Dr. Howard Njoo: (24:45)
Answer, as I have said, we will always be there to defend minority rights in Canada and including those of Anglophones in Quebec. We know though that Quebec needs to take steps to protect French and we are working with others, including the provinces to protect language.
Glen McGregor: (25:10)
Glen McGregor, CTV News. Prime Minister, you said repeatedly you don’t want to have an election campaign during the pandemic. Will you commit now to not going to see the Governor General or interim Governor General or permanent appointment, unless the House of Commons has voted a lack of confidence in you, until the point that the World Health Organization declares the pandemic over?
Justin Trudeau: (25:32)
As I’ve said, it has been one of the strengths of this country that political parties, that across different orders of government and indeed within parliament and assemblies have been able to work together to get unprecedented support out to Canadians. I made a promise from the very beginning that we would have Canadians’ backs, no matter what it took, for as long as it took to get through this pandemic. And that has worked. And by and large other parties have supported that. We have seen however, that we need to continue to have a well functioning parliament so that we can continue to get support out to Canadians and that is very much my focus. Nobody wants an election before the end of this pandemic and we certainly hope to be able to continue to deliver all the helps that we promised to Canadians without over interference by opposition parties.
Dr. Howard Njoo: (26:34)
Since the beginning of this pandemic, we have promised that we would do everything necessary to support Canadians, regardless of how long the pandemic lasted. We have been fortunate in Canada that all of the political parties across the country and here in the federal parliament have been able to work together to put in place support measures, but the pandemic is not over. We still need to deliver assistance to help Canadians get through the pandemic. And I hope that the opposition parties will provide their constructive support for that. But we will work on that and we know that nobody wants an election before the end of the pandemic because the pandemic is our priority.
Speaker 2: (27:29)
[foreign language 00:27:29] with the Canadian press. What assurances or documents do you have that Moderna is actually going to be delivering on their contract, considering that they’re supposed to be the workhorse of our vaccine command this summer? Has Moderna been clear about what’s causing the delays?
Justin Trudeau: (27:44)
Actually, I would argue that Pfizer has actually been the reliable workhorse of our vaccinations. They have continued to deliver, although Moderna particularly in the early months, being able to deliver so many doses to the Arctic and to remote…
Justin Trudeau: (28:03)
… this to the Arctic and to remote indigenous communities made a huge difference in preventing further outbreaks up in the north. We are very fortunate as a country to have had so many different deals with so many different countries, companies to allow for the position we’re in right now, where more than half of Canadians have had at least one dose of a vaccine. That is what is going to get us through this. But on further comments on vaccination schedules, I will turn to Minister Anand.
Anita Anand: (28:40)
Thank you so much Prime Minister and thank you for the question. Let’s be clear that as the Prime Minister said, the benefit of our diversified portfolio is that it allows Canada to pull in millions and millions of doses from multiple suppliers. We have 25 million doses distributed in Canada to date, 21 million doses administered. In terms of your specific question relating to Moderna, the supplier has communicated to us that millions of doses are expected to be delivered in June. And that the first shipment will come in the first part of June.
Anita Anand: (29:23)
I spoke with Moderna this morning actually, and my team has been on the phone with them over the past weeks, including over the past weekend. The point that I have repeatedly stressed to Moderna is the urgent need for a delivery schedule relating to June and July deliveries. But rest assured, we will be receiving millions of doses from Moderna during the month of June. We are awaiting a delivery schedule from Moderna itself. Canada remains very much on track to receive vaccines for eligible Canadians to receive a first shot by the end of June, and for all Canadians to be fully vaccinated by the end of September. Thank you.
Speaker 3: (30:17)
[inaudible 00:30:17] just a follow on to that. There were some questions last week, because there was a 48 million dose number put out there, then it was more than 40 million. What’s the latest on that? What do we know about how many doses we’re getting when?
Justin Trudeau: (30:28)
The latest is that we have now vaccinated over half of eligible adults in Canada and everyone who can now schedule an appointment should be scheduling an appointment. We need to get everyone vaccinated. We remain absolutely confident that we will have more than enough doses in Canada by the end of June, to give a first dose to every Canadian who wants one. And second doses will continue to ramp up through June and into the summer. The exact numbers on Moderna, as the minister has said, we are waiting for a scheduled delivery. But again, I can assure all Canadians there will be more than enough doses by the end of June for every Canadian who wants it, to have gotten their first dose and already starting on moving forward on second doses. Anything further to add Anita?
Anita Anand: (31:31)
Sure. I will just add that, that figure of 40 million provided by the public health agency of Canada represents only confirmed deliveries. That is, only confirmed delivery schedules are provided to the provinces and territories and that information hasn’t changed. What that number doesn’t take into account is the one million doses from AstraZeneca that we are expecting in late June, and the millions and millions of doses that we are expecting from Moderna in June as well.
Anita Anand: (32:03)
And so, as the Prime Minister said, we are very much on track to have vaccines for all eligible Canadians to receive their first shot by the end of June, for all Canadians to be fully vaccinated by the end of September. And as soon as the delivery schedule comes in from Moderna I will be sure to share it with the public health agency of Canada and of course the provinces and territories. Thank you.
Tonda MacCharles: (32:26)
Tonda MacCharles of the Toronto Star. Prime Minister, I’d like to hear you elaborate a little bit on some of your earlier answers around the Quebec Amendment. And you kind of were very abrupt with Ellen when she asked you about how do you interpret this idea of Quebec as a nation? And I’m interested in your remarks in French. You did say Quebec forums a nation, but what the house of commons has recognized is actually Quebecers form a nation within a United Canada. So since you seem to be suggesting it’s only about language, so if you could just elaborate a little bit more on your thoughts about, to you, what does this phrase mean? The phrase that Quebec is seeking to put in the constitution?
Justin Trudeau: (33:03)
My responsibility as a Prime Minister is to defend the constitution and to ensure that all Canadians have their rights upheld. That means protecting both French and English throughout the country. And that means ensuring protection for official language minorities across the country. That is something that I have never wavered from and will never waiver from. At the same time, we’ve all been through the constitutional battles of the past number of decades that have left many scars on many people.
Justin Trudeau: (33:35)
I choose always to look forward, look to how we can continue to protect French across the country and in Quebec, while at the same time, ensuring protection for linguistic minorities, including the Anglophone minority in Quebec. These are the things that matter most to me and will continue to matter tremendously to all Canadians.
Justin Trudeau: (33:59)
At the same time, they’re have been recognitions that Quebec forms a nation. It is a historical fact, a sociological fact, a fact of daily lives and it is something that even parliament has recognized. We need to move forward and ensure at the same time as we are protecting French within Quebec, we are also protecting linguistic minorities in Quebec and across the country.
Justin Trudeau: (34:28)
Dr. Howard Njoo: (34:32)
It has always a been priority for me to defend the constitution, to defend French and English across the country. And to recognize, as we have recently on a number of occasions, the need to protect French, including in Quebec. We have brought forward recommendations for updating the Official Languages Act. But at the same time, we want to protect Anglophones in Quebec and Francophone minority communities across Canada. I have recognized, and parliament has recognized that Quebec forms a nation. But it is important for people to have protection for their language across the country. That’s what I believe.
Speaker 4: (35:30)
Dr. Howard Njoo: (35:31)
Good morning. I want to talk about our disputes over milk, over softwood lumber with the United States. Nothing seems to be moving forward. Do you feel that, in the end, Joe Biden’s attitude may not be very different from that of Donald Trump? So have you spoken to that about to him about that and what are your views?
Justin Trudeau: (35:59)
Dr. Howard Njoo: (36:01)
Answer. Certainly, President Biden has reaffirmed the US commitment to multilateralism and to free trade. Of course there are going to be discussions about trade and that will continue. But we worked with President Trump and we will work with this administration. We protect Canadian’s rights and we have continually defended supply management and our farmers and our economy. Of course, there will always be some differences of opinion, some disputes, but we will always be there to defend Canadians.
Justin Trudeau: (36:53)
We have seen with the arrival of the Biden administration, there has been a significant change in the United States engagement towards international rules-based order, towards multi-lateralism and towards, particularly, the fight against climate change and the economic opportunities that go with it, which had all been welcomed.
Justin Trudeau: (37:13)
At the same time, there will always be issues upon which Canada and the US have disagreements. We will always defend supply management and our dairy producers, amongst others. We will always stand up for our forestry workers and the industry across the country. We will continue, as we did successfully in the previous administration, stand up to defend Canadian interests and values wherever necessary. And that will continue.
Last question, Global.
Speaker 5: (37:47)
I’m Mr. Mike Le Couture with Global National. Bnai Brith Canada is reporting that the number of anti-Semitic assaults recorded so far in May of 2021 surpasses the total of all of the year 2020. So I wanted to get your reaction to that sharp rise.
Justin Trudeau: (38:03)
There has been a really troubling rise in anti-Semitism, not just recently, although yes recently, but over the past years as well. And the rise of intolerance in Canada, whether it’s anti-Semitism or Islamophobia or anti-Asian racism or anti-black racism needs to stop. We need to be there to pull together, to understand that people can have disagreements, but intolerance and hatred has no place in Canada.
Justin Trudeau: (38:38)
As a government. We have taken significant strides on investments, on support for community programs. In terms of anti-Semitism, we appointed Irwin Cotler to be our international representative on Holocaust Remembrance and anti-Semitism. And we’ve adopted the Holocaust Remembrance definition of anti-Semitism. We have demonstrated a strong leadership on that, both at home and internationally. We will continue to, as we continue to move forward, to push back hard against intolerance and hatred of any type, anywhere in Canada. There is no place for that in our country.
Rosemary Barton: (39:23)
Alright. That is the Prime Minister of Canada on this Tuesday morning, giving us the latest on the pandemic and taking questions on other matters as well. I’ll bring in my colleague, Janyce McGregor, who’s helping with our coverage today. Janyce, maybe let’s just start with Moderna, because there were some questions at the end of last week around delivery schedule for Moderna and what we should expect given there were people that had got it over the weekend. They’re probably wondering whether that’s still coming in and what the supply issues are there. And we did get some information from the Prime Minister and from the Minister.
Janyce McGregor: (40:06)
Yeah. And bit of an insight into why they’re not giving us exact numbers. If you hear what the Procurement Minister, Anita Anand said, it’s because they’re having trouble nailing down the delivery schedule with the company. And you heard her talking about how those conversations continue and that she herself was speaking with them just earlier today, apparently. 12.3 million is the amount of Moderna that was supposed to be coming into Canada by the end of the second quarter. Much of it seems now to be coming in June, if in fact the entire full order of Moderna comes by the end of June at all.
Janyce McGregor: (40:44)
Last month we were told there was a possibility a couple million doses might be slipping into the third quarter. It seems like efforts continue to try to get as much of it by the end of June as they can. But today they’re not really giving a specific number. They’re just saying there will be millions and millions coming in June, but not how many millions and not on which days. So if you’re a province and you’re hearing this, or a territory, and you’re wanting to plan your rollout, that’s not really something that you can schedule an appointment system based on. So I think that’s the anxiety, not that this contract wouldn’t be fulfilled sooner or later, but I think they want it sorted out now so they can count on it with some predictability.
Rosemary Barton: (41:27)
Yeah. And there was also some talk of Manitoba, too. It does sound as though the official request from Manitoba for this support has not happened, but there’s an expectation that it will. I found, I found some of the language from Minister Carr, who is from Winnipeg, [inaudible 00:41:41] is in Winnipeg. Sort of interesting, he thanked, for instance, the Mayor of Winnipeg for his leadership and thanked the Premier of Manitoba for his cooperation and suggested that he understood why some people in Manitoba might be frustrated and angry about where things are at. So there’s clearly, yes, a need to support Manitoba as the federal-
Rosemary Barton: (42:03)
… yes, a response to a need to support Manitoba as the federal government has done for other provinces, but obviously perhaps some frustration as well with where Manitoba is at and the way it’s handling things right now.
Janyce McGregor: (42:14)
A bit of a continuation of some things we were talking about on Friday when it sort of… There were these separate calls to the mayor versus the premier, right? On the prime minister’s behalf. It does seem like we have kind of communications working on different levels with different people, right? Hopefully all towards the same end goal though. Some of the things they need are not easy to find right now like critical care nurses, others easier to say yes to. It does seem to be a very kind of active search or negotiation, if you will, to kind of figure out what resources they can put in there. Isn’t it interesting in this third wave, as it rises and falls in different places, different weeks we are talking about, oh, now we need to get more federal resources here. Oh, now federal resources there. Right now it’s very much Manitoba.
Rosemary Barton: (43:02)
Okay. Janyce, thank you very much for your help today. I appreciate it. I know you’re going to stand by and bring us ongoing coverage of the public health briefing there with public health officials and federal ministers. I will leave our coverage here on CBC News Network. We will go back now to the federal briefing where I’m sure there’ll be more questions about vaccines and other waves. I’m Rosemary Barton. You were watching CBC News Network.
Dr. Howard Njoo: (43:26)
You will be able to sort of review this over the next couple of weeks. Yes, there is always an answer. There is always a risk because we are continuing to deploy vaccinations and that’s our good news. But we know today that it is certainly important to continue with personal precautions. That is distancing and mask wearing. We have to make sure that at the local level, we follow the guidelines. When we look at the situation, we can see what is happening in Manitoba, but there is risk in other regions of the country as well. It’s beautiful weather now. Everybody is getting outside, I hope any way. We just had our long weekend. But certainly we can’t let our guard down, we can’t relax the public health restrictions too quickly. Because if we don’t continue taking the proper public health measures, then we can’t support our vaccination rollout.
Speaker 6: (44:47)
Question, could I get an answer about what is going to be happening with the Moderna procurement over the next few weeks, please?
Dr. Howard Njoo: (45:00)
This is Dr. Njoo answer. I will let the minister answer. I’m not really up to date on the delivery schedules. We are waiting for Moderna. I think that it is Brigadier General Krista Bodie who is dealing more with the delivery details. So Minister Anand, please.
Anita Anand: (45:32)
Thank you very much, Dr. Njoo. First, I would like to say once again that the 40 million dose figure that was provided at last week’s press conference only represents the confirmed doses and the vaccines have been provided to the provinces and territories. We have 12 million doses of Pfizer, 4.5 million doses in June. We’re also expecting a 1 million dose delivery of AstraZeneca before the beginning of June. But we have also had confirmation that we should have millions of doses of Moderna delivered in June.
Anita Anand: (46:34)
And the first delivery would be early in June. I spoke with Moderna this morning and we have been in contact with them by phone every day, talking about the need for confirmed details of both the deliveries and the schedule. The advantage of a diversified portfolio of vaccines is that Canada has access to vaccine deliveries from a whole range of providers. Canada is still well on its way to be able to provide all eligible Canadians with a first dose by the end of June and to ensure that all Canadians are completely vaccinated, fully vaccinated by the end of September. Thank you.
Speaker 7: (47:39)
Minister Anand, just to follow up on the Moderna question, surely the contract that the government of Canada has with Moderna must specify delivery dates of some kind or target dates. If that’s the case, do you consider Moderna now to be in breach of that contract and we’ll legal action against them? And if we don’t have those assurances in the contract, why not?
Anita Anand: (48:04)
Well, thank you for the question. Moderna is not in breach of the contract. As I said, I spoke with them this morning. They do intend to deliver millions and millions of doses in the month of June to Canada with the first shipment in the first part of the month. Moderna is confirming the delivery schedule on its end now, and will provide it to Canada as soon as possible. And we will continue to work with them as an important supplier in Canada’s diversified portfolio of vaccines. The reason why we have 25 million doses distributed and 61% of adults having received one dose is because we have worked well with multiple suppliers to pull in millions of vaccines from multiple manufacturers. And we will continue to do so in order to ensure that Canadians have access to the millions of vaccines that are to come this month through the summer and through the rest of the year. Thank you.
Speaker 8: (49:10)
Next question in the room.
Tonda MacCharles: (49:11)
Minister Anand, it’s Tonda MacCharles from the Toronto Star. Could I follow up? Last week we heard at the health committee that the contracts you have with all the suppliers do not allow you… Basically all the doses are bought and paid for, and it doesn’t allow you to basically opt out of those now. The option’s yes, but the actual advanced purchase agreements, you have those doses. So further to what Dr. Tam said last week about we shouldn’t be taking doses we don’t need, if you have adequate doses coming from Pfizer, Moderna to cover the Canadian population, have you made a decision whether or not to donate those AstraZeneca doses to needy countries like India?
Anita Anand: (49:52)
Hi, Tonda. And thank you for the question. There is an active conversation within government at the current time regarding any excess doses that we have. As you know, there is an important view that we all hold about the need to assist developing countries. Whether it’s through COVAXX, whether it’s through sending supplies like ventilators directly to India, as we have done. And we will continue to ensure that we are supporting the developing world. We will have more news on the sharing of doses to come. Thank you.
Tonda MacCharles: (50:37)
This or maybe Dr. Tam is the best person. Dr. Tam, what advice have you given the government in terms of its plans to travel to the G7 and the prime minister? Do you require him to have his second dose before he goes and to do the hotel quarantine like other Canadians do when they fly back in? Do you have a confirmation of his quarantine plan at home when he comes back from the G7? Can you just elaborate on what you’ve asked him to do or what you expect of him to do?
Dr. Theresa Tam: (51:09)
I haven’t been specifically engaged in those operational planning. But of course I expect all Canadians to follow Canada’s quarantine requirements and to check wherever you’re going to make sure that you’re aligned with whichever country you’re traveling to as well, of course.
Tom Parry: (51:34)
Hi, it’s Tom Parry from CBC. Just had a question for Minister Anand. Just so I’m clear, on the deliveries of Moderna, are we still talking about just firming up delivery dates or is there a possibility Moderna won’t be able to meet its full commitment to Canada? Or is it delays we’re talking about or is there any possibility of them not supplying everything that we’ve ordered also? Is there any update on the Johnson and Johnson, what’s going on with that contract?
Anita Anand: (52:03)
Well, thank you, Tom. We are in very serious and active discussions with Moderna right now about the deliveries to come in the month of June, July, and August. We must remember that we have ordered 44 million doses of Moderna and they are one of our lead suppliers to Canada. So we will continue to work with them to ensure that they are delivering to Canada and are abiding by the terms of the contract. In terms of J&J, you’ll recall that we brought in 300,000 doses of that vaccine at the end of April. And there is a regulatory review of these doses being undertaken right now by Health Canada. And that review is, to some extent, tied to decisions that the FDA is making about doses that are coming from the emergent facility in Baltimore. And until those regulatory decisions are made, those 300,000 doses are on hold as are our future shipments of J&J. Thank you.
Speaker 8: (53:22)
Thank you, ministers and doctors. This [inaudible 00:53:24] today’s presser.
Speaker 9: (53:24)
Thank you, Macy. The conference has now ended.
Speaker 7: (53:28)
Speaker 10: (53:30)
An update there. You heard it live right here on CBC News Network with our special by CBC’s political correspondent, Rosemary Barton. And the status of the pandemic across the country. Don’t need to go through all of that with you again because you just heard it live. So we will continue with our program. CBC’s Janyce McGregor was listening in and you were on that special with Rosemary Barton. There were lots of questions regarding the delivery of vaccines and Anand tried to put some calm into that. What really stood out for you, Janyce?