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Trudeau: No Retaliation Over Mask Ban  04/05 08:59

   TORONTO (AP) -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Saturday that Canada 
won't bring retaliatory or punitive measures against the United States after 
the Trump administration announced it would prevent the export of N95 
protective masks.

   President Trump said he would block shipments of the masks from the United 
States to ensure they are available in the U.S. for use during the coronavirus 

   "We need the masks. We don't want any other people getting it," Trump said. 

   Trudeau said Canadian officials are having constructive conversations with 
U.S. authorities, and he planned to speak to Trump in the coming days. He said 
he would tell Trump that both countries are interlinked in ways that would hurt 
the nations if supply chains were cut. 

   "We are not looking at retaliatory measures or measures that are punitive, " 
Trudeau said. "We know it is in both our countries interests to cooperate." 

   The prime minister noted Canada ships medical gloves and testing kits to the 
U.S and said materials from the N95 masks originate in Canada. Health workers 
in Canada rely on the masks, and Canadian nurses also cross the bridge from 
Windsor, Ontario, to work in the Detroit medical system every day, he said. 

   Manufacturing giant 3M says there are significant humanitarian implications 
of ceasing N95 masks to health care workers in Canada and Latin America, where 
3M is a critical supplier of respirators.

   "They can sell to others, but they should be taking care of our country," 
Trump said. "3M has not treated our country well. And if they do, great. And if 
they don't, they are going to have a hell of a price to pay."

   The company has argued that blocking exports will raise "significant 
humanitarian implications" abroad and lead other countries to retaliate by 
withholding much-needed medical supplies from the U.S.

   The spat between the president and a leading American manufacturer started 
Thursday, after Trump used his authority under the 1950 Defense Production Act 
to direct the government to acquire the "appropriate" number of N95 respirators 
from Minnesota-based 3M and its subsidiaries.

   The N95 masks, also called respirators, provide more protection against the 
virus that causes COVID-19 than do ordinary surgical masks. Hospital officials 
around the world have warned of a dire shortage of masks and other protective 
gear for health care workers treating infected patients.

   3M said it has raised U.S. production of N95 masks from 22 million in 
January to 35 million in March, with the entire increase being distributed in 
the United States. It said 10 million N95 masks that it produced in China will 
be shipped to the U.S.

   The company has traditionally exported about 6 million masks a month to 
Canada and Latin America, where 3M is a primary supplier.

   Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he couldn't stress enough how disappointed he 
was in Trump for making the decision against America's neighbor and 
longstanding closet ally. 

   "It's like one of your family members (says), 'OK, you go starve and we'll 
go feast on the rest of the meal.' I'm just so disappointed right now," Ford 
said Saturday. `"We have a great relationship with the U.S. and they pull these 
shenanigans? Unacceptable."

    Alberta Premier Jason Kenney didn't hold back his outrage at Trump's 
decision either. 

   "It reminds me of what happened in 1939 and 1940 when Canada was part of the 
fight against global fascism --- the United States sat out the first two or 
three years and actually initially refused to even provide supplies to Canada 
and the United Kingdom that was leading the fight at the time," Kenney said. 

   Canada has more than 12,924 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 214 
deaths. Twenty-two of the deaths are linked to one nursing home in Ontario. 
Canada has conducted more than 309,000 tests.


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