Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made several announcements and statements regarding airline rules, blood donations, and the RCMP. Here is a breakdown of what was said.
Blood donation ban to be changed soon
With the COVID-19 pandemic taking place, there has been a shortage of blood donations at Canadian blood banks.
After years of promising to change the ban, Trudeau has said that a change to the blood donation policy will hopefully come “very soon”.
The ban in question currently states that gay and bisexual men who have sex with other men or trans women are required to wait three months before being able to donate blood.
The ban was put in place in 1992 due to a blood scandal between the 1980s and 90s, where thousands of Canadians were infected with HIV after receiving donor blood.
The three-month waiting period was put in place in June of 2019 when Health Canada approved a request made by the Canadian Blood Services and Hema-Quebec to lower the blood donation time from a one year waiting period to the current three-month waiting period put in place.
The removal of the ban has been one of the goals for the Liberals since coming into power, as they first changed the waiting time from five years to one year, and so on.
“Our decisions from the very beginning have always been anchored in science and data. From the very start when we took office, we made significant changes to shorten the wait times, but they were still unacceptable,” Trudeau said when addressing the ban.
“The policy on MSM blood donations has long been discriminatory, but we know… the safety of our blood supply is something that we have to anchor in science”.
Temperature checks to become mandatory before boarding planes to and from Canada.
Trudeau announced that passengers travelling to and from Canada by plane will have to undergo temperature checks before boarding the airline.
The decision to enforce temperature checks was made to prevent the spread of the virus by way of travel.
“This screening will add yet another layer of protection,” Trudeau said about the mandatory check.
According to Trudeau, the temperature screening process will be phased, with temperature checks being done first to those travelling to Canada, second to those travelling from Canada, and then for those travelling within the country.
He has also stated that passengers who are registering fever-like symptoms will not be allowed to board a flight. Employees who work in secured areas of the airports will also be required to have temperature checks.
Temperature checks will be done twice for a single individual. The first test will determine if you are clear to board the flight or need to be checked again within 10 minutes.
After waiting for the 10 minutes, the passenger will have their temperature checked again, and if both tests indicate a fever, then the individual will not be allowed to fly unless they provide a medical document stating their reason for flying and why their travel is essential.
Those who have been denied entry to the plane will have the opportunity to rebook their flight with no extra costs, as long as they rebook a flight 14 days later.
Global travel has been recognized as a main contributor to the COVID-19 virus’ worldwide spread, many airlines around the world have already made temperature checks a mandatory action for the passengers.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau has said that temperature checks will start at the end of June for people boarding planes that are arriving in Canada.
Garneau has also said that the temperature checks will also be expanded to Canada’s four largest airports (in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary) by the end of July, which will include 11 other airports that are serving domestic travelers at the end of September.
The Transport Minister has also said that airline companies will be initially responsible for performing these temperature screenings before the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CASA) takes over by the end of July.
Trudeau urging police reform after RCMP violence is caught on video
Last weekend, First Nations Chief Allan Adam alleged that the RCMP violently arrested him, saying that he was beaten while being apprehended for driving with an expired licence plate.
The video of the arrest has now been published online by several media outlets, and has been watched by the Prime Minister and is under investigation by Alberta’s Serious Incident Response Team.
After watching the video, Trudeau has said that the investigation behind this arrest is vital and that it needs to be “open, transparent, and independent”.
“I think we’ve seen examples of systemic discrimination, systemic racism in the past days in many different ways and that’s why we need to address it seriously… We need to look at the entire system to improve it, to make sure situations like this don’t happen in the future,” Trudeau said.
All of this comes during the same week where the RCMP has received criticism for its committer Brenda Lucki denying the presence of systemic racism in the police institutions of Canada.
Trudeau has discussed the issue with the commissioner, as well as the province premiers during his weekly call with them on Thursday evening.
“Far too many Black Canadians and Indigenous people do not feel safe around police. It’s unacceptable. And as governments, we have to change that,” Trudeau said.
“I raised with them some of the ways we can work together moving forward, including practical things like the adoption of body cameras. This is something I’ve already discussed with RCMP Commissioner Lucki. But reforms are needed at all levels of policing, and these reforms need to happen quickly”.
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