PM defends foreign minister travel as 'essential'
OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today defended his foreign affairs minister’s recent and upcoming work-related travel overseas as “essential,” as he assured Canadians that all quarantine and testing requirements will be followed.
Asked whether Canadians might think it hypocritical they have been told to avoid international travel for more than a year, but Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau doesn’t have to, Trudeau said his government has always “highlighted the need for essential travel.”
“There are thousands of trucks with food and essential goods that cross the U.S. border every day. We continue to see essential travel happening, the question always remains what is essential travel and are the rules going to be followed,” he said Tuesday, speaking to reporters in Ottawa.
Garneau travelled to the U.K. early in the month to attend an in-person meeting of G7 foreign and development ministers. He’s also expected to travel next week, to the 12th ministerial meeting of the Arctic Council in Iceland.
In a statement to CTVNews.ca, the minister’s spokesperson Syrine Khoury said “There will be no special treatment for the minister and he will pass through the same process as every Canadian coming back.”
Trudeau echoed the same message on Tuesday.
“All quarantines and testing will be abided by because nobody is exempt from keeping Canadians safe,” he said.
To enter Canada, passengers arriving by air must first show a negative PCR test within 72 hours of their departure flight. Once landing in the country, passengers are required to take an arrival test and quarantine for three nights in a designated government hotel or until they receive their result. If their test result is negative, passengers can check out, but must complete the remainder of their 14-day quarantine at an approved alternate location.
Garneau will be departing Canada for Iceland before he fulfills his mandatory quarantine period, but as flagged by Global Affairs Canada, this is authorized under federal regulation so long as he remains in quarantine before leaving.
Trudeau has said he’s “hopeful” he’ll be able to attend the G7 Leaders’ Summit in the U.K. next month.
On March 13, 2020 the federal government issued a global travel advisory to avoid non-essential international travel, which remains in place today.