In a rare televised national address, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to the airwaves tonight to warn that Canada is at a “crossroads” as COVID-19 cases spike in some provinces, and with pandemic conditions in the fall expected to be worse than what the country endured when the crisis was just beginning.
Canada entered an ordered shutdown of economic and social life in mid-March, when there were only a few dozen new cases being reported each day. Now, with 1,000 new cases reported nationwide yesterday, Trudeau said there can be no doubt that four of the country’s provinces — Alberta, B.C., Ontario and Quebec — are in the second wave of COVID-19.
“I know this isn’t the news that any of us wanted to hear. And we can’t change today’s numbers or even tomorrow’s … but what we can change is where we are in October, and into the winter,” he said.
“It’s all too likely we won’t be gathering for Thanksgiving, but we still have a shot at Christmas.”
Trudeau said that while the outlook is grim, Canada has the tools it needs to blunt the impact of a pandemic that has already claimed the lives of 9,200 people in this country.
“We have the power to get this second wave under control. I know we can do it, because we’ve already done it once before. In the spring, we all did our part by staying home. And this fall, we have even more tools in the toolbox,” he said.
Trudeau said Canadians must continue to wear masks where possible, limit social interactions — “It’s no time for a party” — and download the COVID-19 alert app so that those who test positive can anonymously alert close contacts.
“It’s a powerful, free tool that’s easy to use and protects your privacy,” he said.
Trudeau also sought to reassure Canadians that the government is working to procure the goods needed to get the country past this health crisis.
He said the government has signed billions of dollars worth of agreements to buy vaccines, therapeutics and personal protective equipment (PPE). Canada faced critical shortages of gloves, masks and gowns in the early days of the pandemic, after government agents failed to adequately supply the national emergency stockpile.
Beyond warnings about a projected spike in cases in the coming months, Trudeau used the second half of his 15-minute address to assure Canadians that the government will be ready to help them navigate the economic fallout — pointing to some of the policy proposals that were outlined in the speech from the throne this afternoon.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, who responded to Trudeau’s remarks from isolation after testing positive for the virus last Friday, said the Tories have lost faith in the government’s response to this pandemic.
“The situation facing my family shows we must remain extremely vigilant in our battle against the spread of COVID-19. We must also be very vigilant for the future of our country,” he said. His wife, Rebecca, has also tested positive.
He urged Trudeau to push Health Canada regulators to approve rapid testing devices to ease the pressure on hospital-run testing centres that have experienced hours-long lineups in some parts of the country.
While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved two antigen testing devices months ago — tests that can deliver results in less than 15 minutes — Health Canada has said it is not ready to put its stamp of approval on such tests.
Antigen tests — which, depending on the device, use matter collected from a nasal or throat swab — don’t require the use of a lab to generate results. The FDA has said such tests are a safe and reliable way to determine a person’s COVID-19 status.
“It is unacceptable that we trust countries like Japan, Germany and the U.S. with our national security intelligence but we don’t trust their approval of a 15-minute saliva test,” O’Toole said.
Government promises 1 million new jobs
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette delivered the government’s nearly hour-long address in the Senate chamber earlier today.
In that speech, the government pledged to create one million new jobs, extend the wage subsidy program until next summer, launch the largest jobs training program in the country’s history and begin to build a national child-care program to support working women.
The Liberal government also promised to push ahead with plans to create a universal pharmacare program with any provinces willing to take part.
Watch: Throne speech outlines Trudeau government’s plans for pandemic recovery
The government promised to pursue an ambitious environmental agenda to fast-track Canada’s efforts to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions through home retrofits and infrastructure spending, and through tax incentives for companies building zero-emissions products, like electric vehicles.
“The economic impact of COVID-19 on Canadians has already been worse than the 2008 financial crisis. These consequences will not be short-lived. This is not the time for austerity. Canada entered this crisis in the best fiscal position of its peers and the government is using that fiscal firepower,” the government said in the speech.
The Bloc Québécois and Conservative parties promised Wednesday to vote against the speech.
If NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and his caucus also vote against the speech, Canadians will be headed to the polls for a fall federal election.
Singh told reporters that he had not yet decided how his caucus will vote when it’s given the chance in the Commons in the days ahead.
“We’re going to take a lot of time to consider the throne speech and make sure we evaluate it and make a decision around whether we’re supporting or not,” he said.
He said he’s troubled by the Liberals’ pitch to do away with the Canadian emergency relief benefit (CERB) in favour of a revamped Employment Insurance (EI) system, warning it could hurt workers who have been forced to stay home because of the pandemic.
Conservatives say no
Conservative Deputy Leader Candice Bergen said the Tories cannot support the speech because it doesn’t address a major issue: Western alienation and national unity.
The speech said little about the oil and gas sector — an industry that has been hit hard by sinking oil prices and dwindling demand, leaving thousands jobless.
“There were no words that said, ‘We value natural resources, we value our forestry workers, we value our agricultural sector.’ They should have said all that and they didn’t. We were hoping for something better,” she said. “Conservatives continue to be the only party standing up for the West.”
The speech included big-ticket spending promises with no plan to pay for them — which Bergen dismissed as irresponsible.
“They’re still talking about how budgets will balance themselves, so it’s very, very concerning,” Bergen said, citing Trudeau’s claim from years back that a growing economy would reduce federal deficits.
Bergen said the speech offered little new material — “just grand gestures and empty promises” — and the prorogation of Parliament to deliver the speech was a naked attempt to shield the Liberal government from further parliamentary inquiry into the WE Charity scandal.
Asked if it was responsible to push Canadians closer to an election during a pandemic, Bergen said Canada is a democracy and Tories have the right to vote against a speech that fails to address their priorities.
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Canada sees 2,341 new coronavirus cases as deaths near 10,000 – Global News
Canada added 2,341 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the country’s total case count to 203,476.
Health authorities in Canada’s provinces also said another 16 people have died after testing positive for COVID-19.
The new fatalities bring the country’s total death toll to 9,794.
News of the new infections comes as health officials work to slow the spread of the virus as Canada faces a second wave of the pandemic.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the fight against the virus is “far from over.”
“And to win it, we have to keep working together,” he said. “Canada is a big country, the pandemic is playing out differently in different provinces and territories.
“That’s why I’m asking everyone to keep following the guidelines of their local public health authorities.”
In Ontario, 821 new cases were reported, and health officials said three more fatalities had occurred.
The new infections bring the province’s total case count to 65,896, and its death toll to 3,053.
However, 56,606 people have recovered from the virus, while 4,714,326 tests have been administered in Ontario.
Coronavirus: Trudeau says his kids won’t go trick-or-treating on Halloween this year
Meanwhile, in Quebec, 877 new cases of the respiratory illness were detected and health authorities confirmed 11 more people have died.
Since the pandemic began, 95,216 people have contracted the respiratory illness in the province.
Thus far, 80,468 people have recovered from COVID-19 in Quebec, while 2,839,254 people have been tested.
Forty-three new cases of the virus were reported in Saskatchewan on Tuesday, but the province’s death toll remained at 25.
A total of 233,017 tests for the novel coronavirus have been administered in Saskatchewan, while 1,987 people have recovered after falling ill.
Manitoba saw 109 new cases of the virus, but no new deaths.
Since the pandemic began, 1,703 people have recovered after contracting the illness, while 235,530 tests have been conducted.
Further west in Alberta, 323 new cases were reported, and health authorities said one more person had died, bringing the province’s death toll to 293.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Alberta has seen 22,996 COVID-19 infections, however, 19,500 people have recovered.
To date, 1,653,361 tests for the novel coronavirus have been administered.
British Columbia health officials said 166 new cases have been detected, and one more person has died.
The new infections bring the province’s total case load to 11,641.
One epidemiologically-linked case was also reported, meaning it has not yet been confirmed by a laboratory.
B.C. has seen 9,871 people recover from the respiratory illness and health officials have administered 736,637 tests.
No new infections or deaths related to COVID-19 were reported in New Brunswick, meaning the province’s total case count remained at 313.
So far, 215 people have recovered after becoming sick.
Provincial health authorities have administered 93,656 tests to date.
Nova Scotia did not report any new cases or deaths relating to the virus, either.
This means the province’s case count and death toll remained at 1,097 and 65, respectively.
A total of 106,748 tests for the virus have been conducted in Nova Scotia, while 1,027 have recovered after contracting COVID-19.
One new coronavirus case was detected in Prince Edward Island, bringing the province’s total case load to 64.
However, 61 of those cases are considered to be resolved.
The island, which has not yet seen a death associated with COVID-19, has conducted 42,377 tests.
Coronavirus: Canadians must reduce contacts to bring pandemic under control, Dr. Tam says
Newfoundland did not detect any new infections or deaths on Tuesday.
The province, which has seen 287 confirmed cases, has not reported a new case since Thursday.
So far, 272 people have recovered from the virus, while 49,117 have been tested.
New case in the territories
One new case was reported in the Northwest Territories on Tuesday, bringing the total case count in the region to six.
However, five of those cases are considered to be resolved. The territory has tested 5,939 people to date.
In the Yukon, 17 cases of the virus have been confirmed, 15 of which are considered to be resolved.
The territory has not yet seen a COVID-19 related death, and has tested 3,785 people.
Nunavut has not yet seen a confirmed case of the virus.
Global cases approach 41 million
The number of novel coronavirus cases remained under 41 million on Tuesday.
According to a tally from Johns Hopkins University, by 7:20 p.m. ET there were a total of 40,652,097 COVID-19 cases around the world.
Since the virus was first detected in China late last year, it has claimed 1,122,036 lives.
Coronavirus: Tam says provinces need to ‘test smartly’ as 2nd wave of COVID-19 grips Canada
The United States remained the country with the greatest amount of COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, with more than 8.2 million infections.
So far, more than 220,000 people have died in the U.S. after testing positive for coronavirus.
India has reported the second-most cases at 7.5 million, and has seen over 115,000 fatalities.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada – BradfordToday
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern):
Health officials in B.C. are reporting new outbreaks at three long-term care facilities and 167 more new cases of COVID-19.
A statement from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says another person has died, for a total of 254 deaths.
There have been 11,854 cases diagnosed in the province, while 9,871 people who tested positive are considered recovered.
Henry says the efforts made by B.C. residents to contain COVID-19 are making a difference to help slow its spread.
Chief of the defence staff Gen. Jonathan Vance has ordered Canadian troops to keep up their guard against COVID-19 while painting a gloomy picture of how the pandemic could affect the military and country.
The order is contained in a new directive from Vance and Defence Department deputy minister Jody Thomas in which they describe complacency around physical distancing, mask wearing and other public-health measures as the greatest threat to the military when it comes to COVID-19.
At the same time, they suggest the pandemic will get worse before it gets better, with expectations it could last 12 months or longer and result in more infections among military personnel along with continued shortages of medical equipment across the country.
Manitoba is reporting 109 new COVID-19 cases, with 88 of them in Winnipeg.
Health officials are also reporting outbreaks at one school and three long-term care homes in the city.
The greater Winnipeg region has been under stricter health orders, including mandatory mask use in public indoor areas, after numbers started climbing last month.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his children are not going trick-or-treating for Halloween this year.
He says this is because Ottawa, where he and his family live, is considered a COVID-19 hot spot and local public health officials have advised against children going door-to-door this year.
He says his children might take part in a hunt for candy around the house instead.
Trudeau says he understands how frustrating the pandemic is for parents and children but stressed it is important to listen to the guidance of local public health officials.
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, has said that trick-or-treating can be done safely, but Canadians should follow the advice of local public health officials because the spread of the novel coronavirus is different across the country.
Canada’s chief public health officer says there have been 201,437 cases of COVID-19 in Canada reported as of Monday evening.
Dr. Theresa Tam says there have been 9,778 deaths from the illness.
She says Canadians needs to keep making a collective effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
She says this includes keeping a limited number of contacts, downloading the COVID-19 Alert app and making sure to spread accurate information about the illness on social media.
Small Business Minister Mary Ng says Ottawa is committing $12 million to a fund to help small business owners respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The money is to be made available through the Canada United Small Business Resilience Fund.
It will help small business owners buy personal protective equipment, renovate their spaces to respond to local public health measures and boost their ability to sell things online.
Ng also encouraged everyone to download the COVID-19 Alert app to help them learn if they have been exposed to the novel coronavirus.
Ng says she took a COVID-19 test and received a negative result after being notified of an exposure through the app.
Quebec is reporting 877 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.
Health officials are also reporting a jump in hospitalizations of 33, for a total of 565, with 100 people in intensive care, a rise of eight.
The province said today five people died of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours while seven deaths occurred between Oct. 13 and 18.
Quebec has reported a total of 95,216 cases of COVID-19 and 6,055 deaths attributed to the virus since the start of the pandemic.
Authorities say one death previously attributed to COVID-19 was unrelated while 90 cases had been incorrectly labelled as positive.
Ontario is reporting 821 new cases of COVID-19 today, and three new deaths due to the virus.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says 327 cases are in Toronto, 136 in Peel Region, 79 in Ottawa, and 64 in York Region.
The province says it has a backlog of 24,129 tests, and has conducted 24,049 tests since the last daily report.
In total, 274 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19.
Prince Edward Island is reporting one new case of COVID-19.
Dr. Heather Morrison, the chief public health officer, says the case involves a woman in her 20s who is a rotational worker and who travelled outside of the Atlantic bubble.
There are currently three active cases on the Island.
Since the pandemic began, P.E.I. has seen a total of 64 cases and all have been travel related.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 20, 2020.
The Canadian Press
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