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Trudeau to address the nation on COVID-19 fight Wednesday evening

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will address the nation tomorrow evening at 6:30 p.m. ET after the speech from the throne lays out the government’s plan to deal with the pandemic and the economic recovery.

Trudeau asked the major television networks for time Wednesday evening. It’s not clear how long the prime minister intends to speak.

The opposition parties have been offered a chance to respond immediately after the prime minister’s address.

A PMO official speaking on background said that Trudeau will address Canadians directly on the fight against COVID-19 as confirmed cases continue to climb in Canada.

Trudeau is also expected to summarize the government’s plans laid out in the throne speech earlier in the day. 


CBC News will carry a live address to the nation by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday, September 23 at 6:30 p.m. ET followed by analysis and reaction.

Watch, listen and follow LIVE on CBC TV, CBC News Network, CBC Gem, the CBC News app, and CBC Radio.

It’s rare for a prime minister to address the nation in this way. Such events tend to be associated with wartime, or with constitutional or political crises.

Then-prime minister Stephen Harper addressed the nation in 2008 when a coalition of the NDP and the Bloc Québécois led by the Liberals under Stéphane Dion made plans to defeat his minority government and replace it with a Dion-led political coalition.

In his address, Harper defended his government’s position and argued that Canadians should support it as the global financial crisis continued to rock the economy.

“Tonight I pledge to you that Canada’s government will use every legal means at our disposal to protect our democracy, to protect our economy and to protect Canada,” he said.

Watch: Harper speaks on behalf of a government facing a no-confidence vote in 2008:

In a rare televised address directly to Canadians, Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks on behalf of a government facing a no-confidence vote in 2008. 4:40

A few years earlier, Paul Martin used his speech to the nation to apologize for the sponsorship scandal — essentially delivering a televised appeal to save his political career.

“Public money was misdirected and misused. That’s unacceptable,” Martin said. “And that is why I apologized to the Canadian people a year ago. But taking responsibility is about more than words. I want to tell you what I’ve done as prime minister to deal with the sponsorship scandal, to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Then-prime minister Jean Chrétien addressed the nation live in 1995 just days before the Quebec referendum, asking Quebecers if they had  “one reason, one good reason, to destroy Canada.”

Watch: Chrétien calls for Canadian unity just days before the 1995 Quebec referendum:

An emotional Jean Chrétien calls for Canadian unity just days before the 1995 Quebec referendum. 11:48

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