Remarks updating Canadians on the COVID-19 situation and support for Manitoba
I’m happy to be joined today by Minister Anand and Minister Carr, as well as Dr. Tam and Dr. Njoo.
When we reach the May long weekend every year, we know there’s about a month left before summer officially begins.
After a difficult winter and spring, we are all looking forward to summer.
This year, the long weekend was even more special because it marked a turning point in our fight against COVID-19: we just passed the milestone of over half of all Canadians receiving at least one vaccine dose.
More than half of all Canadians receiving at least one vaccine dose.
That number is going to keep going up fast because millions more doses are coming.
We now rank number three in the G20 on doses administered per capita.
It’s clear that working together, as one big Team Canada, is paying off.
To all our health care staff at hospitals, pharmacies, and vaccination centres, thank you for being part of this historic effort. You’re doing a great job, keep it up.
We’re all so deeply grateful.
And to everyone who’s now eligible to book a first dose, we’re all counting on you.
Make sure you get your shot when you can.
If we all do our part – if we get vaccinated and continue following public health guidelines – we will have a much better summer and we will get through this crisis once and for all.
There are lots of reasons to be hopeful, but that doesn’t mean we can let our guard down yet.
In a number of places, we’re still facing a very serious third wave.
Last Friday, I reached out to Premier Pallister about the extremely concerning situation in Manitoba.
I also had a call with Mayor Brian Bowman of Winnipeg.
I let them both know that the federal government is ready to do whatever it takes to keep Manitobans, and all Canadians, safe.
As soon as a province asks for more assistance, we’re there to help.
That’s why, in anticipation of Manitoba’s official request for additional support to manage the situation, we’re preparing to deploy federal health human resources.
We’re also looking at deploying medical staff through the Canadian Red Cross, and sending support from the Canadian Armed Forces.
In just a few moments, Minister Carr will speak more about additional support for Manitoba, and what we’re already doing in the province.
Since the beginning of this crisis, our government has worked closely with all provinces and territories to make sure everyone is safe.
And as long as this pandemic lasts, that’s exactly what we’re going to continue to do.
This Thursday, we will have another meeting with the provincial and territorial premiers.
We’ll talk about the measures we’re taking to put an end to this third wave.
At this time, it must be our highest priority.
We’ll also discuss various reopening plans.
The premiers around the table will have an opportunity to share their experience of what’s working well across the country.
On that note, as we gradually reopen, we must continue to be careful.
The number of new cases must be lowered as much as possible.
We are all happy to see restrictions lifted where it is safe to do so, but we still have to be responsible.
Everyone must continue to do their part.
We must continue to follow local public health guidelines and, clearly, to get vaccinated when it’s our turn.
If we all do this, together, we will be able to have a much better summer.
We will be able to see our friends on patios and, finally, get through this crisis for good.
Today, I also want to take a moment to acknowledge the one-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, in the United States.
We all remember seeing the horrific images of this murder, which shocked us and the entire world.
Mr. Floyd’s death was a tragedy.
And it was a reminder that there are still too many people living with anti-Black racism and injustice, including here in Canada.
Last summer, Canadians, and especially young people, marched to demand change.
From economic empowerment through the Black Entrepreneurship Program, to proposing to remove ineffective mandatory minimums from the criminal code, to historic investments in community organizations, our government is working with Black communities across the country to make sure nobody is left behind.
We will continue to take real action to fight systemic racism and create more opportunities for Black Canadians, and for everyone.
Before I end, I would like to say a few words about the arrest of the Belarusian journalist Roman Protasevich over the weekend.
The behaviour of the Belarus regime is outrageous, illegal, and completely unacceptable.
This was a clear attack on democracy and on the freedom of the press.
We condemn it and call for his immediate release.
We also condemn this kind of dangerous interference in civil aviation.
Canada has existing sanctions in place against Belarus and will be examining further options.
We also strongly support action through all available international institutions, including the International Civil Aviation Organization, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and NATO.
We stand in solidarity with our partners in defending journalists all around the globe.