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‘What we are living through is a horrific national tragedy,’ PM warns alluding to ‘difficult’ times ahead

For more on today’s top stories and the spread of the novel coronavirus across the country, please refer to our live updates below throughout the day, as well as our COVID-19 news hub.

Prime minister’s frank message about COVID-19: ‘This sucks’

As Canada nears 10,000 deaths from COVID-19, PM Trudeau didn’t waste time mincing words about the dark reality of the pandemic.

“What we are living through is a horrific national tragedy. Families have lost loved ones, been devastated by these tragedies and we need to know that there are more tragedies to come,” the leader said. He added that families “need to be there for each other”, but understands the months coming are “still going to be a very difficult time for many Canadians.”

When asked about Canadians having “COVID-19 fatigue” and being frustrated with the rules in place, Prime Minister had a frank message to the public, “this sucks.”

“It’s tough going through this second wave, it’s frustrating having shut down all of [our lives] through the spring and now [being] forced to make more difficult choices and knowing that it’s going to be a tough winter ahead as well,” the prime minister said. “It’s easy for us to want to throw up our hands.”

“I think we have to ask ourselves who we really are as Canadians. Are we really good neighbours? Are we really people who care about the vulnerable, about each other?”

Trudeau said Canadians are not going to be “perfect” at all times but urged the public to follow local public health advice, even though that might differ from province to province or city to city, in order to flatten the curve this winter.

“It’s frustrating to have to explain to your kids in many parts of the country, like here in Ottawa, that we’re not going to be trick-or-treating this weekend,” the prime minister said. “It’s frustrating knowing that unless we’re really, really careful there may not be the kinds of family gatherings we want to have at Christmas.”

Trudeau shared that his six-year-old son asked him a few weeks ago if COVID-19 is going to be “forever.”

“He’s in Grade 1 and this was supposed to be his big year as a big boy, and they’re not even singing in his classroom,” the prime minister said. “This is really difficult, it’s a time where we need to do the right thing, we need to lean on each other, we need to use all the tools we can.”

Is there hope for 2021?

“Vaccines are on the horizon, spring and summer will come and they will be better than this winter. It’s frustrating to have to go though this situation, nobody wanted 2020 to be this way, but we do get to control how bad it gets by all of us doing our part.”

Trudeau added that provinces need to make the “tough decisions” on what needs to close and when, while the federal government comes in with income supports

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