Critics have argued the Trudeau government lacked preparedness or a sense of urgency before the country was hit by the pandemic’s crises.
OTTAWA — Two weeks after the first case of Covid-19 was reported in Canada, an internal memo to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau predicted the economic hit of any domestic outbreak would be “manageable and would reverse quickly.”
The “secret” Feb. 7 briefing note adds to evidence that the Canadian government, like so many around the world, was caught off guard by the rapid spread of Covid-19. It was obtained by POLITICO under the Access to Information Act.
Critics have argued the Trudeau government lacked preparedness or a sense of urgency before the country was hit by the pandemic’s health and economic crises.
“The Department of Finance concludes that economic impacts in Canada could be somewhat larger than in 2003, but would still be manageable and would reverse quickly,” said the two-page memo signed by Privy Council clerk Ian Shugart, Canada’s top civil servant.
In concluding, Shugart noted much was still unknown about the virus.
“However, the course of the outbreak is still uncertain and the economic impacts could be more significant if the outbreak extends to the second quarter of 2020,” said the memo, which added it would keep Trudeau informed of new developments including if the outbreak proved to be more severe than expected.
The information in the memo surfaces amid fresh questions around how much President Donald Trump knew about Covid-19 in the early days of the outbreak and how much was revealed to the public.