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

Remains of the scene off Melrose Road in Whiskey Creek where three bodies were found on Nov. 1, 2020. (Mandy Moraes photo)
RCMP investigation continues into grisly discovery of 3 human bodies, 4 dead dogs near Whiskey Creek

Police still want to speak with motorist who picked up hitchhikers near scene on Nov. 1

An man from Errington died when his ATV went over an embankment on Northwest Bay Logging Road on the weekend. (File photo)
Errington man dies in ATV crash southwest of Parksville

Incident happened on Northwest Bay Logging Road on Saturday afternoon

Patricia Taylor and Debra Strut at the Salvation Army on Friday, Nov. 27, handing out winter boots and gift bags to those in need. Taylor says they'll be back until all her supplies are gone.(Mandy Moraes photo)
Parksville residents distribute gifts and winter boots in Salvation Army parking lot

‘I’m hoping to open the eyes of the community to realize that everybody has value’

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Left to right: A screenshot of NTC nurse navigator Lesley Cerney, FNHA regional mental health manager Georjeana Paterson and Island Health’s medical health officer Dr. Charmaine Enns addressing Ehattesaht community members from Ehatis reserve in a Facebook live update. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Medical team sent to Ehatis reserve near Zeballos to guide community through COVID outbreak

17 cases, eight recoveries and no hospitalizations as Island Health praises First Nation’s response

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Still from a video surveillance camera of a man alleged to have stolen from several people at knife-point in Chilliwack (Rosedale) early on Nov. 28, 2020. (Facebook)
B.C. man defends his family against intruder, saves neighbour while wielding hockey stick

RCMP looking for footage that captures violent crime spree in Chilliwack

Most Read