Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a daily update on the coronavirus crisis each day in front of his home in Ottawa. Here are his remarks for April 19, 2020.
Bonjour tout le monde.
Before we get started, I want to touch briefly on the unfolding events in Portapique, Nova Scotia. I know we’ve all been watching this on the news. Our hearts go out to everyone affected in this terrible situation. I want to thank the police for their hard work and people for co-operating with authorities.
I want to wish a happy Orthodox Easter to those celebrating today, even if it’s just over Skype, I hope you can spend this special day with family and friends. Although this pandemic has affected everyone, some people have been hit especially hard. Right now, too many Canadians are facing some really difficult situations. If you live with a disability, I don’t have to tell you what this can look like. You might be worried about whether your support worker will be able to keep coming. You might be concerned about getting groceries, or about your finances. And if you’re caring for someone with a disability, you’re probably anxious about getting support, too. Your voice matters, your experience is important, and our government is listening. If this crisis has laid bare the gaps that still exist for far too many Canadians, it has also given us an opportunity to address them. It has encouraged us to have even more meaningful conversations about how we can make our country a more inclusive, and a more equitable place. Last week, Minister Qualtrough launched a COVID-19 disability advisory group as part of our plan to keep all Canadians healthy, informed and safe. We’re addressing key issues, like equal access to health care and information, as well as support on jobs and income. And we’re doing all of this work with you at the table. On that note, I want to recognize the outstanding organizations right across the country, like the Rick Hansen Foundation, that are bringing these issues to the fore. You are doing incredible work and we are proud to be your partner.
We’ve developed a three-point economic plan to help Canadians get through this tough time. We introduced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit to help people who’ve lost their wages. We brought in new loans for businesses and we introduced the wage subsidy but there is still work to do, there are still people to reach. That’s why this past week, we expanded the Canada Emergency Response Benefit to include workers making up to $1,000 a month, seasonal workers, and those whose EI has recently run out. It’s why we put in place new measures to support people in the energy industry, which is suffering right now. And we also brought in support for people who continue to do incredible work in the arts, culture and sports communities. And it’s why we’ve kept making progress with the provinces and territories on increasing wages for essential workers who need it.
Now things are tough for employers, too. So we brought in a whole range of additional support on loans and credit, and for Indigenous businesses, and businesses in the north. And for communities that need extra support, we approved requests to have the Canadian Armed Forces assist in Quebec long-term care facilities, as well as in Nunavik and in Basse-Cote-Nord. Today, I can announce that we’ve also approved the extension of a request from the Government of Quebec for the Canadian Rangers to help Nutashkuan and Ekuanitshit First Nations near Basse-Cote-Nord.
All these measures we’ve brought in are about helping you do the things that will get us through this. And it’s working. We’re seeing the numbers trend in the right direction, so we need to keep doing what we’re doing, and keep being extremely careful, and we will get through this together.
[speaking in French] However, even if we emphasize some encouraging trends, we will not delude ourselves. Throughout the country, thousands of families are going through horrible times because of the pandemic. Let me take a minute to convey my condolences to all people who are mourning and grieving. All Canadians share your sadness and they are with you during this terrible ordeal. As a government, we have your backs and we will be crossing those difficult times together. Of course, we need to think about elderly people in long-term care residences who cannot see their children or grandchildren except through Facetime, and they are scared. They hear and they see the news and they see how awful the situation is in homes for elderly people, and they’re worried about whether they’ll be able to see their children and grandchildren again. This is something that makes them grieve and we should do everything we can to work together, and also emphasizing that we must continue to stay home, we must continue to slow down the spread of this virus. Together we’ll make it through this crisis.
Because it’s Sunday, I want to end again by talking directly to all the kids who might be watching. This week is National Volunteer Week. That means we say ‘thank you’ to everyone around us doing things like helping seniors get groceries and putting in a shift at a food bank. You can join in from home, too. Ask your parents if you can help them make dinner and do extra cleaning around the house, help your brother or sister with schoolwork, say hi over Facetime to your grandparents who I know are missing you. Young and young at heart, we can all make a real difference. I heard a great story the other day about a restaurant in Nova Scotia, The Canteen. They’ve turned the restaurant into a community kitchen where people pitch in and get meals to those in need. And there have been thousands of Canadians who have already signed up to our national COVID-19 volunteer recruitment campaign to lighten the load on our front-line workers. Everyone can help out. Everyone can help us get through this.
MORE ABOUT CORONAVIRUS:
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- Trudeau’s daily coronavirus update: Military to provide support for long-term care facilities
- Doug Ford’s April 17 Ontario coronavirus update: Full replay