Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged politicians of all stripes to unite behind the fight against COVID-19 today, after U.S. President Donald Trump tested positive following months of downplaying the pandemic.
During a news conference in Ottawa, Trudeau said the pandemic has become a political lightning rod in the U.S.
“Obviously, there is an election going on in the U.S. where the stances or approaches on COVID-19 have been a polarized, political issue,” he said.
“In Canada, we’ve been extremely lucky that it has not. There has been a concerted effort across orders of government, across political parties, to work together to be there for Canadians and to get this virus under control. We’re certainly going to continue with that in Canada and we recommend it as a path for people all around the world.”
Trudeau and other political leaders extended best wishes to Trump after the U.S. president announced that he and his wife, Melania, had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Trudeau extended a get-well message on Twitter.
“We hope you both get well soon and have a full recovery from this virus,” he tweeted.
Trudeau’s wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau tested positive for the coronavirus after attending a WE Day charity event in London with her daughter, Ella-Grace, and her mother-in-law, Margaret Trudeau, on March 4. She experienced mild symptoms.
Soon after she recovered, the First Lady called Gregoire Trudeau.
“First Lady Trump expressed her well wishes for Mrs. Gregoire Trudeau’s good health, following her recovery from COVID-19 last month, and reaffirmed her deep appreciation for the continued cooperation between the United States and Canada to address unprecedented challenges related to the pandemic,” said a readout from the White House at the time.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and his wife, Rebecca, also tested positive and emerged from two weeks’ isolation this week.
He also tweeted out his best wishes to Trump, noting that he and his wife know “first hand” the challenges of COVID-19.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh also issued a statement.
“I wish a speedy recovery for the President and the First Lady. No one deserves to get sick. This virus has needlessly cost many lives. We can all do our part to protect ourselves and each other. Listen to public health officials. Wear a mask. Maintain physical distance. Be safe,” he said.
Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet also returned to Parliament Hill Wednesday after self-isolating for two weeks following a positive coronavirus test.
He said his personal experience should serve as a warning to everyone to take public health guidance seriously.
“Some people go through it much more painfully than I did. I was very, very, very lucky. Some people die of that thing,” he told a news conference this week.
“There is no absolute protection. There are only ways to reduce the probability of catching the thing and giving it to someone who might be more vulnerable to it.”