Mar 13, 2020
Justin Trudeau Speech Transcript After Wife Gets COVID-19 Virus
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau delivered a speech after his wife tested positive for the coronavirus. Read his speech transcript here.
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Justin Trudeau: (04:09)
He will have further announcements shortly this afternoon. The agreement we reached with other parties to suspend the House today also still gives us the flexibility to do the things we need to do in order to support Canadians. No one should have to worry about paying rent, buying groceries, or additional childcare because of COVID-19. We will help Canadians financially. The government of Canada will be introducing a significant fiscal stimulus package in the days ahead.
Justin Trudeau: (05:28)
Every order of government is working to stop the spread of the virus. Businesses and citizens are taking precautions. We have outstanding public health authorities who are doing an outstanding job. We will get through this together.
Justin Trudeau: (06:44)
We are looking to reduce the number of airports that will accept travelers from overseas in order to be able to give the proper resources on all arrivals to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to keep Canadians and Canada safe. We’re also obviously looking at countries of origin and further measures that we can take. We will make those decisions based on the best science, the best recommendations of our health officials.
Justin Trudeau: (07:59)
We will continue to make decisions based on recommendations of medical experts, public health authorities and top scientists. We understand that we have taken significant measures over the past weeks and month to ensure that Canadians are kept safe and to slow the spread of the virus. We will continue to make determinations about how best to do that based on recommendations of experts. We’re not closing the door to any further steps, but we will make those decisions based on what science tells us.
Ryan [inaudible 00:08:34], National Poster. The financial markets have had two of their worst days on record this week. I’m just wondering, you talk about the government’s fiscal power. Why haven’t we used it yet and what are you planning to do?
Justin Trudeau: (08:47)
Two days ago we announced a billion dollar plan to help invest in health and support Canadians across the country. We’ve also put forward measures that will strengthen EI and help Canadians. We recognize there is much more to do. We do not want any Canadian to have to worry about whether or not they’re going to be able to pay their rent, whether or not they’re going to be able to buy groceries or care for their kids or elderly family members. We need to make sure that Canadians have the options and the ability to follow the best public health advice and keep themselves safe. That is what we are focused on and we will be rolling out those measures in the coming days. The finance minister will make further announcements later today on concrete measures to support our economy, but further to that, in my conversations with my fellow G7 leaders, we have agreed that it will be important for us to coordinate at a G7 level to impact the global economy. We will be continuing to follow up on those conversations in the coming days as well.
Are you considering direct financial payments to Canadians or to affected industries?
Justin Trudeau: (10:03)
We are looking at ways to help Canadians directly, yes, particularly vulnerable Canadians who are going to be particularly squeezed if they aren’t able to go to work. These are the kinds of things we’re focused on. We also know that small businesses may struggle through or will struggle through this period of economic slowdown of people choosing to stay at home and protect their families. We will look at how to support them so that once we get through this difficult time, our economy and Canadians will continue to prosper. [foreign language 00:10:39].
Katherine Collins: (11:31)
Hello, Prime Minister, Katherine Collins, CBC News. Obviously we wish good health to all Canadians, but if you are to fall ill, members of your Cabinet for instance, what is the plan for governing?
Justin Trudeau: (11:41)
We have continued to engage. I’ve been very busy both yesterday and today. We’ll continue to work from home remotely to do the important things that need to be done to keep Canadians safe. We have an exceptional Cabinet that is working hard on all these issues as well. We have extraordinary public servants who are working as well. We will continue to do the work that needs to be done to keep Canadians safe while following all directions by our public health officials.
Katherine Collins: (12:13)
I don’t think that indicates whether there’s a contingency plan in place if you were to fall sick. I’m also curious why public health officials have told you you don’t need to be tested.
Justin Trudeau: (12:22)
First of all, there have always been contingency plans for ministers who are sick, or even a prime minister who is fallen ill. We will continue to follow all those correct contingency plans, but as I said for now, I am continuing to work extremely hard from home. In terms of advice I’ve gotten from medical professionals, it was explained to me that as long as I do not show any symptoms at all, there is no value in having me tested.
Justin Trudeau: (12:55)
[foreign language 00:14:03].
Marieke Walsh: (12:55)
In English, please.
Justin Trudeau: (14:27)
Okay. According to health officials, the fact that I have expressed absolutely no symptoms means that anyone I engaged with throughout this week has not been put at risk.
Marieke Walsh: (14:38)
Marieke Walsh with The Globe and Mail. I’m wondering, given the warnings that Canada’s now giving about traveling abroad, should Canadians still be traveling between provinces, between cities, given how different the virus is spreading within Canada?
Justin Trudeau: (14:51)
I think people need to make responsible decisions and check with their medical professionals and check their own travel plans in terms of what makes sense for them. I know that Canadians will listen to the advice of experts and make decisions that are appropriate for them and for their family.
Marieke Walsh: (15:11)
Can you describe specifically what your self-isolation means both for you and your family and your wife? You’re outside right now. Is your wife still going outside? Is your family still going outside? What does self-isolation actually mean for your family?
Justin Trudeau: (15:24)
We, as are many, many Canadians right now, following very carefully the advice that public health professionals are telling us in terms of what we can do and what we shouldn’t do.
Marieke Walsh: (15:36)
What does that mean? What are you doing?
Justin Trudeau: (15:38)
That means I am in isolation, as are my children, and my wife is in quarantine.
Glen McGregor: (15:45)
Glen McGregor, CTV News. Prime Minister, in your conversation with President Trump yesterday, was there any discussion about future access of Canadians to cross the US border should the situation worsen? Also, do you have any concerns given the US slow response to this about Americans coming here?
Justin Trudeau: (16:02)
We have been working very closely with our counterparts in the United States to coordinate our efforts at the border and to align our efforts. There is certainly ongoing conversations that will continue to be have as the situation evolves, but I’m confident we will continue to be able to work very closely with the Americans to keep people in North America safe, particularly to keep Canadians safe. On that, it is worth noting that it was … One piece of good news that comes out of this situation is that the new NAFTA has now been fully passed and ratified and is now awaiting royal assent, which should happen very quickly.
Glen McGregor: (16:42)
Just following on my colleague’s question, could you describe your situation domestically here in a little more detail? Is your wife here in this house? Are all three kids here? If so, a question a lot of Canadians are dealing with is how are you going to keep them occupied for the next two weeks?
Justin Trudeau: (16:57)
Most of the morning the kids have been doing Lego and my wife has been on the phone to friends and family. I have been on the phone with President Macron, with Cabinet, with officials and members of my team as we work to keep Canadians safe.
Teresa Wright: (17:16)
Good afternoon, Prime Minister, Teresa Wright from the Canadian Press. What is your single biggest concern about Canada’s preparedness at this point?
Justin Trudeau: (17:24)
My concern is that Canadians continue to follow the directions of public health authorities. We have to be alert and responsible. We don’t want to panic, but we don’t want to take this too lightly either. Finding that middle ground is always going to be challenging, but I have tremendous confidence that Canadians are going to be able to.
Teresa Wright: (17:48)
What are you telling your children about the heightened sense of concern in the country? Also, how are you explaining some of the political decisions that you’re making?
Justin Trudeau: (17:56)
We’re obviously having some very good conversations with our kids about what’s going on, about how not to be overly concerned but to be a little bit concerned, which is obviously why they are home today with us. We’re going to continue to have thoughtful conversations as parents across the country will be having with their kids.
Speaker 12: (18:18)
Bruce Campion-Smith: (18:19)
Prime Minister, good afternoon, Bruce Campion-Smith, The Star. Just wondering if you would walk us through the logic that Canada has not gone and taken the step of restricting your international travels. Is it that we don’t agree with perhaps the science in those countries or the experts in those countries that advocate for such a move?
Justin Trudeau: (18:35)
Different countries will have experts that give them advice that is suitable for their own situation. We have followed the instructions and the advice and the recommendations of our top public health officials. We will recall that a number of weeks ago in the beginnings there was discussion of whether or not we should entirely close our borders to China the way the United States did. We did not. We were able to manage it in a way that allowed for control and a non spread of the virus that gives us confidence that our public health officials are giving us the right recommendations for Canada.
Bruce Campion-Smith: (19:17)
On the fiscal stimulus package that’s coming out, can you just describe, is that in place of the budget? Is this kind of a series of what we could expect now through the end of this crisis?
Justin Trudeau: (19:28)
We are obviously focused primarily on how we are going to get money into the pockets of Canadians who will need it because of this situation. We’ve had many, many discussions over the past months about the budget. Those that work will continue, but our focus right now is on ensuring that Canadians have the resources and the money to not have to stress about rent and about groceries and about childcare and elder care at a time where they’re also very worried about their health and their family’s health. We will be supporting the economy and Canadians through this time.