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Stay home this Christmas, a Canadian premier begs citizens. | Press "Enter" to skip to content

Stay home this Christmas, a Canadian premier begs citizens.

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If you’re looking for the Grinch, look no farther than to our neighbors in the North.

“I’m the guy who’s stealing Christmas to keep you safe — because you need to do this now,” Brian Pallister, the premier of the Canadian province of Manitoba, said at a news conference Thursday at which he implored Manitobans not to gather this holiday season.

He also offered some choice words for any coronavirus skeptics out there: “If you don’t think that Covid is real right now, you’re an idiot.”

Manitoba, population 1.38 million, has averaged 354 daily new cases in the last week, according to a New York Times database. The provincial government reported a 13.1 percent positivity rate as of Thursday.

Mr. Pallister’s comments mirrored remarks two weeks ago by Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, who told his countrymen that “a normal Christmas is quite frankly out of the question.”

In the weeks following Canada’s Thanksgiving, held in October, outbreaks began to grow. Since then, new restrictions have been imposed in parts of the country, including Manitoba. But Thanksgiving is nowhere near as big for Canadians as Christmas, and they generally wait until then to travel for family get-togethers.

Mr. Pallister had one main piece of advice for citizens: Wait. If Manitobans get it right now, he said, there will be “lots to celebrate” next year.

The premier choked up as he urged people to forgo their usual family gatherings.

“You don’t need to like me,” he said. “I hope in years to come you might respect me for having the guts to tell you the right thing. And here’s the right thing: stay safe, protect each other, love each other, care for each other, you’ve got so many ways to show that, but don’t get together this Christmas.”


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