Remarks on COVID-19 vaccines and affordable housing investments
Good morning, everyone.
On Monday, I had the chance to meet some incredible people on the front lines of the mass vaccination campaign in Montréal.
From the pharmacists keeping the doses at the right temperature to the nurses administering the vaccines, it was remarkable to see everyone working together as a team.
The organization at the vaccination centre was impressive, and together, we will make sure that as many people as possible are protected, as quickly as possible.
Vaccines are the path out of this pandemic and that’s why securing doses, and getting them to the front lines, is my number one priority.
Yesterday, you may have heard that the White House is talking about sending Canada 1.5 million doses of AstraZeneca.
We’re finalizing an agreement on this with the American administration as we speak.
This is something that Minister Anand and I have raised a number of times with the President and his team.
We’re working closely – and very well – with the Biden administration on many fronts, including vaccines.
I want to thank President Biden for his collaboration.
Canada and the U.S. are each other’s closest friends and most important allies.
I know we’ll continue working to keep Canadians and Americans safe, beat this virus, and rebuild strong, thriving economies together.
Every vaccine approved in Canada is safe, which means you can feel very confident getting it.
This is true for the vaccines from AstraZeneca, just like from Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen.
Yesterday, Health Canada took part in a meeting of the European Medicines Agency where it was confirmed that the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and effective.
The best vaccine for you is the first one you’re offered.
These vaccines will help you and your loved one stay safe.
We’ve already delivered over 4.7 million vaccine doses to the provinces and territories.
And this week, we got more good news about shipments from Pfizer.
Last Friday, I said that we would have a million new Pfizer doses every seven days between March 22 and early May.
Well yesterday, we confirmed that we will continue to receive over a million doses a week through to the end of May.
Everyone who wants to, will be fully vaccinated by the end of September, as we’ve been saying for months.
Yesterday, we also approved the deployment of the Canadian Armed Forces to Northern Manitoba, in order to help roll out vaccines in First Nations communities that are otherwise hard to reach.
This is about working in partnership with First Nations on their efforts to get as many people vaccinated as soon as possible.
The Armed Forces are currently doing detailed planning of the deployment for up to 23 communities in Northern Manitoba.
Again, I want to thank all of our members of the Armed Forces who step up, time and time again, to keep Canadians safe.
To end the pandemic, to rebuild after the global economic crisis, we must all work together.
Yesterday, I spoke with the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, about the global economic recovery.
We need to rebuild, and we need to do it in a way that benefits everyone, including – and perhaps most importantly – the most vulnerable.
Managing Director Georgieva and I discussed the IMF’s annual report, which highlights the positive and concrete impacts of our actions to support Canadians through this crisis.
On Wednesday, I also spoke with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
Our two countries have long been partners, connected by our people and by our values.
Canada welcomes Italy’s leadership during its G20 presidency this year.
The Prime Minister and I discussed, among other things, measures to help families and businesses get through these tough times.
And of course, we also spoke about the importance of vaccination in protecting Canadians, Italians, and people around the world.
Vaccines and programs like the Canada Recovery Benefit help people stay healthy and safe.
But people also need to have access to safe and affordable housing.
The past year has reminded us how important it is to have a roof over our heads. But for too many people, that isn’t something they can take for granted.
Since 2015, we’ve made historic investments in housing from coast to coast to coast.
And last year, when the pandemic hit hard, we knew that we had to do even more and faster.
That’s why we invested a billion dollars in the new Rapid Housing Initiative to quickly create homes right across the country.
At the time, this investment was for 3,000 units.
Well, earlier today, Minister Hussen had some great news to share: we’re not just going to meet our target; we’re going to exceed it.
The Rapid Housing Initiative will now mean over 4,700 more homes, almost 40 per cent of which will be for Indigenous people.
This is about more than just a roof over someone’s head. It’s about hope. It’s about a brighter future.
Just take what an affordable home has meant for a single parent like Sabrina from Peterborough.
Thanks to the local Habitat for Humanity condo development – and the funding they received from the federal government – she’s able to raise her kids in the good, safe place they deserve.
Rebuilding from this pandemic means making sure that everyone in Canada has the tools they need to succeed.
Our plan will help more families buy a home.
It will help create one million jobs for workers of all ages.
And our plan will help all Canadians come roaring back, with a better, stronger future for everyone.
Finally, let me say a few words about Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig.
Michael Spavor’s hearing took place earlier today. The court has not yet pronounced a verdict.
Michael Kovrig’s hearing is scheduled for Monday.
Let me be very clear: their arbitrary detention is completely unacceptable, as is the lack of transparency around these court proceedings.
Our top priority remains securing their release.
We will continue to work tirelessly to bring them home as soon as possible.
I want to thank our many, many international partners, friends, and allies for their solidarity and support.
Going forward, we will continue to be in close contact with the families during this difficult time.
To their loved ones: know that today and every day, Canadians are with you and thinking of both Michaels.
Thank you very much.