May 26, 2020
Justin Trudeau Canada COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript May 26
Full transcript of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Tuesday, May 26 coronavirus press briefing. He says he’s pushing for a national sick leave plan to prep for a second wave of COVID-19.
Transcribe Your Own Content
Try Rev for free and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.
Justin Trudeau: (00:00)
[foreign language 00:00:03]. Over the last few weeks, our women and men in uniform have been working to help the most vulnerable Canadians as we deal with this pandemic. And as the need for their help continues, we’ve received new requests to extend this period of deployment in both Ontario and Quebec and we will be following up. Members of the Canadian armed forces are doing an incredible job just like always. They are serving with distinction for our grandparents, our parents, our elders. In Ontario they’ve made some extremely troubling observations about several longterm care facilities in which they’ve been serving. And we’ve shared this information with the provincial government. As I’ve said many times, we need to do a better job of caring for the people who built this country. The greatest generation saw us through world war two, we need to be there to support them properly through this global crisis.
Justin Trudeau: (01:07)
I spoke with premier Ford on this earlier this morning to let him know that of course we would be there to help as he takes action on improving care for seniors in longterm care centers. Our government will continue to support Ontarians through this. And I know this is something the premier will be addressing in greater detail at his press conference later today. This morning I also wanted to provide an update on personal protective equipment. In the last 10 weeks alone, over 40 flights have arrived in Canada carrying much needed PPE. This represents hundreds of thousands of items, everything from masks to hospital gowns that we’ve shipped to our frontline workers. At the same time we’re also investing in production here at home. And on that front today we’re taking yet another critical step forward. I can announce that we’ve signed a contract with General Motors to produce 10 million face masks.
Justin Trudeau: (02:08)
As we speak GM employees are already making these masks. They will keep people safe and help slow the spread of COVID-19. And for the auto workers in Oshawa, this contract will support good well paying jobs in an industry that’s faced tough times. On testing we’re also making progress. We’re supporting companies and research centers across the country as they develop new improved COVID-19 test kits and products. And for life saving health care equipment we’ve signed a new contract for 10,000 ventilators that are being produced through a partnership between Canadian Nobel Laureate Dr. Art McDonald, his team and Vexos. Deliveries will begin this summer bringing our total of made in Canada ventilators to 40, 000. On this and on other supplies for frontline workers I know that minister Bains and minister Anand will have more details to share a little later today. [foreign language 00:03: 12].
Justin Trudeau: (04:25)
Over the past two months, we’ve rolled out targeted support for sectors that have been hit hard by COVID-19. And we know that more needs to be done, just look at the food industry. With the growing season underway farmers are working harder than ever to keep Canadians fed. But because of COVID-19 many are having trouble finding workers. So today I can announce that our government is funding up to 700 youth jobs in that industry. This will support the people who put food on our plates while creating new opportunities for young people. This builds on what we’ve already done from connecting more Canadians of every age with work in the sector to supporting seasonal workers. [ foreign language 00:05:11].
Justin Trudeau: (05:36)
In the last weeks, Canadians have been focused on our families and on our neighbors, on our communities and our country, but we’ve also been closely engaged with how the world is managing COVID-19. Not only because the only way to truly end this virus in Canada is to end it everywhere, but because as a trading nation with Canadians who trace their origins to every corner of the planet, we understand better than most how connected the world has become. Canadian jobs and businesses depend on stable and productive economies in other countries so it matters to us how everyone weathers this storm. For so many this pandemic is devastating. More than 300 million people around the world will be out of work. And more than 30 million people will be pushed into extreme poverty.
Justin Trudeau: (06:32)
We can’t wait for others to act, it’s not in our self interest, and it’s just not who we are. We can and we must seize the opportunity to do what we can to make people safer and more prosperous, to create an international system that recognizes who’s left behind and strives to lift them up. This is no small task, but I know we’re up to it. Canada is ready to do our part as we help bring the world together in the fight against COVID-19. On Thursday, I will be convening a high level meeting with the secretary general of the UN and the prime minister of Jamaica to consider global economic challenges and how to better support developing countries. We’re bringing together leaders from every region of the world, as well as the heads of international institutions to work on shared strategies to protect the global economy, support our citizens and help the most vulnerable.
Justin Trudeau: (07:34)
I’ve been speaking to many leaders about these issues and about the importance of global cooperation. This includes chancellor Merkel of Germany and president Macron of France just yesterday and leaders from the Caribbean and from across Africa, Latin America and the Pacific. And key international financial experts like Canada’s own Mark Carney are getting involved too. To address this pandemic, to keep people safe, to help our economies weather the storm-
Justin Trudeau: (08:03)
… we need to collaborate. And with this forum, Canada will be there to help lead the way forward.
Justin Trudeau: (10:04)
[foreign language 00:00:15].
Speaker 1: (10:10)
Thank you, Prime Minister. We will now go to the phone for questions. One question, one follow up. Operator.
Thank you. [foreign language 00:02:17]. For questions, star one. [foreign language 00:00:10:22].
Reporter : (10:32)
[foreign language 00:10:33].
Justin Trudeau: (10:45)
[foreign language 00:02:38].
Justin Trudeau: (10:51)
We have just received the requests for assistance in the past days, including only yesterday for Quebec. So we will be following up with the Premier’s offices, but of course we will continue to help.
Right. [foreign language 00:03:06].
Reporter : (11:03)
[foreign language 00:11:09].
Justin Trudeau: (11:03)
[foreign language 00:11:22].
Speaker 1: (11:16)
[foreign language 00:03:45]. Operator.
Thank you. [foreign language 00:03:49]. Next question, Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press. Line open.
Mia Rabson: (11:53)
Good morning. I’m just curious if you can explain to us what the difference is between the special COVID-19 committee being safe to sit in Parliament if you don’t think it’s safe for the whole House of Commons to sit in reduced numbers.
Justin Trudeau: (12:11)
I think it’s been important that we’ve had a Parliament and a democracy that haP continued to function over the past number of weeks. We’ve had three days, a week of sessions where the opposition can bring forward their questions, make their suggestions and demonstrate to all Canadians that our institutions continue to function. We know that continuing that approach, now four days a week, will be important to continue to respond to this extraordinary challenge of our time.
Justin Trudeau: (12:39)
We are, however, continuing to work on the issue of voting. Before we move forward on voting we want to try and make sure as much as possible that we are able to bring in remote voting. I know that the PROC Committee of Parliament is studying that carefully. I think it’d be important to ensure that Canadians across the country have an ability to make their voices and their decisions heard in parliament through that process. That continues to be something that we’re working on
And a follow up.
Mia Rabson: (13:12)
Yeah. I’m also curious, given that you had a known exposure to COVID-19 early on, when the serological testing becomes available, do you plan to get one?
Justin Trudeau: (13:22)
Yes, I do. I think serological testing is an important part of understanding exactly how COVID-19 has been present in the country, including in people who haven’t displayed any symptoms at all. And as soon as those tests become more largely available to Canadians, I will certainly ensure that I’m one of them. Okay.
Justin Trudeau: (13:55)
[foreign language 00:05:45].
Speaker 1: (13:57)
Thank you. Operator, next question.
Thank you. [foreign language 00:14:09].
Reporter 2: (14:08)
[foreign language 00:14:14].
Justin Trudeau: (14:08)
[foreign language 00:14:39].
Reporter 2: (14:08)
[foreign language 00:15:20].
Justin Trudeau: (14:08)
[foreign language 00:15:41].
Justin Trudeau: (16:00)
Speaker 2: (16:01)
[French 00:00:08]. Operator.
Speaker 3: (16:10)
Thank you. [French 00:16:13].
Speaker 4: (16:10)
Justin Trudeau: (16:10)
Speaker 3: (16:10)
Speaker 4: (16:10)
Justin Trudeau: (16:10)
Speaker 5: (16:10)
Justin Trudeau: (19:59)
[French 00: 03:20].
Speaker 2: (20:02)
Justin Trudeau: (20:05)
I read the report in full yesterday. We shared it with the provincial government of Ontario over the weekend. It is deeply disturbing. There are things in there that are extremely troubling and we need to take action. And I spoke with the premier this morning to assure him that, of course, the federal government would be there to support them as they deal with this situation. We need to do a better job of taking care of our elders in longterm care facilities in Ontario, and indeed, right across the country. The premier will be sharing this report with Canadians in the coming hours, and will be speaking at more length on it, and I will leave that for him.
Speaker 6: (20:55)
Justin Trudeau: (22:01)
Speaker 2: (22:05)
Justin Trudeau: (22:06)
On reading the deeply disturbing report, I had obviously a range of emotions of anger, of sadness, of frustration, of grief. It is extremely troubling. As I’ve said, from the very beginning of this, we need to do a better job of supporting our seniors in longterm care, right across the country, through this pandemic and beyond. This is a situation that has gone on for a long time. We need to take action as a country. The federal government will be there to support provinces in their jurisdictions on dealing with this as we move forward.
Tom Perry: (22:52)
Tom Perry, with CBC. You’ve read this report, are you concerned that the problems that it reveals are not limited only to Ontario and what specifically can the federal government do right now to deal with these issues?
Justin Trudeau: (23:09)
The federal government is there to help. We have stepped up with members of the Canadian Armed Forces in a number of longterm care facilities across the province, and indeed, across Ontario and Quebec. But the challenges faced by this system of longterm cares is larger than just the places that the Canadian Armed Forces are showing up in. So we need to have a conversation and we need to take action as a country on improving care. There are many extraordinary, excellent longterm care facilities across this country. There are some that obviously are not doing as well, that we need to make sure we are improving the standards of care, and the support for Canadians as they retire as they reached that phase of their lives.
Justin Trudeau: (24:03)
The federal government, as I said from the beginning, will be part of the conversations with the provinces on how we move forward, how we learn from this crisis, and what we’ve learned through this crisis and move forward.
Speaker 7: (24:15)
Justin Trudeau: (24:15)
Speaker 8: (24:15)
If I could to ask you about PPEs, you were talking about the flights that have arrived, but where are we running into bottlenecks? What’s preventing us from getting even more of this equipment?
Justin Trudeau: (25:23)
I think there are global challenges around provision of PPE. We have demonstrated with 40 flights and hundreds of thousands of items, many in the millions, that we have received and distributed across the country that we are providing for Canadians as we need to.
Justin Trudeau: (25:45)
But at the same time, we recognize that as the economy reopens as perhaps a second wave might hit us, we need to be ready, and that’s why we continue to draw on even more PPE. We continue to go through stringent and rigorous quality control because we have seen a rise in counterfeit products and products that don’t meet rigorous Canadians standards.
Justin Trudeau: (26:09)
We have ensured that every item that has been distributed in Canada has met our standards, but it’s why we’ve also moved towards increasing and creating domestic production for PPE and Canadians stepping up to help Canadians is what this country is all about and we’re going to continue to do the work necessary to ensure that right across the country, we have the PPE necessary to move forward safely.
Speaker 7: (26:34)
Justin Trudeau: (26:45)
[French 00: 02:35].
Glen McGregor: (27:13)
Hey. Glen McGregor, CTV News. This report from the Canadian Forces, was it the findings related to the conditions that people are living in, in longterm care homes, or did it rise in your view to the level of abuse? And in either case, what would you say to people in Ontario whose family members are in these homes right now, when they’re hearing you talk about this, what should they do?
Justin Trudeau: (27:34)
As I said to the report that we received, we passed along immediately to Ontario. We are working with them on the next steps, but I will leave it to Premier Ford to share that report and discuss the next steps in a couple of hours when he moves forward for his press conference.
Glen McGregor: (27:55)
As you know, tomorrow, we’re expecting a decision on Meng Wanzhou’s extradition, and this is going to upset people on one side or the other, either the Chinese or the Americans. I’m wondering what level of interaction there’s been between your government and your counterparts on the Chinese side and the American side, preparing for one of those two possible outcomes. Are you concerned? And we’ve spoken to them about the possibility of retaliation if it doesn’t go their way?
Justin Trudeau: (28:21)
We have continued to engage diplomatically with our partners, both with the Americans and the Chinese on the issue of Meng Wanzhou, and indeed, of the two Michaels who’ve been arbitrarily detained in China. But one of the good things about having a truly independent justice system is that we don’t need to apologize or explain for the decisions taken by our independent justice system. We have confidence in that system, in its independence, and we of course, will continue to abide and defend our system.
Speaker 7: (29:19)
Justin Trudeau: (29:24)
Janet Silver: (29:39)
Prime Minister, Janet Silver, Global News. Just to follow up on extending the military’s mission in longterm care facilities and the horrible conditions the report show that they have found, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair received a letter back on May 14th outlining these allegations of abuse and neglect, do you know why the minister and his office would have sat on this letter for 10 days before acting?
Justin Trudeau: (30:03)
When we received this report, we shared it with Ontario. I found out the existence of this report on Friday afternoon. On the weekend, we shared it with Ontario. I read the report yesterday and it is being made public today. These are things that we needed to move quickly on, these are things that we need to take action on, and as I said, the federal government will be there to support Ontario and other provinces as they move forward.
Janet Silver: (30:33)
And just to switch gears a bit, one of your Vancouver MPs has a WeChat group she uses to communicate with Canadians. She has publicly advertised on this group and invited people to join. So it’s kind of like a Facebook page, if you will. She’s allowed the group to be used to appeal to Canadians to donate to a lawsuit against a Global News journalist for a story that they don’t like. The MP I’m talking about is your Digital Minister for Government, Ms. Joyce Murray. Her mandate letter calls for her to work with the media in quote, a professional manner. So I’m just wondering why you’re allowing this minister and her staff to use the web presence to fundraise on a lawsuit against a journalist?
Justin Trudeau: (31:16)
This is the first I hear of this situation and we’ll be following up.
Speaker 7: (31:25)
Justin Trudeau: (31:29)