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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appeared outside Rideau Cottage on Thursday, announcing additional funding to vulnerable Indigenous communities across Canada.
The funds, which total $75 million, are expected to be used to help Indigenous people living off-reserve, as well as to provide food services, transportation, mental health services, and schooling.
The funding comes after the Congress of Aboriginal People filed a federal court application stating: “The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples and our provincial and territorial partners provide critically needed support and deliver services to many of the most susceptible Canadians. The federal government has abandoned its fiduciary responsibility towards a significant number of Indigenous peoples during this pandemic.”
Previous funds by the Trudeau Liberals to the Indigenous communities include $305 million in the form of The Indigenous Community Support Fund.
Regarding a potential second wave of COVID-19, Trudeau said it would come down to contact tracing and testing.
"We know that in pandemics, there are usually second waves," said Trudeau. "As that second wave begins... How quickly are we able to contain them and control them?"
"We are prepared to act extremely quickly so that the population at large wont be in situations to go back into confinement," said Trudeau.
Regarding airline ticket refunds in Canada, Trudeau said his government will be in talks with airlines to fully refund tickets. He said a "careful discussions" with airlines and affected Canadians will take place, as Ottawa examines what other countries have done in similar situations.
Detained Canadians in China
Trudeau was then asked about comments made by China's ambassador to Canada, Cong Peiwu, regarding Michael Spavor and Michael Korvig, the two Canadians who have been detained in China for over 500 days.
The ambassador said that the two Michaels were being treated "very well," but noted that the "biggest issue" in the Canada-China bilateral relationship was Huawei tech-royalty Meng Wanzhou.
Trudeau said that Chinese officials have always linked the situation with Wanzhou with the detainment of the two Michaels.
"We have seen Chinese officials linking those two cases from the very beginning. Canada has an independent judicial system that functions without interference or override by politicians," said Trudeau.
"China doesn't work quite the same way, and [they] don't seem to understand that we do have an independent judiciary from political intervention. We will continue to follow and uphold the independence of our judicial system, while we advocate for the release of the two Michaels who have been arbitrarily detained by China in retaliation for a judicial system that is independent in the way it functions," said the prime minister.