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Throne speech to provide COVID-19 second wave response plan, says PM

Last Updated Sep 16, 2020 at 4:58 pm MDT

FILE - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with the media before the first day of a Liberal cabinet retreat in Ottawa, Monday September 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal throne speech will give Canadians a better idea of how the federal government will handle a potential second wave of COVID-19.

The announcement comes after the prime minister concluded a two-day retreat with federal ministers in Ottawa.

Alberta reported a single new case and five recoveries of COVID-19 in the RMWB.

In Fort McMurray, there are 46 active cases, one death, and 156 recoveries of the illness in the urban service area.

Active cases dipped below the 50-mark in the urban service area for the first time since before the Labour Day long weekend.

Outside the urban service area, there are four active cases and 59 recoveries.

Wood Buffalo remains under a COVID-19 watch with exactly 50 active cases per 100-thousand people.

Alberta first included the RMWB on its watch list on Sept. 8, 2020.

Across the province, there are 1495 active cases, 254 deaths, and 14,379 recovered cases of COVID-19.

38 Albertans are in hospital with six in intensive care.

National outlook

Positive cases of COVID-19 have been steadily climbing in some provinces, including B.C., for the last few weeks.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that’s not OK, as his government prepares for the Sept. 23 throne speech.

“Each new case has the potential to multiply and create even more cases. So we’re not out of the woods. This is why I’m asking Canadians to continue to be very careful and follow public health recommendations, limit the in-person close contacts that you have, take appropriate precautions to reduce the risk of exposure, and keep yourself and your family safe.”

“These efforts help protect our grandparents, our parents, our frontline workers and vulnerable people in our communities. We have to show solidarity to keep each other safe. We’ve come too far to give up now. Together, Canadians must stay strong and vigilant.”

Federal ministers were initially to meet to discuss how to rebuild the Canadian economy, as well as climate change initiatives.

However, that shifted to how to protect the health of Canadians and avert the potential for another nation-wide economic shutdown like the one that threw millions of Canadians out of work this past spring and led to the creation of supports, such as the Canadian Economic Response Benefit.

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said after the retreat, while another shutdown of the economy to fight the COVID-19 pandemic would be expensive, the government is not ruling out taking such action.

Hajdu also said that authorities have learned some important lessons from combating the pandemic so far.

“A full economic shutdown would be difficult for this country. Not to rule it out, because, of course, listen, we will protect the health of Canadians and we will do what it takes. I think we’ve learned a lot since the first wave and we’ve made some significant improvements in the health-care system, in our preparedness in terms of equipment and supplies, and even understanding of the virus.”


Hajdu also addressed the issue of Canadians waiting long hours to be tested for COVID-19.

She said provinces need to rethink their testing strategies to avoid backlogs.

“I think this is an opportune time for both ministers of health, along with their advisors to take a look at their strategy and determine what more they can do to accelerate access to testing,” she said. “It’s very important, as well, that people call ahead to testing.”

But, Hajdu added, the federal government has yet to find a rapid test on the market that is considered to be accurate enough to be depended on.

Regarding a fall election, Trudeau was clear, having one is not a priority.

“I do not want an election, I don’t think Canadians want an election; I think Canadians want politicians to work togther to serve them, to build a better future for them and keep them safe during this COVID crisis.”

At the same time, Trudeau said holding an election campaign, if one was forced on Canadians, would not be an irresponsible act.

This article includes excerpts from News 1130.