Justin Trudeau talks Covid-19 and Wet’suwet’en protests Justin Trudeau talks Covid-19 and Wet’suwet’en protests
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in the GTA this week for a press conference and photo-op.   The Prime Minister made an appearance at a... Justin Trudeau talks Covid-19 and Wet’suwet’en protests

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in the GTA this week for a press conference and photo-op.  

The Prime Minister made an appearance at a branch of the Boys and Girls Club in Scarborough on Thursday morning, March 5, to answer questions on a number of current issues.  

The most prominent questions were about the Covid-19 outbreaks in Canada. 

“We are taking extremely seriously the situation with coronavirus. We are working very closely with our provincial counterparts. We are drawing on global experts and experts here in Canada to make sure Canada is ready for any and all scenarios that come forward,” Trudeau said in a statement to the gathered press. “We created a cabinet committee that will be focused on dealing with the health and impact of the coronavirus, ensuring that Canadians get the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe.” 

Trudeau was also asked why Canada was not banning foreign nationals from countries where there was a heavy Covid-19 presence, as Australia has done.  

“We recognize that there are countries that have made different decisions. The decisions we make are based on the best recommendations of the WHO and the tremendous health experts we work with in Canada and around the world. We know that keeping Canadians safe needs to be done in the right way, and we’re going to keep doing the things that actually keep Canadians safe,” he said.

Further, “There is a lot of misinformation out there, there is a lot of knee jerk reaction that isn’t keeping people safe, that is having real challenging impacts on communities… we’re going to stay focused on doing the things that actually matter.” 

Due to time constraints, Trudeau was unable to answer further questions regarding recent cases that have appeared just south of the border in New York, and how the U.S Government’s handling of the outbreak is impacting Canada’s response.  

Trudeau walks around Boys and Girls Club of East Scarborough, Thursday, March 5, 2020. [Photos by Jacob Brooks]

Among other topics the P.M. discussed was the impact of the Wet’suwet’en protests across the country that resulted in the complete shutdown of C.N Railways nationwide.  

“We recognize that these barricades are a real challenge to Canadians, but we need a peaceful and a lasting resolution. One that will focus on reconciliation, on continued negotiation, on taking actions from the very beginning, that move us toward a  long term resolution of these issues,” said Trudeau. 

“Reconciliation is, obviously, a job that is going to take a long time, but as we move forward in respect and in partnership, we can create better outcomes for indigenous people and for non-indigenous people across this country by working together.” 

He did not clarify what this resolution would entail, and did not elaborate on why the situation took several weeks to defuse.  

VIA Rail, which experienced significant widespread service disruptions as result of the protests, ordered its workers back and is expected to resume full service this Saturday after a shutdown that lasted several weeks.  

A Canadian Press journalist asked the Prime Minister when his promised ban on handguns would go into effect. Trudeau responded by talking about the low-income and welfare programs his government had invested in, before reiterating the promise to ban certain weapons. He did not mention a timeframe or specifics of the ban.  

A number of other topics were discussed, including when Canada would make a decision regarding the Huawei scandal, the impact of Covid-19 on the economy, and recently introduced legislation to decriminalize certain narcotics, before Trudeau abruptly ended the question period.  

Jacob Brooks