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Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Trudeau receives second COVID-19 dose, says Canada is ‘not quite out of the woods yet’

Friday, July 02, 2021 @ 3:42 PM | By Amanda Jerome

After he got his second dose of COVID-19 vaccine, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with reporters outside a vaccination clinic in Ottawa on July 2 and assured the press that Canada is a “world leader in terms of vaccination rates.”

“Close to 80 per cent of eligible Canadians have received their first dose and more than 35 per cent of have received a second dose, and we see these numbers increasing daily,” he said, adding that “today, more than 50 million doses of vaccination have been delivered to Canada and between now and the end of the month we’ll have some 68 million [doses].” 

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

“In other words, we’re well on the way to a good summer and an even better fall,” he explained, stressing that the country is “not quite out of the woods yet.” “Let’s take a look at what’s happening in Yukon.

Despite being at over 86 per cent eligible people with a first dose and over 76 per cent second dose fully vaccinated, they’re facing their biggest spike in cases right now since the pandemic began. This is a reminder that we all have to keep being careful and [have] as many people vaccinated as soon as possible,” he stressed. During the question and answer period, media asked Trudeau whether he will keep the U.S. border closed to non-essential travel past July 21.

The prime minister said that Canada continues “to work very closely with the United States to make sure we’re aligned in our approach and keeping both our citizens safe while ensuring economic opportunities and trade continues uninterrupted as it has over the past year and a half, despite the border being closed to 90 per cent of all travel.”

“Canadians, as of Monday, will be able to start travelling again if they’re fully vaccinated and not have to quarantine when they come home. That is a significant step and Canadians are going to benefit from that when we start reopening. So Americans and others who are fully vaccinated who come into Canada will depend on how this goes, on the data we’re collecting, how we’re able to keep Canadians safe even as we make adjustments to the rules and as travel volumes inevitably increase,” he said, not committing to an answer on when the border would reopen.

“I know people are impatient to suddenly get back to normal, but we’re not there yet,” he stressed, noting that the country has to get over 75 per cent, maybe even 80 per cent, fully vaccinated “if we’re going to be safe.”

The PM also said “we’re all thinking of British Columbians right now in Lytton where forest fires have devastated the town and across the province with the extreme heat wave,” noting that the federal government will be a partner and provide “whatever support people need.”

In comments to the press Trudeau noted that “extreme weather events are becoming more and more frequent.”

“We can no longer pretend that climate change doesn’t have devastating effects,” he said, adding that “we have to reduce our emissions, to showing global leadership in climate change, which we have by putting a price on pollution right across the country.”

“On Wednesday news also came in from B.C. that more unmarked graves had been found near a former residential school. To everyone in Ktunaxa Nation and to all survivors, families and Indigenous people: we’re here for you. I can’t imagine your grief and your pain. We will work with you, day in and day out, in whatever you need to heal,” the prime minister said, adding that “every time we discover unmarked graves we have to become more and more determined to do better as a country.”

“Not only should we repair the past errors, but also end the injustice that still remains today. It is unacceptable that the First Nations, the Inuit and the Métis still experience racism and discrimination in our health-care systems. It’s unacceptable that the death of Joyce Echaquan happened here in a country like ours,” he said, noting that “in partnership with Indigenous peoples we are acting in order to bring about change.”

Trudeau noted that last week the government “brought the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into law and we’re working with Indigenous partners to ensure we meet the declaration’s objectives.”

“And, as of last Monday,” he added, “our new citizenship oath recognizes Indigenous rights. We must continue this work because each step forward brings us closer to a better, stronger country for everyone.”

During question and answer period, the press noted that Alberta is doubling its funding to help protect churches from vandalism and violence, while the federal security infrastructure program stopped taking applications last November. Trudeau was asked when the program start taking applications again and how he feels, as a Catholic, about churches being targeted by vandalism.

Trudeau said the government will continue to roll out funding to protect churches and community centres.

“It is unacceptable and wrong that vandalism and arson are being seen across the country, including against Catholic churches. One of my reflections is I understand the anger that’s out there against the federal government and institutions like the Catholic church. It is real and it is fully understandable. The shameful history that we are all becoming more and more aware of and engaging ourselves to do better as Canadians,” he said.

“But,” he added, “I can’t help but think that burning down churches is actually depriving people who are in need of grieving, and healing and mourning from places where they can actually grieve and reflect and look for support. We shouldn’t be lashing out at buildings that can provide solace to some of our fellow citizens. But we should be every day, committing ourselves, each and every one of us, to do the hard work we need to do to actually rebuild a path forward that reflects the terrible intergenerational trauma and present day realities of suffering that we are all collectively responsible for.”

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