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

Black Press file photo
Moose hit on Hwy 37 S

The collision happened Saturday (Nov. 21) and three people were taken to hospital

<em>Pixabay</em>
All I want for Christmas is…food!

The Kitimat Northern Sentinel wants to publish your holiday recipes

Cases have gone up in Northern Health in the past week, as they have all over B.C. (K-J Millar/Black Press Media)
Northern Health reports new highest number of COVID-19 cases in one day

Nineteen cases were reported to Public Health last Tuesday (Nov. 17)

(Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared Thursday.
COVID-19 outbreak at LNG Canada Project site

14 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 at this time

FILE – British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry wears a face mask as she views the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Masks now mandatory in all public indoor and retail spaces in B.C.

Many retailers and businesses had voiced their frustration with a lack of mask mandate before

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

More than 70 anglers participated in the bar-fishing demonstration fishery on Sept. 9, 2020 on the Fraser River near Chilliwack. DFO officers ticketed six people and seized four rods. A court date is set for Dec. 1, 2020. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Anglers ticketed in Fraser River demonstration fishery heading to court

Sportfishing groups started a GoFundMe with almost $20K so far for legal defence of six anglers

Most Read