Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent a warning to the Trump administration to keep the Canada-U.S. border open for the trade of essential goods after 3M said it is being forced to stop exporting N95 face masks.
3M, one of the largest U.S.-based makers of consumer products, says it has been told by the White House to stop sending N95, medical-grade face masks to Canada, but the company says there would be “significant humanitarian implications” to doing so. President Donald Trump has invoked the Defense Production Act to require 3M to prioritize orders from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency to help meet soaring American demand.
Speaking at his news conference on Friday, Mr. Trudeau said that blocking trade to Canada could backfire and “end up hurting Americans as much as it hurts anybody else.” In a tweet, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he also raised the issue in a phone call with United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
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News is currently dominated by the COVID-19 outbreak. For a full rundown, you can subscribe to our Coronavirus Update newsletter (sign up here). Here are some stories that speak to the political and governmental response.
The military is moving into northern Quebec to help remote communities cope in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Trudeau said on Friday. The move comes one day after Canada’s top general said the military is ready to deploy to remote Indigenous and northern communities if it is needed to combat outbreaks of the virus. General Jonathan Vance told The Globe and Mail he is also planning to put reservists on the payroll full-time so they will be available to conduct humanitarian activities in communities that need help.
In Ontario, the government is expected to announce that it is shutting down some sectors of the construction industry. Details were still being hammered out on Friday morning, but industry sources told The Globe that work on public-sector infrastructure projects and some residential construction would be allowed to continue.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a virtual meeting with Canada’s premiers Thursday evening to discuss the pressing need for critical medical supplies in the face of a surge in coronavirus cases.
Internationally, Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne spoke with his NATO counterparts Thursday, where they discussed the need to combat disinformation and provide support to groups like the World Health Organization, the United Nations and the European Union, amid the pandemic. NATO’s political and military chiefs also joined the video call.
Mr. Trudeau says he will work with provincial governments to improve the sharing of data and to start the release of precise projections on the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic across Canada. There has been a wide discrepancy between the data that is provided by provincial authorities on a daily basis – in addition to different levels of transparency on internal projections.
Health Minister Patty Hadju says the federal government has no reason to believe the Chinese government is hiding the full extent of novel coronavirus infections and deaths in that country. Ms. Hajdu’s comments came in the wake of a Bloomberg News report that said U.S. intelligence officials have told the White House Beijing has concealed the full extent of the coronavirus outbreak in China.
Business leaders and social policy analysts are warning that conditions imposed by the federal government’s multibillion-dollar package of income support measures will leave out many people and employers.
Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on how the U.S. border remains a problem in the pandemic: “But if we’re going to try and seal off all portals from which the virus can gain entry into Canada, I don’t know how we can’t look at the traffic that continues to come into our country from the U.S. The government can put its citizens in quarantine and self-isolation, but if we have infected people regularly coming into Canada from the U.S., efforts by citizens here to defeat the virus’s spread are going to be undermined."
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on COVID-19 projection models: “In the relative terms of this crisis, it is a good thing these grim forecasts are going to be released. They won’t really provide a firm answer to all questions Canadians have. But giving the public a sense that they’re being told what the government knows about what’s happening, and what might happen, is critical.”
Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on abandoning the COVID-19 sick at sea: “We all flout the rules and behave carelessly when we think it’s safe to do so. These people simply had the misfortune (or perhaps the obtuseness) to do so during a time of global upheaval. But the punishment for that should not be a risk of possible serious illness or death: That is a level of cruelty to which we should try not to succumb. Of the many things at risk during this pandemic is our collective sense of humanity. Leaving people to die at sea is a test of how much we’re willing to lose.”
Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on why the West can’t turn its back on the developing world: “While globalization has been beneficial for both the developed and developing world, its benefits have not been equally distributed. So, it would be doubly unjust for rich countries to turn their backs on their poorer cousins now. Yet, that is exactly what is happening.”
Preston Lim (The Globe and Mail) on how the world needs more Canada: “Our economy is slumping, so why talk about foreign aid? With certain provinces facing a shortage of testing kits, what can Ottawa contribute to the global fight against coronavirus? And didn’t the interconnectedness of our globalized world lead to the broad, rapid spread of the disease? Surely now is the time to focus on our own and ignore the outside world. But it is in these times of crisis that the world needs more Canada, not less.”