Canadians who celebrate Christmas are getting ready for a holiday unlike any other in living memory as the coronavirus continues to tighten its grip on the country, forcing families and traditions to adapt.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged the difficult year Canadians have been through in a Christmas message shared virtually on Thursday, and said now is the time to continue offering compassion to those who are struggling in challenging times.
“This time of year is supposed to be full of joy, light and family traditions. But this Christmas is different. Families aren’t getting together for big dinners, and friends aren’t stopping by for cookies and eggnog,” he said.
“This isn’t the holiday season we wanted — I know. But here’s the thing: even though this year’s Christmas traditions will be different, we can and should give thanks for everything that unites us.”
Trudeau said this holiday is a time to recognize “all of the good that we have in our lives.”
“It’s a time to celebrate Christ’s message of compassion and show people that we love them. That message has never been more important. We can all agree that 2020 has been a tough year,” he continued, adding that all Canadians have made sacrifices to try to keep the virus at bay.
“This year, everyone has done their part because that’s who we are.
“That’s what Christmas and Canada is all about.”
More than half a million Canadians have so far been infected with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Nearly 15,000 have died from the virus, with experts warning those numbers could see a “grotesque” spike if Canadians choose to ignore public health rules and have gatherings with those outside their households over the holidays.
Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam warned earlier in the week that the country remains on track for a resurgence of the virus over the next two months and stressed Canadians need to keep following public health guidelines.
The Public Health Agency of Canada is predicting at current rates, the country could see 12,000 to 14,000 new daily cases by January, adding to already explosive growth of the virus.
Trudeau said he hopes Canadians will use technology to stay connected with loved ones over the holiday, and that the end of the pandemic is in sight.
“This crisis will end,” he said.
“And as a country, we will come out of it stronger and more united.”
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