Remarks announcing support to help communities create jobs and restart the economy
Good morning, everyone.
I want to start by addressing the situation that’s unfolding south of the border, which is also having an impact here at home.
For far too many Canadians, the images and stories coming out of the US are all too familiar.
As a country, we can’t pretend that racism doesn’t exist here.
Anti-black racism is real.
Unconscious bias is real.
And systemic discrimination is real.
And they happen here in Canada.
Over the weekend, we saw thousands of people gather across the country to join peaceful protests against anti-black racism.
By standing together – and denouncing the few who would try to derail these demonstrations – Canadians are sending the message that they will never tolerate injustice.
To young Black Canadians:
I hear you when you say you are anxious and angry.
When you say that this brings back painful experiences of racism that you’ve faced.
I want you to know that I’m listening.
And that your government will always stand with you.
Together, we will keep taking meaningful action to fight racism and discrimination in every form.
The status quo – where people face violence because of the colour of their skin – is unacceptable.
No parent should have to once again explain to their kids that they, or their friends, might face racism.
It is time – it is past time – for this to change.
As leaders and allies, we must do the hard work needed to listen and learn.
We must ensure that everyone is safe and respected.
That includes journalists, who need to be able to do their work on the frontlines to expose the truth and tell the stories we need to hear.
And we must, as Canadians, always keep working together, to build a fairer, better, more equitable country for all.
For far too many Canadians, what’s happening across the border at this time is all too familiar.
Anti-black racism, systemic discrimination, injustice: they exist here in Canada, too.
Over the weekend, we saw thousands of people all across the country take part in peaceful protests against racism.
By standing together—and denouncing those who tried, as always, to disrupt the demonstrations—Canadians are sending the message that they will not tolerate injustice. So I want to address young Black Canadians.
I hear you.
I hear your worries, your anger, your pain.
I hear you when you say that this reminds you of painful experiences of racism and discrimination.
And our government is here for you.
And we are taking action to fight all forms of racism and hatred.
The status quo—in which young people face violence because of the colour of their skin—is unacceptable.
No parent should have to explain to their children once again that they or their friends could face racism.
As leaders and allies, we must ensure that everyone is safe and treated with respect.
This of course includes journalists, who must be able to do their job on the ground to expose the truth and tell the stories we need to hear.
And as Canadians, we must continue to build a better country that is more equitable for everyone.
It has been a very difficult spring for many people.
And although the path forward won’t be easy, things will get better.
Over the last month, we’ve started to see promising signs that the curve is flattening in Canada.
Now, the situation remains very serious, but the more we can control the spread of the virus, the more we can begin restarting.
In many parts of the country, this is already happening.
In others, where the situation remains more uncertain, steps are being taken more slowly.
Every province and territory will have its own approach.
But as we move forward with restarting the economy, we must keep working together.
On Thursday, as part of our weekly call, I spoke to the premiers about collaboration on the path ahead.
I’m working closely with them – just like with mayors and other leaders – on what this approach should include.
Because there are a whole range of issues that will require us to take action together.
As I’ve said before, to keep Canadians safe, to give businesses the confidence to reopen their doors and people the confidence to walk through those doors, we need to cooperate on country-wide testing and contact tracing.
And on this front, we’re making good progress.
At the same time, our government is ready to be a partner for the provinces and territories in supporting vulnerable people, securing personal protective equipment, and working on childcare, to name a few.
In other words, we’re ready to be a partner in a safe, effective restart of the economy.
And today, we’re demonstrating a first step forward, with support for municipalities as they face a cash crunch.
From testing clinics to programs for seniors, cities and towns provide essential services.
So it’s crucial that they have the resources they need.
In response to COVID-19, we will make available $2.2 billion for municipalities in the coming weeks, through their yearly federal support with the Gas Tax Fund.
Normally, municipalities receive these payments in two instalments, but we know that cities and towns need this money right away as they deal with COVID-19.
That’s why we’re making the full 2020/2021 payment available now.
Minister McKenna has sent letters to all of her provincial and territorial counterparts to outline how this accelerated process will work.
But here’s the bottom line:
This is strong support to keep Canadians safe and our communities strong.
And it’s support that will give businesses the confidence to reopen, getting hardworking Canadians back on the job.
This is a start.
We know there’s more to be done to support municipalities and to support the entire reopening process.
In the days and weeks to come, we’ll keep working with the provinces and territories on this, and on a whole range of other measures.
Now, more than ever, we must work together to restart the economy.
So our government will continue working with its partners to respond to this crisis, notably in terms of contact tracing and testing.
We are also ready to help the provinces and territories protect those who are vulnerable, obtain more personal protective equipment, and address challenges like childcare.
We are ready to work together to ensure a safe restart.
That is why we are taking a first step forward by providing support for municipalities, which are facing cash flow problems.
Today, I am announcing that we will be providing $2.2 billion to municipalities in the coming weeks through annual federal funding.
Municipalities normally receive these payments in two instalments, but this is money that they need now to continue to provide essential services.
We will therefore be making a single payment for 2020–2021 starting now.
Minister McKenna has sent letters to her provincial and territorial counterparts to explain the accelerated process.
But this is the bottom line.
We are making this investment to help municipalities continue to keep Canadians safe.
We are supporting services that will help businesses to reopen and people to get back to work.
We are also looking at other ways to support the essential work being done by cities and municipalities across the country.
There is still a lot to do to get our communities up and running again, to get our businesses open again, and to get people back to work.
But I know that we can do it, together.