Jun 29, 2020
Justin Trudeau Canada Press Conference Transcript June 29
Full transcript of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s June 29 press briefing. Trudeau said new models show there is positive COVID-19 progress in Canada but there are “hotspots” to monitor. Read the full speech transcript here.
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Justin Trudeau: (00:00)
[foreign language 00:00:02].
Justin Trudeau: (00:03)
Hello everyone. Since the beginning of the crisis, our government has been focused on keeping Canadians safe and making sure people are supported during this challenging time. And as we move into the summer, this work continues. While we’ve made good progress over the past few months, the virus remains a very serious threat to our health. And with parts of the economy shut down for many months, a lot of people need help getting back on their feet so we’re going to continue helping in every way we can. Our government has launched new programs and made new investments to help businesses reopen safely, get people back on the job and lay the groundwork for our economy to come roaring back.
Justin Trudeau: (00:45)
If you own a business and you’re struggling with cashflow, you can get a loan through the Canada Emergency Business Account to bridge to better times. If you’re a student or a recent grad looking for a job, we’ve created thousands of new work placements through Canada Summer Jobs and the Student Work Placement Program. And if you’re an employer and you need help to bring back your staff, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy is there for you through this summer. In every part of the country, business owners are stepping up and hiring back their staff, from Brooks Signs in Brantford, Ontario to Anchor D Guiding and Outfitting in Turner Valley, Alberta. And moving forward, our government will help even more businesses bring back their workers.
Justin Trudeau: (01:30)
[ foreign language 00:01:31].
Justin Trudeau: (02:18)
The federal government intends to extend the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance by another month and we’re working with the provinces and territories to do just that. This program is helping thousands of small businesses across the country save on rent. We know that many business owners are struggling with cashflow right now so we’re working on a solution.
Justin Trudeau: (02:39)
With summer officially here, I know a lot of people are wondering what to expect for the coming months so this afternoon, Dr. Tam and Dr. Njoo will release the latest public health modeling. We’ll have more details then, but here’s the main takeaway from these projections. After a very challenging spring, things are continuing to move in the right direction. We still have some hotspots in some parts of the country, but nationally, the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths is declining over time. And that’s because Canadians are doing their part. You took this seriously, you followed public health instructions and made sacrifices so we could get this virus under control.
Justin Trudeau: (03:26)
Over the coming weeks, we’re going to keep regularly updating Canadians on how this virus is progressing as we have since the beginning of this crisis, including with the latest numbers continuing to be published every single day. As we move into this new phase however, Dr. Tam, Dr. Njoo, and I, will provide an update on the pandemic a few times a week instead of every day when we have briefings or information to share. I want to stress though that while we’re on the right track, the fight against COVID-19 is not over yet. As we start to reopen parts of the economy, we must continue to follow local public health guidelines to keep each other safe.
Justin Trudeau: (05:19)
[foreign language 00: 04:09].
Justin Trudeau: (05:22)
With Canada Day right around the corner, we have another busy week ahead of us. In addition to our ongoing response to COVID- 19, the new NAFTA will come into force on Wednesday. With trade between NAFTA members valued at nearly 1.5 trillion dollars in 2018, we can’t overstate how vital it is to maintain free and fair trade between our three countries. Millions of jobs depend on a strong and stable relationship with our partners, this deal secures access to the North American market for our business owners, entrepreneurs and consumers. It removes uncertainty for our manufacturers, our investors and our workers. This deal is good for Canada and good for Canadians.
Justin Trudeau: (06:07)
[foreign language 00:06:08].
Speaker 1: (08:08)
[foreign language 00: 06:11].
Speaker 2: (08:11)
Thank you [foreign language 00:06:17].
Speaker 3: (08:41)
[foreign language 00:06:24].
Justin Trudeau: (08:43)
[foreign language 00:00:06:47].
Speaker 3: (08:44)
[foreign language 00:07:34].
Speaker 4: (08:44)
[foreign language 00:07:36].
Justin Trudeau: (08:45)
[foreign language 00:07:57].
Justin Trudeau: (08:50)
Obviously we’re going to continue to put the safety of Canadians at the very top of our priority list, which is why we have extended the border measures with the United States until July 21st. We will continue to assess the situation-
Justin Trudeau: (09:03)
… until July 21st. And we will continue to assess the situation and work with the Americans on what steps need to be taken into the month of August. What the situation we’re seeing in the United States and elsewhere highlights for us is that even as our economy is reopening, we need to make sure we are continuing to remain vigilant, individually and collectively. That means continuing to wear masks when we can’t keep two meters apart, continuing to be careful about coming into contact with people, continuing to practice what the public health officers are recommending in your regions. We need to continue to be careful, even as we reopen so that we don’t lose all the significant progress we’ve made through some very difficult sacrifices by Canadians over the past months.
Speaker 5: (09:53)
Thank you operator. Next question over the phone.
Speaker 6: (09:57)
Thank you, merci. Next question. Kate [ Botomgerel 00:01:00], Bloomberg. Line open.
Kate B.: (10:04)
Hello, Prime Minister. I am wondering about how your government has rolled out some of these COVID-19 programs. There has been some criticism about how the response was handled. And I’m wondering if you could get a redo on this response, what would you have done differently?
Justin Trudeau: (10:19)
Oh, I think there’s certainly plenty of things we would have done differently. Some things we might’ve done a little sooner. Some things we might’ve done a little later, but we spent very little time analyzing, wishing we’d done things differently. Those reflections of course are ongoing and will continue to be ongoing so that we’re better positioned for a potential second wave and moving forward. But throughout, we have done our very best every step of the way to make sure that Canadians were supported. And on that measure, we were successful. In terms of the support to the serve for over eight million Canadians who needed it. We were able to support families who then were able to lock down and that helped us get to the place we are right now of an extremely flattened epidemiological curve.
Justin Trudeau: (11:10)
We know that there’s lots more work to do, and we’re going to continue learning from what we did well and what we perhaps could have done better. But in general, I think certainly when we compare to other countries and when we look at what the OECD said about Canada, having had a rapid and substantive response, we know that we’ve done pretty well. [ foreign language 00:02:35].
Speaker 5: (12:14)
Following up, Kate?
Kate B.: (12:17)
And it’s prudent that you mentioned the possibility of the second wave. I’m wondering what is the government’s capacity to respond given that the economy has already been shut down for several months and that spending has been increasing due to the COVID-19 response programs?
Justin Trudeau: (12:31)
We went into this pandemic with one of the best balance sheets in the and we were there for able to give people the support necessary as we get through. As always, we will prepare ourselves for the worst possible scenarios, but we will hopefully see the best possible scenarios. We know that we’re going to be working very, very hard to continue the testing, the contact tracing, including across all provinces. We’ll be rolling out an app soon that will be an extra layer of support for Canadians to be able to keep themselves safe. But on top of that, we also know that if we do get hit in certain regions or across the country in the fall, we will be able to respond with sufficient fiscal room to be able to do that. [foreign language 00: 04:23].
Speaker 5: (13:31)
[foreign language 00:05:27].
Speaker 6: (14:28)
Thank you, merci. Next question, Michelle Carberd from The Globe and Mail. Line open.
Michelle Carberd: (14:34)
Hi Prime Minister. Thanks for taking our questions. This question is about Canadian foreign fighters in Syria. Despite your government’s claim that it is too dangerous to send diplomats into Northeastern Syria, to repatriate these Canadians more than 20 countries, including the US, France, and Germany have re repatriated their citizens from Northeast Syria. Why can’t Canada do the same and take responsibility for its citizens?
Justin Trudeau: (14:59)
We continue to engage in consular cases around the globe. The situation in Syria continues to be extremely dangerous. There are countries that have a presence on the ground in Syria. Canada is not one of those countries. We will continue to ensure that we’re keeping as a priority the protection of Canadians working abroad, particularly in this COVID context, but in every context. [ foreign language 00:06:26]
Speaker 5: (15:58)
Michelle Carberd: (16:00)
And as a follow up on another subject, Liberian warlord, Bill Horace who has been accused of committing murder, torture, and rape in the early ’90s was reasonably shot dead in London, Ontario, after living in Canada for almost two decades without facing charges. Why did Canada fail to bring him to justice?
Justin Trudeau: (16:19)
This is a question on which we will be following up as a government.
Speaker 5: (16:21)
[foreign language 00:16:24].
Speaker 6: (16:21)
Thank you, merci. [foreign language 00:16:31].
Speaker 7: (16:21)
[foreign language 00:16:36]
Justin Trudeau: (16:21)
[foreign language 00:17:06]
Speaker 8: (18:00)
[foreign language 00:00:00]
Justin Trudeau: (18:50)
[foreign language 00:00:23].
Speaker 9: (18:53)
[foreign language 00:01:13] Canada. [foreign language 00:19:14].
Justin Trudeau: (20:36)
[foreign language 00:01:31]. Obviously, I think it’s important that people continue to follow public health advice. Even as we are loosening population controls, loosening rules around businesses, and leaving home, it’s going to be really important that individuals continue to behave carefully and in responsible ways. Our local public health officials are encouraging, continuing to keep two meters distance. When you can’t keep that two meters distance, to wear a mask. Certainly that’s the choice that I’m making in order to keep myself and others safe. It is going to be really, really important that everyone remains attentive and vigilant to their own behaviors, so that we can prevent a second wave from arriving as we’ve seen in many places around… we’re beginning to see in places around the world. But also, so we can minimize any wave if it does hit. It’s on Canadians individually. And that’s why I have tremendous confidence. Because we’ve seen how Canadians have acted and reacted over these past months, which has allowed us to get to this next phase.
Speaker 10: (21:50)
[foreign language 00:03:51].
Justin Trudeau: (21:51)
[foreign language 00:22:14].
Kevin G: (21:51)
In English, please.
Justin Trudeau: (23:44)
We’re moving forward on a renewed NAFTA that achieved many important gains for Canadians; protections on intellectual property, protections for our auto industry, protections on cultural industries, which was extremely important right across the country, not just in Quebec. But most important of all, we secured Canada’s access to the world’s largest market in a privileged way at a time of protectionism and uncertainty. And that is something that makes a huge difference for Canadians, for Canadian businesses, and indeed for investors around the world that Canada continues to have protected and privileged access to the United States. In regards to aluminum, we have heard obviously the musings and proposals from the United States that perhaps there needs to be more tariffs on aluminums. What we simply highlight is the United States needs Canadian aluminum. They do not produce enough, nowhere near enough aluminum in the States to be able to fill their domestic manufacturing needs. Therefore, if they put tariffs on Canadian aluminum, they are simply increasing the costs of inputs, necessary inputs to their manufacturing base, which will hurt the American economy. Again, we see that our economies are so interlinked that punitive actions by the United States administration end up hurting Americans the same way they end up hurting Canadians.
Justin Trudeau: (25:21)
That’s why we will continue to advocate for continued free and fair trade between our two countries in a relationship that has been extraordinarily beneficial to our two countries for many, many decades.
Brian Mullin: (25:35)
Brian Mullin, Global News. Prime Minister, to follow up on an earlier question. Human rights watch says Canada may be unlawfully withholding or limiting effective consular assistance to the 47 Canadians, including 26 children detained in Northern Syria. What’s your response to this specific allegation? Is your government deliberately withholding assistance?
Justin Trudeau: (25:55)
The primary preoccupation of any government needs to be the safety and security of its citizens. And in this situation, the safety and security of our diplomatic personnel needs to be top of mind, particularly at a time of COVID, but in regular times as well, we will continue to work through third parties to try and provide consular assistance to Canadians. But Canada, unlike many other European and international partners does not have any Canadian personnel in Syria.
Justin Trudeau: (26:31)
[ foreign language 00:08:31]
Brian Mullin: (26:46)
Other countries have been able to assist their citizens over there. So is it is the government deliberately withholding assistance?
Justin Trudeau: (26:52)
No. We continue to be a government that looks to support Canadians in difficulty overseas. It’s something that we’ve done consistently over the past years and will continue to do.
Kevin G: (27:03)
Prime minister, Kevin Galla-
Justin Trudeau: (27:03)
Over the past years and will continue to do.
Kevin G.: (27:03)
Prime minister, Kevin Gallagher with CTV National News. I just want to follow up on this human rights watch report. This inaction that they’re saying obviously leads to Canadian nationals being subject to torture, inhumane conditions. It’s a serious allegation here from this organization. How does it affect your ability? You’ve often stood up here and talked about how you are never afraid to stand up for human rights on the world stage and bringing those issues directly to other countries that are accused of this. How does this report now affect your ability and credibility to do that?
Justin Trudeau: (27:38)
As a country, we have always stood up to condemn the horrific actions in the Syrian civil war, the terrible actions by terrorists in the region. We will consistently stand up and defend Canadians and defend citizens’ rights to live in safety and in peace. We have a responsibility as a government to ensure that Canadian citizens, particularly employees, are not put into danger, are not exposed to grave situations. Syria is an area where we do not have any diplomats or any Canadians on the ground. Therefore, we work through intermediaries to try and provide consular assistance as best we can. Okay. [French 00:28:28]
Kevin G.: (28:44)
I want to ask you as well about the WE charities the Canadian government’s outsourced this student grant program. The conservatives have asked for the auditor general to look into it, but I think I want to ask you how will there be accountability for parliament with this $900 million program being outsourced to a third party?
Justin Trudeau: (29:06)
The government of Canada has extensive practice of working with third parties charities to deliver programs. When we wanted to move forward to help various food banks across the country, we worked with the Charity Food Banks Canada in order to deliver the program. When we wanted to help grassroots community organizations, we worked with United Way in order to deliver that program. The WE charities are evaluated by our public service as being the best and only organization able to deliver on the scale that we need to make sure that young people have service opportunities this summer. We saw 25,000 young people from every corner of the country apply just over the past few days to be able to serve their country. We know that this something that is going to be extremely important in the coming months. Okay. [French 00:30:05]
Tom P.: (31:06)
Hi prime minister, Tom Perry, CBC. On the human rights watch report I’d like to ask you, is your government in any way reluctant to help these particular Canadians given their connection to ISIS?
Justin Trudeau: (31:16)
We recognize that we need to try and help all Canadians. It is more complicated when we talk about the fact that a number of these people could face charges when they return to Canada for their activities linked to terrorism, but the engagement that we need to have with people around the world in order to make sure that they’re getting the support that they have a right to as Canadians continues to be something we worry about. Okay. [French 00:32:05]
Tom P.: (32:06)
On the WE charity, you’re saying that they’re the only ones really who can do this job. Can you explain why that is? What skills do they have that no one else does? Also some volunteer organizations say that you’re blurring the line between paid labor and volunteer work. What do you think about that?
Justin Trudeau: (32:20)
The WE organization is the largest national youth service organization in the country. They have networks in every corner of the country and organizations that they work with. They already have worked over the past many years to deliver service opportunities to young people in every corner of the country. Quite frankly, when our public servants looked at the potential partners, only the WE organization had the capacity to deliver the ambitious program that young people need for this summer that is so deeply impacted by COVID. On the issue of service and volunteerism, we know thousands upon thousands of young people want to step up and engage in their communities, serve in their communities, help their country and their fellow citizens through this difficulty while at the same time developing important work experience. The idea of giving bonus grants to young people who serve has long existed. We know that it is something that is really important to recognize the value of service, but these young people will be volunteering in ways that will make a huge difference right across the country. [French 00:33:40].
Speaker 11: (33:37)