Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is implementing new measures to mobilize the Canadian scientific sector in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine and to help farmers affected by the pandemic. It also offered a violent rebuke for those who don’t pay attention to public health advice for maintaining a safe physical distance between them and others.
On Monday morning, Trudeau announced that the federal government will spend $ 192 million on the development and production of vaccines and treatments for COVID-19. The money is being made available to Canadian research and life sciences companies and educational institutions across the country, including some that focus on the discovery of antibodies and plant-based vaccines.
“We are investing in a long-term solution for COVID-19,” said Trudeau, noting that a vaccine will take months to develop and test. “Once there are promising options, Canada needs the ability to mass-produce treatments as quickly as possible.”
The government also invited Canadian universities, colleges and polytechnic institutions to play a role.
“We need all our hands on the bridge,” said Trudeau. By mid-afternoon on Friday there were 2,035 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Canada.
The prime minister also presented new measures to support farmers and agri-food businesses that are facing the financial impacts of the pandemic. This includes $ 5 billion of lending capacity for producers, agribusiness and food processors and a six-month extension for loan repayments, the cost of which is $ 173 million in deferred loans to keep money in farmers’ pockets.
“I know these are difficult times,” Trudeau told the farming community, thanking those in the food sector who keep Canadians fed in this time of crisis.
Speaking in more detail about the new support for Canadian farmers, Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said that periods like these show “how critical” farmers, producers and food distributors in the country.
“Enough is enough … stay home”: PM
The Prime Minister’s remarks outside Rideau Cottage came as Canadians settle in another week of what experts say may be months of physical removal measures.
Trudeau is now in his second week of self-isolation given his wife’s positive test on March 12 and said he plans to remain isolated for all his 14 days and will reevaluate with health experts after that period has expired.
Trudeau said that physical removal measures may require a toll but cannot stop.
“It means keeping two meters between you and someone else. It means avoiding groups. It means staying at home as much as possible. If you choose to ignore that advice, you’re not just putting yourself at risk, you’re putting others at risk, “said Trudeau.” When it’s too much, it’s too much. Go home and stay home. This is what we all have to do and we will make it happen. “
Trudeau will speak to all the premieres on Monday evening. Everyone has declared some form of provincial public health crisis or state of emergency.
Trudeau said that collective quarantine and self-isolation measures will be on the agenda for that call, and it is possible that further measures to close the interprovincial borders will be on the table during that discussion.
Over the weekend, public health and government officials expressed growing alarm over the observed crowds gathering in public places such as parks and beaches, prompting Health Minister Patty Hajdu to urge Canadians to think about their obligations and the ability of the federal government. to drastically eliminate the ability of Canadians to move freely, through powers that they could enact under both the Emergency Act and the Quarantine Act.
Hajdu said on Monday that the government is actively considering stronger measures for those returning to Canada, including perhaps private transportation for those who cannot return home alone.
He also noted that the largest demographic group of Canadians that tested positive was people of working age, some of whom had “very serious complications” following the virus’s contraction.
So far the federal government has not chosen to take such draconian measures, but if it becomes clear that provincial and municipal efforts to curtail movements are not effective, Trudeau reiterated Monday that it will be a step forward.
“We’ve all seen photos of people online who seem to think they’re invincible, well you’re not,” said Trudeau. “Nothing that can help is off the table.”
Among the ways the government is exploring the application of these requirements: random inspections or hotlines, as Hajdu floated on Monday.
Trudeau said he knew that those who follow the lead are frustrated by those who are not and everyone must “do their part.”
Referring to the new cross-Canadian federal advertising campaigns being launched, the prime minister said they will reach everyone and there is no excuse for not listening to the board of public health officials. These messages are broadcast by high-profile Canadians in the cultural sector, as well as by the head of public health Dr. Theresa Tam.
Tam said Monday that everyone who is collaborating with physical removal and self-isolation requirements is helping to give Canadian experts the time to find solutions and hopefully relieve some of the hospitals and pressure clinics that are and will be feeling. more and more cases of COIVD-19 in Canada have been discovered.
“Listening is your duty and staying home is your way of serving,” said Trudeau.
Following the Prime Minister’s remarks, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland joined other officials to provide an update on COVID-19’s efforts, after leading a special cabinet committee meeting focused on the federal response to the new coronavirus.
When asked about the closure of non-essential travel to the Canada-United States border, which came into effect on Friday at midnight, Freeland was unaware of any issues raised, but pointed Canadians to the Border Services Agency’s website. Canada if they needed further clarity as to who will be able to cross again.
Hajdu also announced on Monday that it will soon have more to say about the steps the government is taking to address the mental health pressures a quarantine-like national environment may have on people. He said they are working on the release of a free national app that Canadians can download and connect directly to mental health services.
“I am very concerned about mental health and I am very concerned about other situations related to the fears and anxiety that people experience … and of course forced into situations where they prefer not to be,” he said.
Trudeau announced on Sunday that the House of Commons will resume for a special hour session to pass aspects of the $ 82 billion financial aid and economic stimulus package that require legislation, such as changes to job benefits for Canadians without work and improve the benefit for minors in Canada.
These measures are the first in what the government says will come the most, with the Conference Board of Canada predicting that the global epidemic could result in the loss of over 330,000 jobs in Canada if public health measures remain in force for several months.
The special bill was put into effect by Finance Minister Bill Morneau and is titled “A law that respects certain measures in response to COVID-19”. It is the only activity point on Tuesday’s agenda.
All parties agreed on a plan to have 32 members in the House on Tuesday, when the bill will be followed quickly at all stages and sent to the Senate at the end of the day. There will be 14 liberals, 11 conservatives, three members each of the Quebecois and NDP bloc and a green congressman.
The government will fly to some key members of the western Canadian opposition to take part in the historic session.
The Senate will then reunite on Wednesday with an equally limited list of senators and staff to check and approve the bill, and the final step – a royal assent ceremony – is expected that day.
“During the recall, measures will be taken to ensure the health and safety of senators and staff involved in House operations,” the Senate said in a statement.
Already in Ottawa, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh called on the federal government to modify the aid package that will be discussed on Tuesday. The neo-Democrats propose to send $ 2,000 to each Canadian and $ 250 per child, “to give people the help they need now,” saying some families will arrive later this month without enough money to pay their bills. or the rent and this “is simply not sustainable”.
Singh also wants the 10% wage subsidy to increase to 75%, calling these suggestions bold but proportionate measures to the situation that Canadians are facing.
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, who will be in Ottawa for the special session, also wants to see the wage subsidy “significantly” increasedamong other increases in support for small businesses and their employees.