Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appeared at a loss for words Tuesday, pausing for 20 seconds when pressed for his thoughts on US President Donald Trump’s threat of military mobilization against violent US protests.
“We all watch in horror and consternation what’s going on in the United States,” he said finally.
Now “is a time to listen, it is a time to pull people together and a time to learn what injustices continue despite progress over years and decades,” he added.
Trudeau was responding to a CBC reporter who also asked the prime minister for his views on police using tear gas to clear protesters from outside the White House so Trump could pose for photographs at a nearby church damaged during civil unrest, and why Trudeau at times seemed reluctant to criticize Trump.
Usually quick on his feet, Trudeau’s pregnant pause during his daily COVID-19 briefing, televised live nationwide, spoke loudly.
The two leaders have had a rocky relationship since Trump walked out of a G7 summit in Quebec in June 2018, but they appeared to have mended fences last year at the conclusion of North American free trade negotiations.
As he has done in recent days, Trudeau chose to focus on Canada in his answer and reaffirmed that there was still a lot to do to fight racism in this country.
He also cautioned against drawing comparisons between Canada and the United States, or concluding “that we are much better here.”
“Canadians (must) recognize that we too have our challenges, that black Canadians and racialized Canadians face discrimination as a lived reality every single day,” he said.
“We need to see that not just as a government and take action, but we need to see that as Canadians. We need to be allies in the fight against discrimination.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday announced an immediate ban on military-grade assault weapons, responding to a mass shooting and arson spree that left 22 people dead earlier this month.
“These weapons were designed for one purpose, and one purpose only: to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time,” Trudeau told a news briefing.
He said his government has approved a decree banning the sale, purchase, use, transport and import of 1,500 models of military-grade assault weapons and variants of them.
“There is no use, and no place for such weapons in Canada,” Trudeau said.
The killing spree, the worst in Canadian history, began on the night of April 18 in Nova Scotia and led to a 13-hour manhunt for the shooter, who was eventually shot dead by police.
Authorities have said the assailant – identified as 51-year-old denturist Gabriel Wortman – was wearing a police uniform, driving a mock police car, and had several guns with him including at least one assault-style weapon.
Trudeau said there will be a two-year amnesty for people who currently own assault-style weapons to protect them from liability, and parliament will eventually pass legislation to compensate them for turning in their guns.
“For many families, including indigenous people, firearms are part of traditions passed down through generations, and the vast majority of gun owners use them safely, responsibly, and in accordance with the law, whether it be for work, sports shooting for collecting or for hunting,” Trudeau said.
“But you don’t need an AR-15 to bring down a deer,” he added.
Mass shootings are less common in Canada than in the US “but the heartbreaking truth is, they’re happening more often than they once did,” the prime minister said.
He mentioned for instance, a shooting at a mosque in Quebec City in 2017 that left six dead and 19 wounded.
Trudeau made banning assault weapons part of his campaign for elections that brought him to power in 2015. He repeated it in the campaign for the October 2019 elections in which he won another term.
Nearly four of five Canadians back such a ban, according to an Angus Reid poll released Friday.
He added that “If you’ve lost your job – whether you worked full time, on contract, or were self-employed – you qualify for the benefit.
“If you lost income because you’re sick or quarantined, if you’re looking after someone who’s sick, or if you’re home taking care of the kids – you qualify. And if you’re still employed but not receiving income because of COVID-19 – you qualify too. We won’t leave anyone behind”.
Canada lawmakers recently passed the coronavirus aid package after an all-night session
The lawmakers on Wednesday morning approved a more than Can$100 billion aid package to help individuals and businesses through the pandemic, after all-night negotiations on what emergency powers to grant the minority government.
Following approval by the House of Commons, they were adopted by the Senate.
The total aid package of Can$107 billion will allow for a new emergency fund that will dispense Can$2,000 per month for four months to Canadian workers who find themselves without an income due to the new coronavirus.
Nearly one million have been laid off following temporary closure orders given to many businesses in an effort to slow the virus’s spread.
The government expects to enact the emergency measure from April 6, according to Finance Minister Bill Morneau.
He said he was pleased with obtaining “unanimous consent with the other parties to move forward” with the response plan.
To respect “social distancing” measures during the pandemic, only 32 members of Parliament, proportionally representing each party instead of the full 338, had gathered in Ottawa for a vote Tuesday on the emergency measures.
Justin Trudeau’s wife has tested positive for novel coronavirus, his office said late Thursday while assuring the public the Canadian prime minister is fine.
Canada’s leader and his 44-year-old wife announced Thursday they were self-isolating while she was tested for coronavirus after a public event.
“Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau was tested for COVID-19 today. The test came back positive,” the Prime Minister’s office said in a statement, adding she would remain in isolation and her symptoms were mild.
“The Prime Minister is in good health with no symptoms,” the statement said, noting he would also be in isolation for two weeks and — on the advice of his doctors — will not be tested for the virus.
It follows several provinces in Canada — which so far has reported nearly 150 cases in six states, and one death — unveiling stricter measures to combat the spread of the virus while sporting events and entertainment galas were canceled.
The PM would continue his duties, his office said, and would address the country on Saturday.
Trudeau, 48, held several meetings over the phone on Thursday, including with the special cabinet committee on COVID-19, his office said, and also spoke with the leaders of Italy, the US and Britain.
On Friday he will talk with indigenous leaders, as well as provincial and territorial premiers to coordinate Canada’s response to the virus, and “limit the economic impact on the country.”
After experiencing some mild symptoms following her return from the UK, according to an earlier statement, Gregoire-Trudeau immediately sought medical advice and testing.
“Although I’m experiencing uncomfortable symptoms of the virus, I will be back on my feet soon,” she said in a message via the PM’s Office.
“Being in quarantine at home is nothing compared to other Canadian families who might be going through this and for those facing more serious health concerns.”
Since the novel coronavirus first emerged in late December 2019, more than 130,000 cases have been recorded in 116 countries and territories, killing at least 4,900 people, according to an AFP tally.
Most of Canada’s cases have been traced to China, Iran, Italy or Egypt, but seven people who recently returned from the US also tested positive, public health authorities said.
Avoid Churches – Health Minister
In parliament, Health Minister Patty Hajdu urged Canadians to “reconsider going to areas where there are a large number of people, which might include places like churches, community centres, concerts and various sporting events.”
Quebec’s Premier Francois Legault unveiled the strongest emergency measures yet in Canada, asking all travelers returning from overseas trips or anyone exhibiting flu-like symptoms to self-isolate for two weeks.
A ban on indoor gatherings of more than 250 people was also announced, with Montreal’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade — held since 1824 — postponed.
Alberta and British Columbia announced bans on large gatherings too.
Quebec, which has 13 confirmed cases of the virus, is also considering placing the entire island of Montreal — a population of nearly 2 million — under quarantine.
In neighboring Ontario, public health officials announced the public schools would be shut until April 5.
The Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television canceled this year’s Canadian Screen Awards — scheduled to air on March 29 — and the country’s Juno music awards, planned for Sunday, were also scrapped.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife announced they were self-isolating Thursday as she undergoes tests for the new coronavirus after returning from a speaking engagement with “mild flu-like symptoms”
Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau’s symptoms have subsided since she got back from Britain on Wednesday, but as a precaution the prime minister “will spend the day in briefings, phone calls and virtual meetings from home,” according to a statement.
Trudeau also cancelled a meeting with Canada’s provincial and territorial leaders in Ottawa.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signalled on Tuesday his government’s readiness to help Canadian businesses weather the novel coronavirus epidemic, if necessary.
No specific measures were announced, however, while his office told AFP the potential impact is still being assessed and a response drawn up.
“We recognize the very real economic impacts of the coronavirus globally,” Trudeau told a televised news conference in Halifax.
“We are coordinating globally to try and make sure that there is a lesser impact on the global economy,” he said.
“We also recognize that there will be impacts on Canadian businesses, on Canadian entrepreneurs, and we will always look for ways to minimize that impact and perhaps give help where help is needed.”
Trudeau’s comments followed a conference call in which Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau and his counterparts from G7 leading industrialized nations agreed to use “all appropriate policy tools” to keep the virus epidemic from throttling economic growth.
The disease that began in China has killed more than 3,100 people and infected more than 91,000.
Canada has reported only 29 cases as of Tuesday morning, in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec provinces.
Trudeau said the risk of the virus spreading in Canada was relatively low.
“I think the numbers so far bear it out,” he said. “But we of course will continue to monitor (the situation) very, very closely.”
Earlier, the US Federal Reserve announced an emergency rate cut in response to the growing economic risk posed by the epidemic.
The Bank of Canada had been widely expected to maintain its key lending rate at 1.75 percent until at least April.
But after the US move, analysts said the Canadian central bank would likely follow suit at its next meeting on Wednesday, marking its first rate cut since July 2015.
Government data released last week showed the Canadian economy (GDP) slowed in 2019 to 1.6 percent, from 2.0 percent in 2018. The central bank has projected growth to remain at 1.6 percent this year.
President Muhammadu Buhari On Sunday held a bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian Capital.
The meeting held on the sidelines of the 33rd African Union Summit.
According to a statement from Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, the President expressed his desire to strengthen bilateral ties with Canada.
In remarks before the press, President Buhari underscored the warm and friendly relations between Nigeria and Canada, noting commonwealth membership of both nations and the choice of Canada for higher education by Nigerian students.
‘‘We have a lot of students in Canada. We are aware of our vital roles to keep the country together. We are eager to expand trade because you are one of the ‘biggest customers’, of Nigeria’s crude oil.
‘‘But the most important and enduring relations with Canada is education,’’ President Buhari said.
In his remarks, the Canadian Prime Minister described President Buhari as ‘‘a leader in Africa’’, adding that it was a pleasure to engage on regional and international issues.
‘‘Your leadership and reflection on the current situation challenging Africa but also the potentials and opportunities are something that I am very much looking up to.
‘‘Canada and Nigeria have a long-standing and deep connection and friendship, and I very much look forward to hearing your perspectives on many big issues facing not just Africa but the world’’ Trudeau said.
Canadian leader Justin Trudeau has been rebuked for his handling of a simmering dispute with China, with lawmakers voting against his government to set up a committee examining relations with Beijing.
Diplomatic relations between Canada and China hit rock bottom after last year’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Hangzhou in Vancouver.
Former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor were arrested in China just nine days later, in a move widely seen as retaliation for Meng’s arrest.
Both men have languished in detention ever since and analysts say their fate is tied to Meng’s, who will have a hearing next month in a US extradition case that could potentially last years.
The dispute has damaged trade between the two countries, with Beijing blocking billions of dollars worth of Canadian canola imports.
“We have had serious concerns with the prime minister’s ability to govern in Canada’s national interest on the world stage,” Erin O’Toole, the international affairs spokesman for the opposition Conservative party, said after Tuesday’s vote.
The committee — to be composed of 12 lawmakers — will sit from January and will have the power to call Trudeau and the Canadian ambassador to China as witnesses.
The Conservatives introduced the committee proposal to parliament on Monday, the anniversary of Kovrig and Spavor’s arrests.
Trudeau’s center-left administration was elected for a second term in September but lost its majority in parliament and relies on support from minor parties to pass laws.
Tuesday’s vote was the government’s first defeat in the House of Commons since its election.
President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, on his election victory.
The President extended his goodwill message to the Canadian leader on Wednesday in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.
He also felicitated with the Liberal Party and Canadians generally on the outcome of the federal election in that country.
“As a major trading partner, with Nigeria-Canada trade totalling $948.4 million in 2018, President Buhari looks forward to a continued relationship with Prime Minister Trudeau across a wide range of shared values and interests,” the statement said.
President Buhari recalled noted that the visit of Canada’s Governor-General, Julie Payette, to Nigeria in October 2018 provided an opportunity for Nigeria to appreciate the humanitarian assistance of Canada to civilian populations affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.
He noted the common membership of Nigeria and Canada in the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum and several other international organisations.
The President was optimistic that both countries would continue to stand together on issues of peace and security that guarantee a better and more secure world for all.
A controversial pipeline, reinvigorated Quebec nationalism and a growing rift with western prairie provinces: voters gave Justin Trudeau a second term in office but with a weakened minority government that will face immediate challenges.
Increased oil exports
The Liberals’s nationalization last year of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project to prevent its collapse under legal challenges and protests has been panned by the eco-friendly wing of the party that sees it as contrary to efforts to curb CO2 emissions.
Canada’s oil sector is the fourth largest in the world, but has struggled under low prices and a lack of oil conduits to new markets. And oil proponents say Trans Mountain, purchased by Ottawa for Can$4.5 billion, would greatly help ease transportation clots.
In order to stay in office, Trudeau will need to form alliances with smaller parties such as the New Democrats (NDP), but they have come out strongly opposed to the project, putting its future in doubt.
“On Trans Mountain, perhaps both sides will have to put water in their wine,” said McGill University politics professor Daniel Beland.
Trudeau must navigate how to “get along with the NDP without taking his centrist party too far to the left.”
Beland noted that the Liberals have governed for much of the past 152 years since Confederation “because it is a party that is pragmatic, flexible.”
A nation deeply divided
Monday night, the Liberal’s small beachhead in the western prairie provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan was completely wiped out, with Conservatives claiming all 48 seats but one in Edmonton that went to the NDP.
The Conservative premiers of these two provinces are openly hostile to Trudeau and his climate policies, and his win Monday has led to talk of landlocked Alberta splitting from the rest of Canada to go it alone.
“It will be difficult to put together a cabinet without any representation from Alberta,” an oil-rich province that’s the fourth most-populous in the nation, Beland said.
“The Liberals are going to have to work with the NDP, which means they will have to track to the left” and take an even tougher stance on the oil sector to accommodate the NDP, he said. “That’s not good news for Albertans and people in Saskatchewan who are already unhappy with Trudeau’s carbon tax.”
Cancelling the Trans Mountain expansion to appease the NDP “would create a huge backlash in these two provinces” and exacerbate regional tensions, he said.
At the same time, moving ahead with the project could make an alliance with the NDP tricky.
The down-and-out separatist Bloc Quebec, led by charismatic Yves-Francois Blanchet, scored a big comeback on Monday, tripling its seat count in parliament to 32. It went from having previously lost official party status in parliament to being the nation’s third-largest party, despite having only fielded candidates in Quebec province.
The Bloc and Trudeau’s Liberals are at odds over a new secularism law in Quebec that prohibits some public servants from wearing religious symbols such as veils or turbans.
It is hugely popular in Quebec, but seen in the rest of Canada as an affront to individual rights and freedoms.
Trudeau is a strong proponent of multiculturalism and has said he would consider fighting the law, depending on the outcome of court challenges brought by individuals and groups in Quebec. The bloc has urged against federal intervention.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced he will take part in a climate action march led by Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg — as the environment emerges as a key election issue.
His main rival Conservative leader Andrew Scheer will be campaigning in Vancouver, but Friday’s rally in Montreal is expected to draw local Tory candidates as well as Trudeau.
Trudeau, who faces elections October 21, paddled up in a canoe Thursday in Sudbury, Ontario to make announce he would be marching in Montreal with thousands of other Canadians to “fight for the environment.”
“There has been an extraordinary amount of mobilization by young people and by Canadians across this country and indeed around the world calling for real action on climate change,” he said.
The Montreal event coincides with similar so-called “climate strikes” around the globe.
Schools, colleges and universities have suspended classes for the day, and the city government has encouraged staff to take the day off.
Thunberg, 16, on Monday accused world leaders in a rousing “How Dare You?” speech at the UN climate summit of betraying her generation.
“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” she thundered, visibly angry and close to tears.
The teen has spurred millions of youths to protest, drawn by her steely determination despite her years.
Organizers said Thunberg also will take aim at airlines’ skyrocketing CO2 emissions in a speech outside the UN aviation agency in Montreal, which is holding its annual conference.
The International Civil Aviation Organization’s 193 member states this week are taking stock of the implementation of a climate plan unveiled at its last general assembly in 2016.
Aviation accounts for about two percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the ICAO.
Under its so-called Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), participating airlines are expected to stabilize their CO2 emissions by 2020, and buy offsetting credits thereafter if they exceed set limits.
Thunberg sailed across the Atlantic for the UN climate summit in New York specifically to avoid flying.