At a news conference on Parliament Hill, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) pandemic. The prime minister is joined by federal ministers Chrystia Freeland (finance) and Mary Ng (small business, export promotion and international Trade ) and by Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, and Dr. Howard Njoo, the deputy chief public health officer. Dr. Tam says the Public Health Agency of Canada is now recommending Canadians to choose a three-layer non-medical mask with a filter, instead of a two-layer one, in order to better prevent the spread of COVID-19 as winter approaches.
The prime minister announces that the CanExport program, originally launched to help Canadian small businesses access international markets, will pivot to providing assistance with expanding e-commerce platforms and offering other support for the COVID-19 era. He also announces $7.5M in support for Quebec’s farmers to work safely amid the pandemic. The prime minister also faces questions on freedom of speech following the attacks that occurred in France. He says he does not condemn the publication of cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammad. Teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded by an attacker in Paris days after he showed Mohammed cartoons to his students during a lesson on freedom of speech.