Prime Minister Justin Trudeau puts on his mask after speaking during a news conference in Ottawa on Friday November 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau puts on his mask after speaking during a news conference in Ottawa on Friday November 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Trudeau prods premiers to impose more stringent measures to curb spread of COVID-19

Officials said Thursday’s conference call was collegial and constructive

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will continue today to prod premiers towards more stringent measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, even as he offers up more federal funding to help provinces retrain workers left jobless by the pandemic.

Trudeau is expected to announce hundreds of millions of dollars more for provinces to plow into skills training, on top of some $3.5 billion in previously announced funding.

But he’s also expected to renew his call for premiers to impose the restrictions necessary to douse the wildfire spread of COVID-19 and not be deterred by the economic costs of shutting down businesses.

Trudeau took that message directly to premiers during a conference call Thursday evening.

A summary of the call issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, says Trudeau asked premiers to “identify their specific needs to protect the health and safety of Canadians and bring the virus under control in their jurisdictions.”

And he assured them the federal government will continue to provide them with assistance and “will do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to keep Canadians safe and supported.”

Federal officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the issue publicly, say Trudeau stressed that he’s not trying to tell premiers what to do or cast blame for the alarming surge in COVID-19 cases across the country.

Rather, he wanted to emphasize that the federal government has put in place billions worth of support programs to help individuals and businesses weather lockdowns — and stands ready to pour more money into the effort to get the second wave under control.

Trudeau issued a similar message Tuesday.

“With rising cases of COVID-19 here at home, there’s added pressure on all orders of government to keep people safe, and to protect jobs,” he told a news conference.

“But I would hope that no leader in our country is easing public health vigilance because they feel pressure not to shut down businesses or slow down our economy.

“… I’m imploring the premiers and our mayors to please do the right thing: Act now to protect public health. If you think something is missing in the support we’re offering for your citizens, tell us.”

That message did not sit well with all premiers. Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe said it was “extremely unhelpful” for the prime minister to frame the issue as a “false choice” between protecting Canadians’ health and protecting the economy.

Still, officials said Thursday’s conference call was collegial and constructive. The readout added that “all first ministers reiterated their support for the Team Canada approach to fighting COVID-19.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Individuals and businesses are encouraged to bring their unwanted electronics to Tillicum Centre May 14 to be shredded, recycled or donated. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria residents can shred, donate electronics safely

Vancouver Island Better Business Bureau hosts event May 14 at Tillicum Centre

Penelope the cat showed up safe and sound at her owner’s porch after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks. (Photo courtesy of Reuniting Owners with Animals Missing)
Penelope, cat and friend of the Victoria HarbourCats, returns home safe

The cat had an after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks

Stanley Fischer (right) died while in a Victoria police jail cell hours after he was arrested on Nov. 15, 1981. Forty years later, his family is questioning his cause of death. (Photo courtesy of Mark Fischer)
Family wants investigation into man’s 1981 death while in Victoria police custody

Stanley Fischer’s death was ruled a suicide after he was found hanging in his jail cell

The Compost Education Centre is hosting its annual spring plant sale on May 8 at 1216 North Park St. Physical distancing protocols will be in effect during the sale, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Black Press Media file photo)
This weekend: Tenth annual spring plant sale hosted by Victoria Compost Education Centre

The non-profit event Saturday, May 8 will feature numerous varieties of plants, live music

Saanich police detectives are investigating a reported sexual assault that occurred near Glanford Park on the evening of Dec. 29, 2020 and have shared an artist’s rendering of the individual. (Image via Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers)
Saanich police release sketch of suspect sought in December sexual assault

Anyone with information asked to contact detectives, Crime Stoppers

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Most Read