Home Government 43rd Parliament of Canada Trudeau triple-hitter June 1: anti-racism promise, respect for journalism, crisis money for...

Trudeau triple-hitter June 1: anti-racism promise, respect for journalism, crisis money for municipalities

$2.2 billion for municipalities in the coming weeks

Monday June 1, 2020 ~ NATIONAL

by Mary Brooke ~ West Shore Voice News

In front of his home at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on a bright Monday morning today, Trudeau seemed additionally attuned to the energies that his nation needed to hear.

Every day has been a key day in the fast-moving landscape of the COVID-19, but today somehow Trudeau’s remarks seemed threaded with a tone of intolerance for things that had gone too far.

Anti-racism rebuke:

“I want to address the situation that is happening south of the border, which is also having an impact here at home,” Trudeau said right off the top. “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.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during Black History event in Nova Scotia in 2019 [web]

“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,” was Trudeau’s missive.

He continued: “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 have faced… I want you to know that I am 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, once again, that they or their friends, might face racism. It is time, it is past time, for this to change,” the prime minister said with a mixture of stern rebuke but also hope.

Standing up for journalism:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, media, Ottawa, April 2020
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at one of his daily media briefings outside his home during COVID-19 [April 2020 – web]

“As leaders and allies we must do the hard work needed to listen and learn, we must ensure that everyone is safe and respected,” said Trudeau today in the anti-racism context.

And, no doubt having seen the arrest of journalists on the front lines of protests in the US this past weekend, added: “That includes journalists who need to be able to do their work on the front lines to expose the truth, and tell the stories we need to hear.”

“We must as Canadians always keep working together to build a fair, better more equitable country for all,” Trudeau said in his prepared remarks.

Working with the premiers, building partnerships:

“It has been a very difficult spring for many people,” Trudeau began, but quickly shift to a looking forward. “Over the last month there have been promising signs that the curve is flattening in Canada.”

Sounding a bit instructive, he followed with this: “Now, the situation remains very serious. But the more we can control he spread of the virus, the more we can begin restarting.”

Most people are following the COVID-19 case counts (both in total, and increases or decreases day by day). In that context, Trudeau noted: “In many parts of the country, this (control of the virus) is already happening. In other areas steps are being taken more slowly… every province will have its own approach. but as we move forward with restarting the economy, we must keep working together.”

Trudeau caught up with comments about his latest weekly meeting with the premiers of all the provinces and territories. He said that during his latest (May 28) weekly call with the premiers of the provinces and territories, that there was discussion “about collaboration, about the path ahead”. He included that he is also collaborating with “mayors and others” as to “what this approach should include”.

COVID-19 management as part of the economic restart:

Coronavirus, COVID-19
COVID-19 pandemic is expected to have socioeconomic impacts through to at least Fall 2021. Meanwhile a second wave is expected in Fall 2020 in spite of the economic restart.

Trudeau said there are”a whole range of issues that will require us to take action together, to keep Canadians safe, to give businesses the confidence to reopen their doors, and people the confidence to walk through those doors.”

He singled out the need for nation-wide cooperation on COVID-19 testing and contact tracing: “On this front we’re making good progress. Our government is ready to be a partner with the provinces and territories in supporting vulnerable people, procuring personal protective equipment, and working on child care, to name a few. We’re ready to be a partner in a safe, effective restart of the economy.”

Buoyancy for municipalities:

Then came the rescue for municipalities for which political pressure had been building for weeks. “Today we’re demonstrating the 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 they have the resources they need,” the prime minister said.

“In response to COVID-19, we will make available $2.2 billion for municipalities in the coming weeks.” The payment will be transacted through the federal Gas Tax Fund.

FCM logo
Federation of Canadian Municipalities

Normally that annual payment is issued in two installments. “But we know that cities and towns need this money right away as they deal with COVID-19,” Trudeau said. “That’s why we’re making the full 2020-2021 payment available now.” The funds will be administered through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). | See FCM’s recommendations on addressing the financial need in cities and communities.

“It’s a start”, he said, acknowledging that this funding was already on the books for 2020, and that it is a fund normally earmarked for infrastructure and capital projects, not operating costs. He said more support for municipalities is on the way, as part of “the entire reopening process”.

“This is strong support to keep Canadians safe and our communities strong,” Trudeau said, saying the support will give businesses the confidence to reopen and get hard-working Canadians back on the job.

“In the days and weeks to come we’ll keep working on this and a whole range of other measures,” said Trudeau.

OakTree Naturals, Langford, COVID-19 hours
OakTree Naturals is open 10 am to 5 pm (Monday to Saturday) during COVID-19.