|Prime Minister Justin Trudeau publicly called on the country’s premiers and mayors today to “do the right thing” and impose restrictions to counter the recent rise in COVID-19 cases. “If you think something is missing in the support we’re offering for your citizens — tell us,” he said during his regular morning briefing with public health officials. Trudeau was asked by reporters to point out the provinces struggling with caseloads now, but he declined. “I think it’s extremely important to recognize that we are in a resurgence of COVID-19 and there are things that different regions can do to do more to fight COVID-19,” he said.
Trudeau’s sobering statement comes as health officials are reporting what the prime minister called a “concerning spike” in caseloads across the country. The province of Ontario, which recently eased its strict restrictions on businesses and public activity in some regions, this morning reported 1,388 new cases of COVID-19 — a new daily high — and 15 additional deaths. “I don’t know if he’s speaking to me directly,” said Premier Doug Ford when asked about Trudeau’s warning. “If he is, I want to thank him for his ongoing support, but we need more support for businesses. That’s what we need.” Ford also used his own Tuesday briefing to call on the federal government to get money moving faster.
Trudeau said imposing targeted shutdowns and restrictions now could help prevent further problems down the line, and pointed out that the federal government has given billions of dollars in direct support to businesses affected by shutdown orders. Trudeau said he has seen no justification for invoking the Emergencies Act — never-before-used legislation that empowers Ottawa to do just about anything it thinks is necessary to cope with a national crisis. On Monday, a group of physicians in Alberta sent a letter to Premier Jason Kenney, his health minister and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, calling for swift moves to slow the spread of the virus. “If the rate of COVID-19 spread continues, the consequences to the people of Alberta will be catastrophic,” the letter said.