Trudeau pledges $850 million to global pandemic fight

Despite billions in emergency funding blowing hole in budget, Trudeau does not plan update soon

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau committed $850 million in international funding to fight a global pandemic, but despite billions in emergency funding announcements in recent weeks blowing a big hole in the federal government’s budget, Trudeau said he will not be doing a budget revision or economic forecast update anytime soon.

The Trudeau government has already announced billions in emergency funding for Canadians. On Monday, he announced $850 million to help fight the pandemic outside of Canada. The money will go to international efforts to pledge more than $11 billion to develop vaccines and treatments for the COVID-19 virus.

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Trudeau encouraged other countries to contribute to a global effort.

"We recognize that our role in the world does matter," Trudeau said. "And I would encourage all countries to see that the only way we're going to get through this is if we get through this together."

While Canada is making progress on containing the spread of the virus, Trudeau said there could be no return to normal until a vaccine in available.

Asked if his government would provide at least an economic update by June, Trudeau said his government will continue to be as transparent as possible on budgetary matters, but said he would not be doing an economic forecast update anytime soon.

"A budget in normal times is a forecast of the measures that will be presented in the years to come," Trudeau said. "Right now we are in a period of uncertainty -- extraordinary uncertainty as to what might happen next month.

"We have not yet been able to determine what the best way is of looking at a budget or economic update."

In an update Monday, Canada's chief public health officer Theresa Tam said there are 59,844 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada, and there have been 3,766 deaths.

"We are seeing over the past weeks the curve is flattening," Trudeau said. "And we are on a positive trajectory. We are not out of the woods, however."

With major industries like airlines teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, Trudeau was asked if there would be bailouts for those industries. He said his government will be looking at more "sectoral supports" for industries like airlines and tourism, but suggested there would be no bailouts for specific companies.




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