Trudeau says China and all other countries need to face tough questions about COVID-19

Trudeau says China and all other countries need to face tough questions about COVID-19
Justin Trudeau

Tough questions around the coronavirus need to be asked of all countries including China, says Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“I think it is extremely important that we understand exactly what happened and ask really tough questions of all countries involved, including China,” he said. “This is something we need to pursue.”

The Prime Minister made the remarks during the question period of his daily COVID-19 briefing on Sunday, April 19. His remarks also come after Australia announced it wants to see an independent investigation into the global response to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, Trudeau said while tough questions need to be asked, the focus right now is on protecting Canadians and stopping COVID-19.

During the address, Trudeau also said he was frustrated with the fact that a deal hadn’t been reached with opposition parties on the House of Commons re-opening as of Sunday morning.

The House of Commons adjourned five weeks ago and full sittings are scheduled to resume on April 20, which could mean all 338 MPs returning to the House, along with their staff.

There is no requirement for all 338 MPs to physically to return, however.

Trudeau and the Liberals have been trying to hash out an agreement with opposition parties that would postpone or reduce physical sittings in the House in what they say is an effort to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.

The Liberals have proposed one in-person sitting per week, with a reduced number of MPs and extra question period time. They’re also calling for one additional session be held each week with another lengthy question period.

Trudeau said that they are very close to an agreement with all the other parties but that the Conservatives are “resisting” reasonable solutions.

“It’s very frustrating,” he said.

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer wants to see three in-person sittings per week, in order to hold the government to accountable for its response to the pandemic.

The Prime Minister said Sunday that based on the advice of health experts, the House should not be resuming as it has in the past.

“We are not in a situation where that should be happening. We need a parliament that works and we need to do that in a responsible way,” he said.

“It seems to me that it is fairly clear that parliament should not return in the same manner as before starting tomorrow,” he later added.

Trudeau, who was asked numerous questions by the media about the issue, stressed that he believes in democracy and that opposition parties should be able to ask questions of the government.

“I very much believe that it is extremely important to continue to support democracy and keep our institutions working and I am willing to answer questions, I take questions from the media every day and I think opposition MPs should have the chance to ask questions as well,” he said.

Trudeau also said not all MPs can return to the House of Commons right now anyway, adding that he believes virtual meetings would work so that they could still answer questions and participate. However, he also said it is “very reasonable” that a deal will be reached sooner rather than later.

“I heard we were very close on it,” he said.

With files from the Canadian Press.






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