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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.

“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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