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Scott Moe, premier of Saskatchewan, speaks at a COVID-19 news update at the Legislative Building in Regina on Wednesday March 18, 2020. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says he doesn't see a need for Ottawa to use the sweeping Emergencies Act to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michael Bell/The Canadian Press

Canada’s premiers have sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying they do not want the Emergencies Act invoked over COVID-19.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe’s office said the letter was sent on behalf of all premiers and formalizes what they told Trudeau in a conference call.

Moe’s office said in a statement that the premiers don’t believe the federal legislation is needed right now.

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“Premiers are confident that provinces, territories and the federal government have the capacity, through their respective jurisdictions and existing authorities, to effectively manage through the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent recovery,” the statement said Wednesday.

The never-before used Emergencies Act carries sweeping powers for the federal government to override the provinces and restrict the flow of goods and people.

Trudeau has not signalled a willingness to use it in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and provinces would have to be consulted before it could be invoked.

The premiers received a letter from Ottawa on the issue last week, in what a spokeswoman for the Office of the Prime Minister called a procedural step.

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