Over the weekend Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada will not retaliate against the US for banning exports of crucial medical protective supplies shipments into Canada, after on Friday a major shipment of masks from Minnesota-based 3M to Canada was halted by US authorities as part of the Defense Production Act.
“We are not looking at retaliatory measures or measures that are punitive,” Trudeau said Saturday at a dire moment the Canadian health care system is feeling the same strain as the US. He did call the move a "mistake" and the Trump administration has since been unmoved.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford's words, however, were more aggressive and blunt, explaining in so many words that essentially Washington's ban on the exports puts lives in danger. This after European leaders likened similar measures and interventions impacting Germany and France to "modern piracy".
Canadian Premier of Ontario @fordnation starts his statements today noting that the U.S. won't allow medical supplies into Canada and that it puts lives in danger. Imagine how deadly it is to blockade a country's access to medicine & supplies for years/decades. #TheBlockadeKills pic.twitter.com/aDjmncRVxn— Camila (@camilateleSUR) April 6, 2020
“What I understand is we have 3 million masks that were stopped by U.S. officials,” Ford told a Monday press conference. Ford later indicated that some of the masks — up to 500,000 — have since been released and that should “buy the province a week” before health workers run out.
“Our supplies are strained right at this moment... We're exhausting every avenue available to us,” the Ontario leader said. “The hard truth is our supplies in Ontario are getting very low.”
Doug Ford is absolutely desperate saying its critical that the U.S. exempt Canada from the Presidential order blocking N95 masks as Ontario has just a week supply remaining. pic.twitter.com/FSBDqM11Fo— Camila (@camilateleSUR) April 6, 2020
He continued: “We're putting pressure on the US government from all sides. It's absolutely critical that they except Canada from this presidential order.”
He underscored how dire the situation remains by further saying, “We're reaching out to everyone in the world right now to make sure that we have enough masks.”
Canada's Globe and Mail further quoted Ford as comparing the decision made Trump to someone telling a relative: “you go starve and we’ll feast on the rest of the meal.”
Surely missed on Canada's leaders as they scramble to deal with the fallout of the US ban on crucial medical personal protective equipment for hospital workers, is the fact that they themselves previously willingly joined in Trump's sanctions on so-called 'rogue states' like Iran, Syria, and Venezuela.
Nationwide Canada has seen over 16,500 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 339 deaths. Ontario province has witnessed the highest number of deaths, at 150, creating alarm within the under-supplied health system there.