Trudeau Says No Emergencies Act for Now, Hajdu Warns of Jeopardy to Civil Liberties — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today he isn’t planning to use the Emergencies Act for now to contain the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Minister of Health Patty Hajdu said separately that failing to respect rules to self-isolate “does actually put our civil liberties at jeopardy.”

Trudeau and Hajdu spoke at separate events today in Ottawa.

Their comments are transcribed below by from videos shared by CBC News and CPAC on YouTube. (Full Hajdu video.)

Trudeau on Emergencies Act

Trudeau: We have not removed from the table any options.

We are looking at a broad array of measures that we can move forward with.

At this time, we do not see the federal Emergencies Act as an essential tool today, but we are continuing to look at the situation. We’ll make decisions based on the best recommendations of science.

Reporter: What do you need to see before declaring a federal emergency?

Trudeau: I think the key issue is: Are there things that we need to be able to do as a government that we cannot do with the very strong existing regulations that are in place and that our government has as tools.

Hajdu on Possible ‘Jeopardy’ to Civil Liberties

Hajdu: We will be in this situation for a while.

And I think Canadians need to understand this isn’t about two weeks of social distancing. This is about months of social distancing.

And that’s why Minister Morneau, in the last several days, made the announcement that he made about financial assistance for Canadians, understanding that there are going to be a tremendous amount of layoffs.

This is going to be hard for us. This is going to be hard for us as a society. This is going to be hard for us financially.

But I have every confidence that we will, we will get through this together, and that we will come back, we will bounce back, and that our communities will be stronger than ever.

But now is not the time to take your foot off the social-distancing measures.

We’re asking people to self-isolate because it is to protect their family, their loved ones, their community from the potential of contracting this illness.

And, Yes, the majority of these cases will be mild to moderate. But there are many people in our communities that will have a more severe expression of this disease, up to and including dying from it. And that’s what we’re all trying to do.

And you cannot predict when you are symptomatic who it is that is going to die as a result of the traveling around that you may choose to do.

And finally, I will just say that, when people are playing loose and hard with the rules like this, it does actually put our civil liberties at jeopardy.

It makes governments have to look at more and more stringent measures to actually contain people in their own homes.

So actually our freedoms around the measures that we’re taking right now depend on people taking them seriously. Because politicians and governments will be pushed to a place to take more and more stringent measures when people violate them and don’t take them seriously.

So I would encourage Canadians to think about that and to think about their obligation to act collectively right now.

Right now is your chance to act collectively.

As Doctor Tam has been saying for days, the time is now for us to take action together.