Mar 26, 2020

Justin Trudeau Coronavirus Briefing Transcript for Canada March 26: Says Trump Wants Troops at US-Canada Border

Justin Trudeau Canada Update COVID-19
RevBlogTranscriptsCanada COVID-19 Briefing TranscriptsJustin Trudeau Coronavirus Briefing Transcript for Canada March 26: Says Trump Wants Troops at US-Canada Border

Justin Trudeau held a news conference on March 26 to update Canada on the coronavirus or COVID-19. He said that the Trump administration “wants to have U.S. military troops stationed within 30 kilometers of the Canadian U.S. border,” which he is opposed to. Read the full transcript of his press conference here.

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Justin Trudeau: (00:09)
[French 00:00:09] Hello everyone. [French 00:00:14].

Justin Trudeau: (01:08)
Yesterday, our plan to help Canadians save jobs and support at our economy was adopted by Parliament with more generous measures to help even more Canadians. We’re now talking about $107 billion to support people and businesses. We launched the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which will provide $2,000 a month for up to four months to people who are not getting paid as a result of COVID-19. This will replace the two benefits we announced last week to make it even simpler for you to get help.

Justin Trudeau: (01:45)
An application portal will launch as quickly as possible and people should start receiving money within 14 days of applying. As part of this plan, we’ll also be boosting the Canada child benefit for families in May. Parents already know how much the CCB helps with the cost of raising kids. By increasing the CCB, we’ll put even more money in the pockets of families to help them navigate these uncertain times.

Justin Trudeau: (02:13)
We’ll also be supplementing the GST credit, which is sent to low income Canadians every few months. And for people who are still paying off their student loans, we’re putting a six-month interest free moratorium on their Canada student loans. You can find more information on what else we’re doing and how to access your benefits at

Justin Trudeau: (02:37)
I’m sorry to say. There appears to be a text scam going around on the new Emergency Response Benefit. I want to remind everyone that the government’s website is the best place to find reliable information on everything we’re doing.

Justin Trudeau: (04:08)
[French 00:02:57].

Justin Trudeau: (04:31)
Earlier today, I spoke to G20 leaders. One thing is clear, we can only overcome COVID-19 if we take action together as a global community. So we’re going to do whatever it takes. That means making sure the World Health Organization and our public health agencies have the resources they need. It means working together to develop a vaccine, identify treatments, and increase testing. We’re also expanding manufacturing capacity for critical medical equipment and working to keep the supply chains moving to get that equipment to the people who need it. Our government is helping companies in Canada retool their manufacturing facilities to reduce the things we all need.

Justin Trudeau: (05:17)
On the economy, the G20 has also made significant investments to help people and businesses get through this challenging time and we’re going to be working closely together to coordinate our efforts to protect the global economy.

Justin Trudeau: (05:32)
COVID-19 is a global crisis and demands a global response. Now more than ever, we must work with our allies to protect people and the economy. And on that note, I announced this morning that I’m appointing Kirsten Hillman as our new ambassador to the United States. Ambassador Hillman is a gifted and brilliant diplomat. She was instrumental in securing a good deal for Canada and for Canadians during NAFTA negotiations. Most recently, ambassador Hillman played a key role as we worked with our southern neighbors to temporarily close the border while keeping trade flowing.

Justin Trudeau: (06:14)
As we fight COVID-19, we must protect the supply chains on which we depend for things like fresh vegetables, medicine and supplies for our healthcare systems. Our ports, railways, and trucks are vital to bringing in the things we need. And I want to thank all the workers who are keeping our country moving. Every day, our government looks at what we need to do better to help you and keep you safe from this evolving crisis. So in response to the fact that too many travelers are still not self isolating upon returning to Canada, we are taking greater action. I’ve been very clear on this.

Justin Trudeau: (06:53)
The Premier, Dr. Tam, and public health officials have all been very clear on this. If you’ve just returned from abroad, you have to go home and stay home for 14 days. But some people have not been taking this seriously. They’re stopping by the grocery store on their way home from the airport, they’re getting together with friends after being away for March break. This kind of conduct is not just disappointing. It’s dangerous. So now a 14-day quarantine will be mandatory for all Canadians returning home from abroad. We are implementing the quarantine act to keep all Canadians safe. If you do not comply with these instructions, you could face serious fines and even prison time.

Justin Trudeau: (07:44)
[French 00:07:46].

Moderator 1: (08:13)
[French 00:07:55].

Moderator 2: (08:15)
Thank you. [French 00:08:01].

Speaker 4: (09:20)
[French 00:08:20].

Justin Trudeau: (09:22)
[French 00:08:35].

Justin Trudeau: (09:24)
We recognize from the very beginning that this is a global crisis that requires global cooperation and response if we are to keep all of us safe and if we are to keep Canadians safe.

Justin Trudeau: (09:37)
At the same time, I can assure everyone that the federal stockpiles had been sufficient to meet the needs of the provinces until this point. And in the coming days, we will be receiving millions more items that are necessary right across the country at the same time as our businesses, companies, and manufacturers are tuning up production to make sure that we have enough, not just for Canadians, but for friends and allies around the world who need it.

Moderator 2: (11:25)
Thank you. [French 00:10:14].

Speaker 5: (11:25)
[French 00:10:24].

Justin Trudeau: (11:25)
[French 00:10:50].

Speaker 5: (11:25)
[French 00:11:36].

Moderator 2: (11:26)
[French 00:11:39]. Thank you. The next question is from David Ingram from Reuters Ottawa. Please go ahead.

David Ingram: (11:45)
Yes. Good morning, Prime Minister. President Trump yesterday said he wanted-

Justin Trudeau: (11:49)
Sorry, David. I need you guys to raise the volume. I can’t hear them.

Moderator 2: (11:53)
Okay, sorry. Is that better?

Justin Trudeau: (11:55)
Yes, that’s better. Thank you, David.

David Ingram: (11:58)
All right. President Trump said yesterday that he wants to reopen the U.S. Economy by Easter. Mayors of border towns in Canada are telling us they are petrified by the idea of a whole bunch of Americans coming north, possibly with the virus. How concerned are you by his comments and what are you going to do to stop this? Is there any way you can kind of put some sort of security presence on the border?

Justin Trudeau: (12:21)
We will continue to work with the United States to ensure that the border measures we put in place are respected. We have closed the border temporarily to all but essential travelers, and we will continue to work with the American administration to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to keep our country safe and to keep Canadians safe in our case. We will continue to adjust as things unfold as necessary, but we will be continuing to follow the best advice of the scientific community on doing what is necessary to keep Canadians safe as a priority.

Moderator 1: (13:04)
[French 00:13:05].

Moderator 2: (13:06)
Thank you. [French 00:13:07]. The last question is from Bruce Campion-Smith from the Toronto Star. Please go ahead.

Bruce Campion-Smith: (13:14)
Prime Minister, good morning. Just wondering why was it the quarantine for travelers arriving from outside the country not made mandatory sooner before the March break travelers came home, before the border was closed to all foreign travel? And are you worried that this delay may have contributed to the spread of the virus in Canada?

Justin Trudeau: (13:33)
Right across the country, we’ve seen Canadians following the guidelines, taking very seriously the recommendations of public health agencies. We have seen people staying at home. We have seen people keeping two meters distant from each other. We’ve seen people engaged in hand-washing and using hand sanitizer. We know that the vast majority of Canadians have been following the guidelines set out for their own protection and for the protection of all of us.

Justin Trudeau: (14:06)
Unfortunately, there are a number of people who have not been following the guidelines that are there for their protection, which is why we’ve had to take this next step of bringing in the quarantine act to ensure that Canadians who do not follow the instructions to self-quarantine for 14 days, self-isolate for 14 days immediately upon reentering Canada, they will be facing fines and perhaps even jail time.

Moderator 1: (14:37)
[French 00:14:38].

Ashley Burke: (14:42)
Hi, Ashley Burke, CBC news. A week and a half ago you told Canadians to come home, more than a million Canadians have since then. Can you tell me about the decision making and the rationale behind waiting until now to make it mandatory to undergo a 14-day self-quarantine rather than a week and a half ago?

Justin Trudeau: (14:59)
There was a requirement from the very beginning, instructions given to Canadians returning that they needed to self-isolate for 14 days and many, many, many of them did. Canadians have been following the instructions and the rules and the guidelines set out by public health because they know it’s about protecting their own safety, protecting that of their loved ones, and protecting the integrity and the health of people who work in our healthcare system. Unfortunately, there have been too many people who have not and that’s why we have to take this further step of making quarantine mandatory and bringing in enforcement measures as well.

Ashley Burke: (15:40)
And one of the challenges is enforcement with self mandatory quarantine. Are you asking people to report if they see someone breaking the rules of the law?

Justin Trudeau: (15:49)
Public health will be following up in many, many cases to ensure that people are following these rules and enforcement will happen as enforcement does, as in various ways by our police and enforcement officers.

Justin Trudeau: (16:08)
[French 00:00:16:11].

Speaker 9: (16:08)
[French 00:16:41].

Justin Trudeau: (16:42)
[French 00:16:57].

Speaker 10: (16:47)
In English please.

Justin Trudeau: (16:54)
Okay. I can assure you that the Finance Minister has had conversations directly with the banks about credit card interest rates. We recognize that they are a significant challenge for many Canadians at this point. That is why we are encouraging them to take action to alleviate the burden for Canadians. At the same time as we are looking on our end at making credit more available and less expensive for Canadians to be able to make it through the next few months.

Janet Silver: (17:59)
Good morning, Prime Minister. Janet Silver, Global News. Global News has learned that the Trump administration wants to have U.S. military troops stationed within 30 kilometers of the Canadian U.S. border to cut back over fears with regards to COVID-19 and the illegal border crossings. I want to know if you think this is necessary and have you or any of your colleagues in your government had any discussions with the Trump administration about this.

Justin Trudeau: (18:30)
Canada and the United States have the longest unmilitarized border in the world, and it is very much in both of our interests for it to remain that way. We have been in discussions with the United States on this.

Justin Trudeau: (18:56)
[French 00:18:48].

Molly Thomas: (19:05)
Hi, Prime Minister. Molly Thomas, CTV National News. Can you give us a little bit more clarity on that? I mean, what does it mean to have discussions on this and what does this mean for Canada?

Justin Trudeau: (19:14)
We have highlighted that the fact that the Canada U.S. Border is the longest unmilitarized border in the world is something that has benefited our two countries and our both economies tremendously and we feel that it needs to remain that way.

Molly Thomas: (19:30)
I want to ask about, there’s more than 30,000 cases alone in New York, that’s a state that borders parts of Ontario and Quebec. Would we ever ban essential goods or people coming in specifically from that hotspot?

Justin Trudeau: (19:43)
I think we will always take measures that are necessary to protect Canadians as we’ve demonstrated. At the same time, we understand that part of protecting Canadians is ensuring a good supply of food, of medical supplies, of necessary equipment across our border. We will continue to look for ways to make sure we’re keeping Canadians safe while providing us with the things we need.

Marieke Walsh: (20:08)
Marieke Walsh with The Globe and Mail. Prime Minister, on your call with the G20 leaders today, was there any discussion or decision made on the call from the UN for two billion in aid for developing countries to fight the coronavirus, including help with testing kits in Africa and other gear needed?

Justin Trudeau: (20:26)
We talked about a number of things. We talked about the need for a coordinated global response. That is something that the G20 is particularly well-suited to move forward on. We need to make sure that we are continuing to exchange information and align in the actions we take. We talked about the need to flatten the global curve of this pandemic, which means beyond just individual countries doing what’s necessary for themselves, we need to work together to have an impact that goes beyond our borders. We talked about the need for global economic support for citizens, for businesses.

Justin Trudeau: (21:03)
The G20 represents 85% of the global GDP. We know that we have the capacity to stave off and to positively impact the economy at this time of significant stress. And so we pledged to work together. And we also talked about the need to help vulnerable countries that don’t have either the science or the health systems to be able to keep their populations safe, including through investments, through world global organizations like the UN or the WHO or the World Bank.

Justin Trudeau: (21:42)
We also specifically talked about the challenges facing Africa and how we will be there to support Africa as they face this pandemic as well.

Marieke Walsh: (21:51)
So does that mean that … Just the question was, is Canada and other countries actually sending money? And additionally, Saudi Arabia is the chair of the G20, did the price war over oil prices come up and what’s happening there?

Justin Trudeau: (22:05)
As I spoke about yesterday, we will be participating in international efforts to fight this virus. We know that support for vulnerable countries who are struggling with the ability to combat this virus is not just about being altruistic, it’s about protecting Canadians as well. This virus will possibly face resurgences even once we’ve handled it in Canada and in many countries. Our ability to minimize those resurgences will be linked to our ability to help and work with countries in more dire situations.

Justin Trudeau: (22:44)
[French 00:22:48].

Moderator 1: (23:15)
[French 00:00:23:20].

Justin Trudeau: (23:16)
[French 00:23:20].

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