Jan 8, 2021
Justin Trudeau Press Conference January 8: Condemns Violence at U.S. Capitol
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a news conference on January 8, providing updates on COVID-19. He also spoke about the violence at the U.S. Capitol, condemning the violence and saying Trump “incited” an “assault on democracy.” Read the transcript here.
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Justin Trudeau: (00:00)
I’d like to begin by addressing what unfolded in Washington, DC, this week. What we witnessed was an assault on democracy by violent rioters, incited by the current president and other politicians. As shocking, deeply disturbing and frankly, saddening as that event remains, we’ve also seen this week that democracy is resilient in America, our closest ally and neighbor.
Justin Trudeau: (00:34)
Violence has no place in our societies and extremists will not succeed in overruling the will of the people. As Canadians, I think we’ve been all reflecting on our own country, something I spoke with the Premiers about last night, about the fact that democracy is not automatic. It takes work every day. About what a real accomplishment it is to maintain a political system in which the losing side gracefully concedes, and in which rival political parties between elections, work together for the common good. We have this in Canada because Canadians make it possible.
Justin Trudeau: (01:19)
Canadians expect their political leaders to protect our precious democracy by how we conduct ourselves. We have seen this manifest in unanimous consent in our Parliament for our main COVID fighting measures, at a time when the government holds a minority of seats. We see it in the cooperation between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments, regardless of political stripe.
Justin Trudeau: (01:46)
Canadians expect debate. Debate in service of all Canadians. Debate that is grounded in a shared acceptance of the facts. In a diverse country, there will always be diverse perspectives and it is through respect for those differences that we create a stronger Canada.
Justin Trudeau: (02:08)
Canadian democracy didn’t happen by accident and it won’t continue without work. We must always work to secure our democracy and not give comfort to those who promote things that are not true or give space for hatred or extremism.
Justin Trudeau: (02:29)
[foreign language 00: 02:30].
Justin Trudeau: (02:45)
Yesterday, at our 24th First Ministers Meeting, the Premier’s and I discuss the vaccine rollout across the country. We agreed that it is vital, that we work together as Team Canada, to get vaccines delivered, distributed, and administered, as quickly and efficiently as possible. The Premier’s and I also discussed ways to combat misinformation. Vaccines are safe and effective and everyone should be doing their part by getting vaccinated once it’s their turn.
Justin Trudeau: (05:40)
This week over 124,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine were delivered to 68 sites across the country. Over 208 Pfizer doses will be delivered weekly for the rest of January. On Moderna, by the end of next week, over 171,000 doses will be delivered to the provinces and territories. We’re on track to deliver approximately 1.3 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines by the end of January. Quantities of both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccine, will scale up in February. Remember that Canada has the most vaccines secured per capita in the world, which means that by September, we will have enough vaccines for every Canadian who wants one.
Justin Trudeau: (06:35)
Our top priority remains keeping you and your family safe. I know things are tough right now. Frankly, it’s frightening to see cases rise at home and around the world, day after day, but you’re not in this alone. We continue to be there for you. We’re continuing to send millions of pieces of PPE to protect healthcare workers and communities. We will do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, for you, for family, for your communities. We will have your backs.
Justin Trudeau: (07:11)
And on that note, I can also confirm that yesterday, the Canadian Armed Forces approved a request for support to the Port Alberni, First Nation in Ontario, as they deal with a COVID-19 outbreak. The Canadian Rangers will be activated on the ground until at least January 11th. By working together, we will get through this.
Justin Trudeau: (07:36)
[foreign language 00: 07:34].
Justin Trudeau: (08:15)
Measures like the wage subsidy are making a real difference for workers and businesses who need it. For a promising new company, like Strongpoint in Toronto, the wage subsidy helped keep employees on the payroll, when things got tough in the spring. It was a lifeline for them. The same goes for staff at the communication firm, The Humphrey Group. The wage subsidy helped them retain their hardworking employees and get ready for recovery. It’s not good news for anyone, if local businesses have to close shop for good because of this global crisis. In the second wave, this is not the time to take the foot off the gas. It’s the time to keep doing everything we need to ensure that our economy stays resilient and that workers and families…
Justin Trudeau: (09:03)
… That our economy stays resilient and that workers and families can weather this storm. [foreign language 00:00:07].
Justin Trudeau: (10:37)
Now, more than ever, it is crucial that you keep doing your part to protect yourself, to help our healthcare workers, and to save lives. Wear your mask, avoid gatherings, and use the COVID alert app. The app has now been updated to work on older models of iPhones, such as the iPhone five, six, and six plus. Almost six million people have downloaded the app. And of course, the more Canadians use it, the more powerful this tool becomes. So, keep it up, and remember, we’re all in this together.
Justin Trudeau: (11:17)
This morning, I’d like to take a moment to recognize that today marks the one-year anniversary of the Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 tragedy. As a country, we remember all those we lost, and we mourn with their families and friends. Of the victims aboard that flight, 138 of them were on their way to Canada. To the family members and friends who had planned to pick their loved ones up at the airport, to everyone who was looking forward to seeing your beloved partner, child, or parent, I cannot imagine your pain. Know that you are in our thoughts today. This kind of unthinkable tragedy must never happen again. That’s why, over the past year, our government developed the Safer Skies Initiative and worked with partners around the world to help keep civilian aircraft away from dangerous conflict zones. Today, on the first national day of remembrance for victims of air disasters, we remember and honor all those we lost. The victims of PS 752, just like the victims of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302, Air India flight 182, and other air disasters, will never be forgotten.
Justin Trudeau: (12:43)
We will be there for each other through tough times. It’s what Canadians do. Whether it’s grieving for elders we lost in long-term care homes, whether it’s mourning together for victims of international tragedies, or whether it’s standing with courageous young people like Isabella Kulak, a member of Cote First Nation, Saskatchewan, who wore her ribbon skirt to school to celebrate her culture last month. Let’s remember who we are: people who are there for each other. In tough times, we pull together. We look out for each other. We support each other. That’s what Canadians have learned to do through generations of dealing with winter, dealing with vast spaces, being there for each other, being there for our neighbors. We need to make it through this winter now. We need to pull together while staying apart. We need to hang in there. Spring is coming. Summer is coming. It always does. This one will be better if we can pull together right. Stay safe, everyone, and we’ll talk to you again soon.
Speaker 2: (14:00)
Thank you, Prime Minister. We’ll now go to questions from media. We’ll start on the phone. One question, one follow-up. Operator?
Speaker 3: (14:08)
Thank you. [foreign language 00:14:09].
Speaker 4: (14:09)
[foreign language 00:14:19].
Justin Trudeau: (15:39)
[foreign language 00: 05:45]. One of the things that we’ve seen throughout this pandemic is the need for different orders of government to work together. And yes, we need to make sure everyone is doing their part, and we’ll encourage each other to do the best we very much can. But at the same time, we do have a Team Canada approach that makes sure that we’re all working together for Canadians because that’s what Canadians want to see. Whether it’s by ensuring that all the information is flowing directly to the provinces as we get it on vaccines from the companies. We’ve clearly stated the predictable schedule for the month of January, and we’ll have more information soon for February and March. Or whether it’s how we’re sharing best practices across the country on successes in long-term care, which is something that every corner of this country is dealing with. We’re going to continue to work together for the benefit of Canadians.
Speaker 2: (16:34)
[foreign language 00:07:36].
Speaker 5: (16:49)
[foreign language 00:07:38].
Justin Trudeau: (16:52)
[foreign language 00:07:47].
Speaker 2: (16:56)
[foreign language 00:08:35]. Operator?
Speaker 3: (17:21)
[foreign language 00:08:38]. Thank you. Next question. Ryan [inaudible 00:08:40], National Post. Line open.
Yeah. Good morning, sir. I’m wondering if, in your conversation with the Premier’s last night, if you were able to give them a timetable for how the vaccine deliveries will ramp up? You mentioned just now the ramp up in February, but I think they’re probably hoping for some concrete numbers so that they can plan going forward, especially with the…
… numbers so that they can plan going forward, especially with the requirement that these vaccines receive a second dose within a certain amount of time?
Justin Trudeau: (18:09)
Yes, that’s exactly the issue that we’re all working together on right now. The need for predictability allows provinces to schedule deliveries, to schedule inoculations, to have that most efficient possible system. That’s why we’re pleased that we’re able to confirm exactly what doses they’ll be getting every single week in January. We’re going to be passing along the information on the schedule for February and March soon. We need to get it from the companies themselves. It’s not the federal government that decides that. As soon as we get more information from the companies, we will pass that immediately along to provinces so they can plan. We need to make sure we’re being open and transparent and rapid about it so that we can get vaccinations both to the provinces and from the provinces into people’s arms as quickly as possible, and on that, we’re all working together.
Justin Trudeau: (19:40)
[ foreign language 00:01:07]
Speaker 6: (19:46)
A follow-up question [inaudible 00:01:47]?
Yeah. Sir, I just wanted to ask you in your opening remarks today, you said that the riots at Capitol Hill on Wednesday were incited by the current president, by President Trump. He has a significant amount of support within his own party. There are congressmen and senators who support him. Of course, he’s still President for 13 more days. Do you worry about damaging Canada’s relationship with the U.S. by those comments?
Justin Trudeau: (20:13)
I think it’s extremely important that we be there to defend democracy and the principles that Canadians, and indeed Americans and people around the world, hold dear, and recognizing that words have consequences, that choices made by people in power can have a direct impact, not just on behaviors, but on our very institutions is an important thing.
Next question [inaudible 00:20:39].
Speaker 7: (20:39)
[foreign language 00:20:47]
Speaker 8: (20:39)
[foreign language 00:20:47]
Justin Trudeau: (20:39)
[foreign language 00:21:11]
[foreign language 00:21:52]
Speaker 8: (20:39)
[foreign language 00:21:51]
Justin Trudeau: (22:53)
[foreign language 00:04:14]
Glen McGregor: (22:58)
Glen McGregor, CTV news. Prime Minister, a thousand more jobs lost at WestJet today, on top of all the other jobs that have been lost in the airline industry. You’ve been saying, standing in this spot since the spring, saying that you’re negotiating with the airlines to try and help them. Yet here we are in January, still no industry-specific package to help the airline industry. When is it coming, and what is the holdup?
Justin Trudeau: (23:21)
We have invested close to one and a half billion dollars in support for airline companies in this country to support workers with a wage subsidy with other measures, because we know that the airline industry is extremely hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. People shouldn’t be traveling, and that, of course, is a direct challenge for the airline industries to manage through. At the same time, we’ve made it very clear that we expect people to be reimbursed. We expect regional routes to be protected. We expect certain things from the airline industry, and those discussions about how we’re going to make sure that people are protected as we offer supports are continuing.
Glen McGregor: (24:10)
On vaccines, we’re hearing that some countries have been paying a premium to get some of the approved vaccines. With the Pfizer vaccine in particular, Israel paying more than the United States. You’ve refused to say how much Canada is paying per dose, even though it is the government of Canada’s money, and that’s not very transparent and hope you will change your mind and get more information about those contracts. But I’m curious about whether or not Canada has considered paying a premium price to get more vaccine delivered faster. If not, why not? Because it seems to be penny wise, pound foolish, to not spend more on vaccines if we can get them into people’s arms quicker.
Justin Trudeau: (24:44)
From last spring onwards, we knew that securing sources of vaccines would be essential to get Canadians through this pandemic. That’s why we worked very early with potential vaccine companies, and we’re among the first to secure contracts with many of them. We have ended up in the enviable position of having the largest array of access to the top vaccine companies around the world for Canadians, and indeed, more doses per capita for Canadians than for just about any other country in the world. Of course, we need to make sure we’re getting those doses as quickly as possible. I can assure you that we continue ongoing conversations with the companies about accelerating the schedule of delivery so we can get Canadians vaccinated as quickly and as efficiently as possible. The Minister of Procurement, Anita Anand, will be at the noon press conference and can answer further questions on this.
Tom Parry: (25:42)
Hi, Prime Minister, Tom Parry, the CBC. You’ve been talking about getting anyone who wants a vaccine vaccinated by the fall. Are you still confident about that? I just want to know, are you sort of basing that on vaccines that have yet to be approved?
Justin Trudeau: (25:55)
We have secured a very strong array of different vaccines potentially as they move forward. The Pfizer vaccine, the Moderna vaccine are approved. The Johnson and Johnson, the AstraZeneca are in the Health Canada rolling evaluation process right now. The experts who are in charge of our vaccine portfolio and indeed the schedule, are confident that we are going to be able to vaccinate every Canadian who wants it by September. That will be significant in terms of getting through this pandemic and making sure that next winter looks very different from this one. But indeed, as vaccines roll out, we’re hoping for 3 million Canadians to be vaccinated by the end of March, and into the spring we hope to see many, many more millions of Canadians vaccinated, as well. We hold to September as the date in which every Canadian who wants one will be able to get a vaccine.
Speaker 9: (27:00)
[foreign language 00:08:56]
Justin Trudeau: (27:02)
[foreign language 00:27:00]
Justin Trudeau: (27:26)
[foreign language 00:00: 01].
Speaker 10: (27:31)
And on the events this week in Washington, you’ve met with Donald Trump, you’ve spoken with him, you’ve negotiated with him. I’m wondering if you ever expected Donald Trump’s presidency to end this way.
Justin Trudeau: (27:49)
I think throughout the past four years, we have learnt as a country and indeed as a world that the Trump administration was unpredictable and posed certain challenges. But at the same time, we’ve been able to work through in a responsible way, defending Canadian interests and moving forward in a way that always makes it very clear what our values are. We were able to renegotiate NAFTA in a way consistent with our values and our approaches and defend Canadian interests significantly in that area and in many other areas,
Justin Trudeau: (28:26)
Obviously there is going to be much sad and written about in the history books over the coming years about this time, but my focus has always been and will always be how to make sure Canadians are best represented, best defended and best supported as we move through this world. And that’s what we’ve done with this administration and what I very much looking forward to do doing with President Biden as of a couple weeks from now.
Speaker 10: (28:59)
Justin Trudeau: (29:50)
[ foreign language 00:01:59].
Mike Blanchfield: (29:55)
Hello, Prime Minister. Mike Blanchfield, Canadian Press. Following on that, how concerned are you or were you that President Trump’s exhortations on Wednesday would be heard by groups like the Proud Boys and others in Canada? And what concerns did you have about what President Trump was saying about creating potential threats to Canada’s national security?
Justin Trudeau: (30:18)
We know that even as we watch with extreme concern, everything unfolding in the United States over these past few days, that we’re not immune to that in Canada, that we have a responsibility as Canadians to continue to lead with respect, to engage substantially with different points of view and to never resort to violence as a way of impacting public discourse. That is something that Canadians have recommitted to across the country over these past days, and we will continue to be extremely vigilant to remember that the choices we make as leaders, as politicians have consequences. What we choose to say, what we choose not to say, how we choose to say it does have an impact on Canadians. Encourages people to do some things, discourages them to do others. We need to be more responsible all of us in how we approach civil society and community engagement. And that’s something that I think we’re all rededicated to after seeing what can happen in the United States and elsewhere.
Mike Blanchfield: (31:35)
Justin Trudeau: (31:35)
[foreign language 00:04:36].
Mike Blanchfield: (32:20)
Just to follow up on the question earlier about other countries, such as Israel, perhaps paying more for vaccines and changing the economic dynamic of all of this. Do these actions undermine Canada’s efforts to negotiate fair contracts to purchase these products? And are you considering changing the terms of those contracts or trying to pay more to do what you need to do because the landscape is changing?
Justin Trudeau: (32:46)
I know that Minister Anand will have more to say because she’s the one who is in direct contact with the vaccine companies as we work to bring more doses more quickly to Canada. But we have excellent relations with the various vaccine companies and other way, we are demonstrating our ability to deliver for Canadians across the country. This really big vaccination program continues to be a proof point on the fact that we should be continuing to receive more and more doses quickly as we work with companies from around the world.
Justin Trudeau: (33:22)
[foreign language 00:06:24].