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Feds have no plans to take over pandemic response from provinces, Trudeau says

Last Updated Nov 17, 2020 at 7:36 am PDT

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

The federal government wants to leave pandemic responses to each province, Justin Trudeau says

Feds have no plans to impose Emergencies Act to take over COVID-19 response from provinces, Trudeau says in one-on-one

Canada's government continues to work on plan to distribute a vaccine across the country

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he does not want the federal government to take over COVID-19 pandemic response from any province.

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow and pressure mounts for a new national response to the health crisis, Trudeau dismissed any talk of his government using the Emergencies Act to wade into provincial jurisdiction, saying he doesn’t want it, and doesn’t think it will get to that point.

“I don’t think that the federal government coming in and taking over health systems is going to make things any better,” Trudeau said in an interview with 570 NEWS in Kitchener Tuesday.

He added that he would continue to work hard with the provinces and territories to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Trudeau was also asked about the lack of unified messaging across Canada on the COVID-19 pandemic. Trudeau said it “doesn’t make any sense to have unified messaging,” adding that what happens in Atlantic Canada is different from what happens in places like Alberta.

He noted that there is a larger unified message from the federal government, but that decisions, such as shutting down bars or placing restrictions on businesses, are best made by local and regional governments.

When it comes to getting active cases of COVID-19 as close to zero as possible, Trudeau said it’s something his government is striving for and a fine goal to have. However, he added that he would not breathe a sigh of relief until a vaccine is available.

Trudeau told 570 NEWS his government is developing a plan to distribute a vaccine across the country.

“We expect them to be arriving in the first months of 2021. But, again, they’ll be in smaller quantities at first and it’ll progressively get more and more,” he explained.

The prime minister said the priority will be given to frontline workers and the most vulnerable.

Currently, there has been no vaccine approved for human use against COVID-19. In the past two weeks, two pharmaceutical companies reported positive results from late-stage trials of their vaccine candidates.