Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised his country’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak — while rebuking the US for its own response to the pandemic.
Speaking during a news briefing Wednesday, Trudeau said, “We were able to control the virus better than many of our allies, particularly including our neighbor.”
With a population one-tenth the size of the US, Canada has recorded 8,711 deaths and 106,167 cases of the novel virus as of Wednesday. Meanwhile, the US has recorded more than 3 million cases and over 131,000 deaths.
Trudeau went on to say that the outbreak was “stabilizing in Canada, because Canadians did their part and followed public health instructions.
“But we still have to be very careful, things can change quickly…we still have some hot spots in some parts of the country, including in long-term care facilities and agricultural work settings, so as we continue to gradually reopen the economy, we have to remain vigilant.”
The US-Canada border has been closed for non-essential travel since March, and officials are in discussions whether to extend the ban before it expires on July 21.
Trudeau’s latest comments come days after he publicly turned down a White House invitation to join President Trump and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in celebration of their new North American trade deal.
Citing scheduling concerns, a spokesman for Trudeau said Monday that the Canadian leader would be skipping President Trump’s gathering so he could instead take part in cabinet meetings and “the long-planned sitting of Parliament” in his country.
“The entry-into-force of the new NAFTA is good for Canada, the United States, and Mexico,” the rep said in a statement. “It will help ensure that North America emerges stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“We wish the United States and Mexico well at Wednesday’s meeting.”
While Trudeau remained in Ottawa, López Obrador and Trump met at the White House to mark the start of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which went into effect July 1.
During the summit, AMLO, a veteran of leftist politics who is often compared to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), lavished praise on Trump in the White House Rose Garden.
“Thank you, President Trump, for being increasingly respectful to our Mexican fellow man,” he said through a translator, “To you, President Trump, I want to thank you for your understanding and the help you’ve given us in issues related to trade, commerce, oil, as well as your personal support for the acquisition of medical equipment that we needed urgently to treat our patients of COVID-19.”
López Obrador had called for Trudeau to participate in the meeting after the Canadian prime minister signaled last week that he would decline the invitation.
Trudeau cited concerns over the threats of new aluminum and steel tariffs from the US as one reason to not attend.
“We’re obviously concerned about the proposed issue of tariffs on aluminum and steel that the Americans have floated recently,” he said at the time.
Trudeau was referring to the possible reintroduction of a 10 percent tariff lifted by Trump last year as part of USMCA negotiations.
With Post wires