Canadians celebrating Christmas prepare 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 gone through in a Christmas message shared virtually Thursday, and said now is the time to continue to offer compassion to those struggling in these difficult times.
“This time of year is meant to be full of joy, light and family traditions. But this Christmas is different. Families don’t get together for big dinners and friends don’t stop for cookies and eggnog, ”he said.
“This isn’t the holiday season we wanted – I know. But here’s the problem: Even though this year’s Christmas traditions will be different, we can and should give thanks for all that unites us.
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Trudeau said this holiday is the time to recognize “all the good that we have in our lives.”
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“This is a time to celebrate Christ’s message of compassion and show people that we love them. This message has never been more important. We can all agree that 2020 has been a difficult year, ”he continued, adding that all Canadians have made sacrifices to try to keep the virus at bay.
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“This year everyone did their part because that’s what we are.
“This is the raison d’être of Christmas and of Canada.”
More than half a million Canadians have so far been infected with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Nearly 15,000 people have died from the virus, with experts warning those numbers could see a ‘grotesque’ spike if Canadians choose to ignore public health rules and meet with people outside their homes for vacations.
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 that Canadians must continue to follow the public health guidelines.
The Public Health Agency of Canada predicts that at current rates, the country could see between 12,000 and 14,000 new cases daily by January, adding to an already explosive growth of the virus.
Trudeau said he hopes Canadians use technology to stay in touch with loved ones during the holidays and that the end of the pandemic is in sight.
“This crisis will end,” he said.
“And as a country, we will come out stronger and more united.”
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