BREAKING: Trudeau 'extremely disappointed' by vandalism, mob who tore down Sir John A. Macdonald statue

Up until Monday's press conference, Trudeau had failed to condemn the decapitation of the statue of Sir John A. MacDonald in Montreal by a mob of masked anti-colonial protestors.
Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal, QC

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed media Monday morning from Montreal, alongside Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Navdeep Bains, Minister of Economic Development Melanie Joly, and Liberl MPs Rachel Bendayan and Anthony Housefather.

The press conference, held from the Royalmount Human Health Therapeutics Research Centre in Montreal, Quebec, focused on innovations and advancements in the fight against COVID-19.

Earlier in the day, it was announced that Canada had secured a contract with Novavax—a Maryland-based biotech company—which will supply Canada with 76 million doses of possible COVID vaccines.

Trudeau said the government "Has signed two new agreements with Novavax, and Johnson & Johnson to reserve millions of doses of the vaccines they're developing," saying that their most recent vaccine tests show "promising results."

"If one of these potential vaccines is successful, Canada and Canadians will have access to the doses they need," the prime minister continued.

Trudeau said the vaccine agreements with Fizer, Moderna, Novavax, and Johnson & Johnson will ensure that  Canada has at least 88 million doses "with options to obtain tens of millions more."

Trudeau said more details would be shared at the news briefing later in the day.

"Our government will continue to take the steps needed to ensure that Canada gets a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible," said the prime minister, not providing any specifics on potential timelines.

Trudeau said that Canada would be investing over $126 million to expand the Royalmount Human Health Therapeutics Research Centre, strengthening its ability to work with vaccine developers.

The facility will be up-and-running by mid-2021.

Trudeau did not condemn mob before press conference

Up until Monday's press conference, Trudeau had failed to condemn the decapitation of the statue of Sir John A. MacDonald in Montreal by a mob of masked anti-colonial protestors.

The statue's destruction was condemned across party lines, namely by Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet and newly-named Conservative Party Leader Erin O'Toole.

Heritage Minister Stephen Guilbeault also stated that he believed "dialogue" is a "better engine for progress than isolated acts of vandalism," a sentiment that Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante also shared.

Trudeau said that he agreed with Guilbeault, adding that vandalism "is not an acceptable manor to make a political statement."

Trudeau said he understands that people suffer under systemic racism, and that there were methods to address without "vandalism."

"Like Minister Steven Guilbeault, I was deeply disappointed by the vandalism that took place over the weekend," the prime minister said. "We are a country of laws, and we are a country that needs to respect those laws, even as we seek to improve and change them and that those kinds of acts of vandalism are not advancing the path towards greater justice and equality in this country.

Trudeau continued by saying that people "on either sides of the spectrum" were using the statue's destruction as a way of "furthering debate," saying that he is more interested in using "the real frustrations that people have as motivations to continue to make the big changes necessary."

"We have an awful lot to do as a country," said Trudeau, noting that mistakes made by previous generations should be recognized.

"Our focus needs to be on how we improve things today, and for the days to come for all Canadians... Choices like this, to rely on vandalism to advance causes is not helping anyone move forward," Trudeau concluded.

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Roberto Wakerell-Cruz
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