Trudeau says Canada is not at the point of declaring a federal emergency
By The Canadian Press
By The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is not at the point where the federal government needs to take emergency measures to force people to stay at home during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Trudeau says that provinces and local governments continue to take steps to restrict people’s movements and the federal government stepping in is a last resort.
“There are many things that are being done and can be done at the local level, at the municipal level and at the provincial level. The federal Emergencies Act is a significant step that can and should be taken when we’ve exhausted all other steps,” Trudeau said at a news conference Sunday.
“We continue to work very closely with provinces, with other jurisdictions, to make sure that they are able to do the things that need to be done and we will continue to look at if it is necessary to move forward with the Emergencies Act.”
Nova Scotia became the latest province Sunday to declare a provincial state of emergency, joining several others including British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. The Northwest Territories closed its boundaries Saturday to travellers from other parts of Canada.
Gatherings in Nova Scotia are now to be no more than five people.
Premier Stephen McNeil said residents are blatantly ignoring the need for social distancing.
“Hundreds gathering on our beaches and in our parks, large groups of people congregating, young people playing street hockey, cars parked everywhere, people disregarding law enforcement,” McNeil said.
“We are dealing with a deadly virus and this behaviour is unacceptable.”
Police in Nova Scotia are being given the power to enforce social distancing with $1,000 fines for individuals and $7,500 fines for businesses.
“Our provincial parks are closed. If you go there you are trespassing and your vehicles will be towed,” McNeil said.
“You can get groceries, you can go to the pharmacy, but do not do it in packs. Identify a single family member who can do those errands.”
In Ottawa, federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said people need to get the message about staying home or the federal government will step in.
“Asking them and recommending them and I am hoping that we don’t have to get to ordering them,” she said when asked what her message to Canadians is.
Nearly 1,400 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Canada and 19 people have died. Worldwide there have been more than 300,000 cases.
It was officially announced Sunday that the House of Commons will reconvene Tuesday to vote on measures to ease the financial burden the outbreak is posing on Canadians and their businesses.
The House will reconvene for four and a half hours to approve the emergency legislation put forward by the federal government.
There will be 32 MPs in the chamber which will be proportional to the representation of each party, said Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez.
“We are all working together in the best interest of Canadians,” Rodriguez said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 22, 2020.
News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2020