Jun 22, 2020
Justin Trudeau Canada Press Conference Transcript June 22
Full transcript of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s June 22 press briefing. Trudeau said the prisoner swap with China was rejected, and said a “direct link” is between detained Canadians and the arrest of the Huawei executive. Read the full speech transcript here.
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[crosstalk 00:00:00] I just want to take a moment to recognize all those who’ve been affected by forest fires in Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean. This is happening in a period that’s already very difficult, where our thoughts are with you and with all the firefighters and first responders who are working hard to contain the fire and protect people.
Justin Trudeau: (00:20)
This has been a very tough few months. For many people, it starting to feel like we’ve turned a corner. Businesses are reopening their doors to serve their communities. Employers are putting new precautions in place to keep people safe and right across the country, business owners are using the wage subsidy to get back on their feet and rehire their employees.
Justin Trudeau: (00:40)
By using this benefit, employers have helped 2.6 million Canadians stay in the workplace. These are jobs that people rely on to pay their bills and to put food on the table. Jobs that matter to Canadians and to their families. Take Romer’s in Vancouver, in Port Moody. They used the wage subsidy to rehire over 150 employees and reopen their three neighborhood restaurants. Or Enable Education in Milton, who applied for the benefit and were able to keep a team of 18 people employed and busy. That’s what this program is all about.
Justin Trudeau: (01:21)
But even as things start to improve for many people, we also have to remember that some industries have been hit harder than others and if your work in one of those sectors, it might take longer to find a job.
Justin Trudeau: (01:34)
In the coming weeks, we want you to be able to focus on finding work, not be worrying about your benefits. So, as I announced on Tuesday, we are extending the CERB by two months. This help will continue to be there for you and your family.
Justin Trudeau: (01:54)
[foreign language 00:01:54].
[crosstalk 00:01:55] In recent months, we have introduced a series of programs to help Canadians get through these tough times. From the very outset, we said that as the situation evolved, our response would as well. So, we decided to extend the emergency response benefit and the emergency wage subsidy.
We understand the challenges people are facing now and we want to give them enough time to find work. Of course, it’s not always easy to go back to work. A lot of businesses will have to change the way they do things in order to reopen. If you have any questions about protocols or procedures to be followed during the recovery, we are now providing a number of resources for you. The Canadian Workplace Health and Safety Center has just published on its website information on public health, which constitutes a great source of information. It has also launched online portal where businesses can share their experience and best practices, whether they’re tricks for disinfecting the workplace, or advice on how to wear a mask.
We still have a long way to go in the coming months but by working together, governments, businesses, and citizens, we will get through this.
Justin Trudeau: (03:21)
Businesses retooling their operations to produce hand sanitizer and people finding creative ways to stay safe. The last few months have shown us the power of thinking outside the box. Going forward, that will serve us very well because finding new ways of doing things and collaborating between sectors, yields great results. In fact, for tech and agriculture, we’ve already seen that potential in action.
Justin Trudeau: (03:49)
As people around the world start eating more plant based products, we have an opportunity to bring together Canadian innovation and Canadian crops and a chance to create good, well paying jobs. We’ve already invested in this space with the prairies-based Protein Industries Supercluster supporting thousands of jobs but this industry is growing fast, so we’re not stopping there.
Justin Trudeau: (04:15)
Today I can announce that our government is contributing almost a hundred million dollars for the new Merit Functional Foods location in Winnipeg. This facility will be a world leader in plant based proteins and will create good jobs in a fast growing field and by using 100% Canadian inputs, it will also support farmers who produce the canola and yellow peas used in Merits products.
Justin Trudeau: (04:44)
Standing up for hard working farmers, creating good jobs, setting up Canada for success on the world stage, these are things that our government will always get behind that.
Justin Trudeau: (04:55)
[foreign language 00:04:55].
[crosstalk 00:04:57] I want to close this morning by talking about what Canada is doing on the global stage. The pandemic has revealed gaps that remain and that are harming too many people around the world. Of course, for many women and girls, inequality in the area of healthcare is nothing new. It’s a reality they see on a daily basis. Again, now women and girls have to fight in order to get basic care and die of diseases that can be prevented. Too often, the right of women to make decisions about their own body is questioned.
Since we took office, we have gender equality at the center of everything we do and that’s what we’re continuing to do now. This morning, Minister Gould is taking part in the She Decides Now Conference and will announce that our government intends to invest almost $90 million to support the health and sexual and reproductive rights of the most vulnerable women and girls in the world. That funding will make it possible to offer a range of services, whether it’s helping midwives in Somalia or countering sexually based violence in Rohingya refugee camp.
Justin Trudeau: (06:20)
This pandemic has been an unprecedented challenge for our country. It has also been an important opportunity to figure out what really matters in our communities, to have meaningful conversations about how we can take care of those around us and perhaps above all, to think about what kind of future we want to build together.
Justin Trudeau: (06:41)
We have the chance to shape our country and our world for the better and I know that we’re up to that task.
Justin Trudeau: (06:49)
Speaker 2: (06:49)
[foreign language 00:06:50]
Speaker 1: (06:58)
Thank you. Merci. Please press star one, if you have a question.
Speaker 1: (07:00)
[foreign language 00:07:02].
[crosstalk 00:07:11] Good morning, Mr. Trudeau. I’d like you to comment on the agreement with Mexico about seasonal agricultural workers.
First, can you tell us exactly how many other agricultural workers will be able to come in and the premises of that agreement and also tell us about your own responsibilities?
Well, first of all, anyone who works in Canada must be able to do so in a safe environment. Now, unfortunately we’ve seen for too many, temporary workers, that is not the case.
Now, obviously we won’t be working both with the affected countries and business owners to meet here in order to ensure that right across the country, we have the proper protections in place for those individuals.
So yes, we will continue to receive those workers. This is an important industry for the food chain in Canada and we will be doing even more to ensure that all the rules are being followed and that anyone working here in Canada is properly protected.
Justin Trudeau: (08:23)
I think it’s obvious that we need to do a better job of ensuring that the rules are followed for temporary foreign workers in Canada. Obviously they’re an important part of our food supply chain. We need to make sure we’re continuing to ensure and enforce the rules around how they are supported, how they’re treated.
Justin Trudeau: (08:43)
Every single person who works in Canada deserves to do so in a safe environment and unfortunately that hasn’t always happened. So we will continue to work with Mexico and other countries to ensure that the systems are in place, that their citizens are protected while they’re working here, even as we continue to receive people to work on our farms right across the country,
Speaker 2: (09:04)
[foreign language 00:09:05].
Follow up. [foreign language 00:09:09] [crosstalk 00:09:07] Yes, I’d like you also to comment on regularizing the status of refugee secret asylum seekers who were working in the healthcare sector during the pandemic. We were told that discussions with Quebec have been progressing but it seems to be a lot more complex than what was initially stated. Are we getting close to regular is regularizing their status?
[crosstalk 00:09:36] Well, we all recognize that those people who stepped forward to help us at a time of great vulnerability for our society and our seniors, did a great thing by asking to help and we’ve been working with Quebec and all levels of government to try and thank them properly but at the same time, we have a very rigorous…
But at the same time, we have a very rigorous immigration system that applies in many different situations and finding exceptions to that system is not something we can take lightly. We’re trying to work on this issue, but the fact is, that when you have such a strong and well-established immigration system, as we do in Canada, it’s difficult to deal with exceptions. We are trying, but this is not something that’s simple to accomplish.
[foreign language 00:10:38].
Thank you, good morning Mr. Trudeau. Canadian airlines are asking your government to lift the restrictions on international travel. We saw that the US border agreement is extended to July 21st, but in terms of international travels, will you be going step by step? Will you allow travelers from certain countries to come in where the infection is not so serious? What are your plans in that regard?
Well, what we’ve said from the very beginning is that the health and safety of Canadians is our top priority. Now, obviously there are places in the world where the crisis is not as serious, but there are also places where it is still raging so we will have to look very carefully to what we can do and when we can start to reopen our borders. Now, I understand that there are many tourism operators and airlines that would like us to be able to bring in tourists and allow people to come to Canada, but they must understand that if we move forward too quickly, and if we’re not absolutely certain of what we’re doing at every step, we run the risk of getting into a second wave of infection as we’re seeing in certain places around the world and having to re-close both our economy and put everyone back into lockdown. We’re going to move forward very gradually. We’ll be following what’s happening and we’ll look at what steps can be taken based on the international context as a whole and doing everything we can to protect Canadians at every step.
Justin Trudeau: (12:39)
I think there’s a lot of tourists or operators, a lot of regions in the country, companies like airlines that would very much like to see return to international travel so we can get people coming in here and supporting our local communities and seeing business travel pick up again. But every step of the way as we look at those next steps, we need to make sure we are keeping Canadians safe first and foremost. I understand how difficult this is and how frustrating this is for some people, but we know that re-opening too quickly or carelessly would lead us to a resurgence that might well force us to go back into lockdown, to shut down the economy once again and nobody wants that. That’s why we have significant supports out for industries for businesses, large and small, and for Canadians to be able to make it through the coming months. But we are going to be very, very careful about when and how we start re-opening international borders.
[foreign language 00:03:45]. Follow up. Yes, on another topic, Michael Kovrig and Spavor. Now, the United States Secretary of State has called for their immediate release. The last time he did that, nothing happened. Now, for the two Michael’s in China, they have not received a consular assistance since May, will you at least be able to secure some relaxation of their conditions and what exactly has Ambassador Barton been able to do?
First of all, I want to begin by thanking not only the United States, but to our other allies and friends around the world who have strongly expressed their solidarity with Canada and their condemnation of the arbitrary detention of these two Canadians. It’s a real shame to see China continue to punish Canadians for decision that comes out of our independent judicial system involving Ms. Mang. And we will continue to push for more consular access and also to see the return of these two Canadians to Canada. It’s a very difficult situation for them and for their families, but it’s also a very troubling situation for all Canadians to see what China continues to do to these two citizens.
Justin Trudeau: (15:20)
Okay. I’d like to begin by thanking yet again, so many of our friends and steadfast allies around the world for speaking up and condemning China for the arbitrary detention of two Canadian citizens. From the very beginning, Chinese authorities have made a direct link between the detention of these two Canadians with the judicial process underway. In the case of their citizen, Madam Mang. We obviously have a fully independent judicial system that will continue along its way and we condemn the arbitrary detention of these two Canadian citizens. We continue to push for more and better consular access and conditions for them, but ultimately, we continue to press and act in ways that will eventually get them home safe to their families.
Speaker 3: (16:17)
Thank you, operator. Next question on the phone.
Brian Lee: (16:21)
Next question is from Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press. Please go ahead.
Mia Rabson: (16:27)
Yes, good morning. I’m curious when it comes to China, the government is saying that your comments last week linking this case against Mong against the Canadians are irresponsible and that there are no links between the two cases. What makes you so sure that there are links between the two and what do you say to the Chinese calling your comments irresponsible?
Justin Trudeau: (16:49)
Within the very first few days of the detention of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, Chinese officials were highlighting a link between the detention a week before of Madam Mang and the arrest of the two Michaels. It has been obvious from the beginning that this was a political decision made by the Chinese government and we deplore it and have from the very beginning. We will continue to advocate strongly and firmly for the release of these two Canadians who’ve been arbitrarily detained. And again, we want to thank all of our friends and allies around the world who’ve consistently and continually stepped up to highlight that this arbitrary detention of Canadian citizens is unacceptable and deeply concerning, not just to Canadians, but to people around the world who see China using arbitrary detentions as a means to political ends, which is absolutely unacceptable. And we will continue to stand strong and united around the world against this choice of actions by China. Okay. [foreign language 00:08:06]
From the very beginning, we saw that the Chinese authorities made a connection between the arrest of Ms. Mung and the detention of those two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. We obviously deploy the fact-
Justin Trudeau: (19:01)
[foreign language 00:18:31].
Speaker 3: (19:01)
Following up, Mia.
Mia Rabson: (19:03)
Yeah, when it comes to Wallway and Canada’s 5G network, is Canada actually going to make a decision about whether or not Wallway will be allowed to operate in Canada for 5G? And why is it taking Canada so much longer than the other 5i partners?
Justin Trudeau: (19:17)
We continue to work with our intelligence agencies and security officials who continue to engage with our 5i’s partners and allies around the world on the best way to move forward for the future of 5G in Canada. We will continue to make our decisions based on science and recommendations by those experts. And we’re continuing to do our work on that. [foreign language 00:09:45].
We will continue to work with our experts in our security and intelligence agencies and follow their recommendations as to how we can ensure the security of our 5G system. We, of course, are working with our allies as well, right around the world…
[crosstalk 00:20:00] [foreign language 00:00:09]. We of course are working with our allies as well, right around the world. And we will be making a decision on that at the appropriate time.
Speaker 4: (20:09)
[crosstalk 00:20:09] question over the phone.
Speaker 5: (20:12)
Next question, Brian Lee, the Toronto Sun. Line open.
Brian Lee: (20:17)
Prime minister, I’d like to go back to the reaction from China and the comments from the ministry spokesman, Mr. Zhao saying that you should earnestly respect the spirit of the rule of law. Do you think that China actively follows the rule of law in cases like Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor?
Justin Trudeau: (20:37)
We saw in the very first days after the detention of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, Chinese officials highlight that there is an obvious link between the case of Meng in Vancouver being arrested in our extradition treaty, and the detention of two Canadians on security charges.
Justin Trudeau: (21:03)
They made those links from the very beginning, and continue to put political pressure on Canada through that detention, which is something that not just we deplore, but countries around the world are speaking up to deplore. Because this using of arbitrary detentions as a means to advance political gains is something that is fully unacceptable in a world based on rules, and we will continue to stand up strongly for our values and our principles.
[crosstalk 00:21:35] [foreign language 00:01:42]. As soon as the two Canadians were arrested, the two that are now detained in China, the Chinese authorities highlighted the fact that there was a connection between their case and the case of Ms. Meng who was arrested a couple of days earlier as part of an extradition request from the United States. We have said that this is not acceptable for China to use mechanisms like an arrest to achieve their political means, and we have allies around the world who have shown themselves to be very concerned about the fate of these two Canadians, because they know that this could very well happen to them at some point. We have to show solidarity against these arbitrary decisions.
Brian Lee: (22:30)
From the beginning of this, China has used a pile of tactics that could be described as bullying tactics in addition to kidnapping Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig. They’ve also engaged in economic warfare with Canada, targeting various industries. Have you raised this with Chinese officials? Publicly, you have been reluctant to call out China to the same level as the Chinese have called out you and Canadian media and others. Have you raised this with them and have you been outspoken enough when it comes to dealing with the aggressive stance nature of how China has handled this?
Justin Trudeau: (23:08)
We’ve continued to stand up for Canadian interests and Canadian values every step of the way. And every conversation with Chinese officials going back five years, we have always raised human rights issues. We’ve always raised concerns we have around China’s engagement, both regionally and with Canada and in the world. And we will continue to do that. We understand that as the world’s second largest economy, they have a significant amount of economic might and levers, but Canada will continue to stand strong to support our farmers, to support our producers, while at the same time defending the interests of Canadians abroad and in detention in China.
[crosstalk 00:23:50] [foreign language 00:03:54] From the very beginning, Canada has always clearly and strongly expressed its concern about human rights in China and elsewhere in the world. And we will continue to do that. We have also highlighted just how important it is to reflect Canadian values, even when you’re dealing with the largest or the second largest economy in the world.
And we’d expect Canadians to be treated properly, and we will be there to defend our farmers and producers and all Canadians in difficulty.
I have a question about the CERB. “Some people got a nasty surprise when they received a message from CRA saying you’re not entitled to the CERB this month, because at the beginning there were two checks that were sent to you. There’s a lot of confusion out there. Some people are now finding they’re without a CERB check, even though they need it in order to pay for their rent or their groceries and other expenses. What do you say to those people?”
All Canadians who received the CERB received their $2,000 a month. So up until now, it’s been $8,000 for the four months that it was in place, and we will be extending the CERB for an additional two months. Now I understand there are situations where people received the money earlier because they needed it.
And it created a bit of a challenge for them now, but we are looking at how we can help them. But as I say, this is a situation that is difficult for a number of families, and we’re looking at that closely. Now on China, “You say that you’re defending Canadian values, but that apparently has yielded no results. The two Michaels are still in China. China is not changing its position at all. Will you change and stop saying you’re defending Canadian values, and show that you’re doing that and take decisions that prove that?”
Our primary concern is always Canadian interests and protecting Canadian citizens, the release of Canadian citizens and the defense of our values and interests. In order to do that, we use a variety of means. There are things we do and say publicly, and there are other things we do in the background. And right now we are working very hard to ensure that everything can be done to have those two Canadians released. We will continue to do that because as we’ve seen over the years, we succeeded a number of times in bringing Canadians home who had been detained unfairly and with something that we disagreed with, and we will use that experience to help the two Michaels as well.
David Akin: (26:59)
David Akin, Global News. Prime minister, there are liberal members of your party in this country. A former deputy prime minister, John Manley among them, who say you should trade Meng for the two Michaels. That there is a process that your justice minister, Mr. Lametti, will get a chance in the process to have some input and make a decision. And if Meng goes through the process and goes to the states or is released, you lose all leverage.
David Akin: (27:26)
And again, I’m using Mr. Manley’s words, “You should do what you have to do. This is hardball politics, and we should trade up.” Are you at all considering that sort of thing, because clearly the Chinese think there’s still a quid pro quo that could happen here.
Justin Trudeau: (27:39)
No, we’re not considering that. Canada has a strong and independent justice system. We will ensure that it goes through its proper forces. And anyone who’s considering weakening our values or weakening the independence of our justice system doesn’t understand the importance of standing strong on our principles and our values.
[crosstalk 00:28:00] [ foreign language 00:08:04] No, we will not consider making a deal behind-the-scenes and not respect our judicial system. We have a strong, independent judicial system, and we continue to respect that system every time because that’s what Canadians expect us to do. That’s what allows us to protect ourselves around the world.
David Akin: (28:26)
One of the things we heard leading into it was one of the values of having that seat was that our ambassador, Ambassador Blanchard would be basically every day talking to the Chinese ambassador, possibly two Michaels. That obviously is not going to happen. Does that set back your ability to talk to senior Chinese diplomats? And I just wonder too if you could say whether or not the loss last week will spark a broader reset of Canadian foreign policy.
Justin Trudeau: (28:51)
Obviously over the past year, as we have continually been engaging with countries around the world, including China on defending Canada’s interests and standing up for our values. We will continue to. As I said many times, a security council seat was a means to continue to have Canada’s voice present on the world stage, but not having that seat certainly doesn’t slow us down in everything that we have been doing and will continue to do on the world stage.
Justin Trudeau: (29:21)
It is going to be extremely important, particularly through this time of COVID-19 that we look for global solutions, that we strengthen multi-lateralism and the partnerships we’ve built with countries in Africa, countries in the Caribbean and South America in particular on responding to this crisis and looking to what a better world could look like is something we will continue to do. And yes, reflect very carefully on how Canada can best continue to make sure that the solutions we’re putting forward are resonating properly and helping on the world stage.
I think it’s-
Justin Trudeau: (30:03)
[foreign language 00:30:01].
I think it’s been clear for a number of years that we are engaged diplomatically with every country in the world, including China and that will continue. The seed on the UN security council was an additional means of ensuring our voice would be heard on the international stage, but all the means available to us now will continue to be there. And therefore, we will continue to have an impact. Our partnership in Africa, and in the Caribbean, and South and Central America will be very, very important in the era of COVID-19, but also as we rebuild and transform our world for the better. Multi-lateralism, working together, will both be very important in the interests of Canadians, but also to create a more prosperous and better world for all.
Speaker 6: (30:58)
[crosstalk 00:30:58] what you were describing, that we have two Canadian citizens who have been unjustly detained for closing in on 600 days now in China, with no consular services. They’re tortured by light torture, not ever shutting off the lights where they live. Why are you only going so far as to say you are disappointed in that?
Justin Trudeau: (31:17)
I have highlighted from the very beginning, our deep level of concern and disagreement with the arbitrary detention of two Canadians. We have expressed both publicly and privately how firm we are on wanting to get them back. And we continue to stand up both for the independence of our judicial system, and Canadian interests and values. We work behind the scenes and in public to ensure that everyone understands that we will continue to work extremely hard to get these Canadians home. [foreign language 00:01:56].
I’ve always been very clear that we denounce China’s decision to arbitrarily detain these two Canadians for political reasons, and we will continue to push for their return to Canada. And we deplore China’s decision to play political games on this.
Speaker 7: (32:17)
We’ve learned that your government received a legal opinion that the Justice Minister can intervene in the case of Mong [inaudible 00:02:27]. Michael [inaudible 00:32:26] family says that David [inaudible 00:32:28] actually saw it about a month ago. It was submitted about a month ago. I’d like to get your response to this legal opinion.
Justin Trudeau: (32:34)
Obviously, there are tools in a government that exists that sometimes haven’t been used in a very, very long time. We are proceeding in a way that defends and upholds the independence of our judicial system. And we will not interfere politically in the unfolding of our rigorous independent justice system. Okay. [Foreign language 00:02: 52].
They’re always tools on paper that have not been used for a long time or perhaps never before. And they are theoretically available, but we have clearly stated that we will not intervene politically in our judicial system.
Hello, Prime Minister, it’s Annie [inaudible 00:33:21] with CTV National News. Your government has recently made a deal with Mexico to better protect migrant workers, but this deal comes too late for three migrant workers who have now died of COVID-19 and hundreds of others who are battling the virus in poor accommodations. Do you feel that the Canadian government has failed these workers?
Justin Trudeau: (33:39)
We brought in a strong measures around mandatory quarantines for arriving temporary foreign workers and have rules in place that protects those workers. Obviously, there are cases in which those rules were not followed, and we are extremely concerned by that. And there will be consequences for companies that did not follow the rules designed to protect workers in Canada. In Canada, anyone doing work, let alone essential work as part of our food chain, needs to feel protected. Obviously, in the case of these three tragic deaths, that wasn’t the case, and we are ensuring that changes are made and that there will be consequences. [foreign language 00:04:28].
Of course, whoever works in Canada deserves to be able to do that in a safe and secure environment, but the rules were not followed in the case of these three Mexican citizens, these three workers. Now, we did introduce measures to ensure there would be a proper quarantine period and protective measures for workers. However, some people violated the rules with respect to distancing and work conditions. So we are looking at exactly what occurred, but there certainly will be consequences. And we will have to ensure the system changes to help the most vulnerable-
[crosstalk 00:35:15] closely enough and that your government is going to try to do more, to change the situation, but why is the government continuing to allow migrants in right now, when doing so jeopardizes their health? And what concrete steps is your government going to take and will that include hiring more inspectors? And if so, how many?
Justin Trudeau: (35:32)
There are many facilities across the country that employ temporary foreign workers, in which there are no cases, where people are doing important and good work to contribute to our supply chain in essential ways that keep Canadians feed. We recognize there are a number of places where those rules and those protocols haven’t been adequately followed. And we will ensure that there are consequences. While at the same time, recognizing the important work brought by these temporary workers to the Canadian economy and to Canadians themselves. [foreign language 00:36:08].
There are many places around the country where we have temporary workers who are in safe and secure conditions who are doing good work and contributing to providing food to Canadians. And that has to continue. But in cases where we saw outbreaks, we have to look carefully at the circumstances and understand what happened and whether there need to be consequences.