PM Trudeau delivers remarks following the swearing-in of the 29th Ministry
RIGHT HONOURABLE JUSTIN TRUDEAU (Prime Minister of Canada): Thank you everyone for being here today. It is a great pleasure for me to introduce a Cabinet that looks so much like Canada.
It's an incredible pleasure for me to be here today before you to present to Canada a cabinet that looks like Canada. We have…
We have an awful lot of work to do in the coming weeks, months, and years, but I know that Canadians expected us to come together and put forward a team that is going to be able to deliver on the change, on the ambitious plan for this country that the Liberal party ran on, and that's exactly what we are going to deliver.
Canadians had big expectations for us and I am happy to demonstrate that we have an extraordinary team that will deliver on the values and the plan that Canadians expect from this government.
JULIE VAN DUSEN (CBC): Hi. Julie Van Dusen, CBC. We've seen… Congratulations, first of all. And we have seen some visible changes in your approach, but could you just explain to us, if you had a message to Canadians, what kind of government are you hoping to offer them? How will it be different?
RT HON JUSTIN TRUDEAU: Well I think one of the first things is that we are a government that wants to earn Canadians' trust by demonstrating that we trust Canadians. Openness and transparency isn't just about trust though, it's also very much about better policy-making, better decisions, when media can do their jobs of holding us to account and asking tough questions, when disclosure and access to information is just the way Parliament behaves, when open data and evidence-based policy is at the heart of policy-making and governance decisions, you get the kind of government that Canadians expect and deserve. And that's what we are going to be working very, very hard to deliver.
VAN DUSEN: And a second quick question. You're making history today in the sense that you are the first Canadian Prime Minister whose father was a Prime Minister. And many people in the crowd mentioned your father. And I'm just wondering, do you have any thoughts today to share with us?
RT HON JUSTIN TRUDEAU: Obviously I think of my father and how pleased he must be that Canada so firmly came together around an ambitious vision for the country that we presented. But my thoughts today, sorry Dad, aren't mostly on him; they are very much on my own kids, and on the kids across this country that we are going to work very, very hard to ensure they have a better future. I am forward-looking, and that's what we are going to do.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (inaudible) …news. First of all your cabinet, you said, looks a lot like Canada. And I understand where the priorities for you was to have a cabinet that was gender-balanced. Why was that so important to you?
RT HON JUSTIN TRUDEAU: Because it's 2015.
Canadians elected extraordinary members of Parliament from across the country, and I am glad to have been able to highlight a few of them in this cabinet here with me today. However, there are an awful lot of extraordinary Canadians who are not in this cabinet behind me who are also going to be strong voices for their community and their country, because one of the things that I am committed to is ensuring that all parliamentarians, all 307 of them who aren't here with us today, are able to be strong voices for their communities, to push their issues, and to make sure that the diversity that makes this Canada, this country, so strong is the diversity of views that carry us forward.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Last week you were asked for an update on resettling the 25,000 Syrian refugees that you promised. You said last week that you would have more to say after you were sworn in. Well, you've been sworn in…(laughter). Can you give us an update on what you're doing to get 25,000 refugees here to Canada?
RT HON JUSTIN TRUDEAU: Well I just took a big step towards it by appointing the kind of cabinet that is going to get things done. This is going to be a period of slight adjustment for a number of people in the political world in Canada because government by cabinet is back. We are going to sit down around the cabinet table and talk about the solutions that need to put forward what is in the best interests of Canadians, and how we are going to deliver on the promises that Canadians quite rightly expect us to keep. We are going to do it responsibly and properly, but we are going to keep the promises we made to Canadians to offer them the kind of country that we know we deserve.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (Inaudible) …TV. Mr. Trudeau, you are heading to APEC meeting and will meet with Asian leaders including Chinese leaders. As Canada does trade with China we also know there's great human rights concerns in that country. For example, the recent arrests of the human rights lawyers, the torture and killing of Falun Gong practitioners, and the list goes on. I want to ask you, are you going to stand up for Canadian values in raising the human rights issue with the Chinese counterpart and show Canadians that in doing trade, we are not going to sacrifice their rights.
RT HON JUSTIN TRUDEAU: Canadians expect, of their government, to engage in protecting Canada's national interests in a positive and constructive way on the world stage. And, yes, that means promoting our values and standing up for human rights. And it also means ensuring that we can be a productive voice on the world stage to improve relations, to improve economic growth and opportunity for all. But also to have frank and open conversations with our friends and trading partners. And Canada will continue, always, to be a strong and positive voice on the world stage, building the kind of future, not just for Canadians, but for everyone on this planet that we know that people expect.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you think that in Canadian foreign policy with China, Canada can advance a human rights agenda to help that country?
RT HON JUSTIN TRUDEAU: Absolutely. I think Canada has an awful lot to offer to many countries around the world, whether it's better governance, whether it's the idea that diversity is a source of strength not a source of weakness. There is a positive engagement, firmly based on our values, that we know are not just Canadian values but in most cases are universally shared values across the world, that we have work to do and we will do that work.
DANIEL THIBEAULT (Journalist, Radio-Canada): Daniel Thibeault, Radio-Canada. Mr. Trudeau, with your ministers behind you, with his ceremony this morning that has now created your new government, what kind of message do you want to send to Canadians? What would you like them to take from these people behind you today?
RT HON JUSTIN TRUDEAU: Well, first, we are forming a government that puts trust at the very heart of what it does. We want to deserve Canadians’ trust and to do that, we are going to show that we trust Canadians. We will be open and transparent in our actions, we will create policies based on data and facts, and understand that we must be accountable to media and to Canadians at every turn. This is a priority for me and I think that this is the change Canadians asked for in the elections.
DANIEL THIBEAULT: Now, you are going to have your first Cabinet meeting this afternoon. I presume that you will be establishing a series of priorities. What do you want? What are your priorities and what do you want to accomplish by December 31, 2015?
RT HON JUSTIN TRUDEAU: Well one of … one of the first discussions that we are going to have will be on the return of Parliament. And I… I would like Parliament to return in early December but that will be a discussion that we will have in Cabinet so we can confirm the date. But as I said throughout the campaign, one of our first priorities, our first priority, will be to lower taxes for the middle class by asking the wealthiest citizens, the one percent, to do a little more, and that’s what we are going to present as an initial bill.
BRIAN FRASER (CKDJ 107.9): Mr. Trudeau, Brian Fraser on behalf of CKDJ 107.9. It's no secret that a lot of students around the country go into tremendous amounts of debt coming out of their post-secondary education. I was wondering, now that you have been sworn in, if you have any plans to maybe reduce the load that those students have to bear?
RT HON JUSTIN TRUDEAU: We know that the future of our country is deeply wrapped up in a positive future for our young people. Access to post-secondary education is going to be essential for economic growth in this country. And that's why we put forward a strong plan to increase the Canada student grants and loan system to make sure that young people have better access to post-secondary education, including for indigenous Canadians who see tremendous barriers. But also, we have made a commitment that loans don't need to be paid back by students until such a time as they are making $25,000 a year in salary and revenue. That's the kind of thing that pushes off the kinds of debts that are crippling our young people.
FRASER: Thank you, and congratulations.
RT HON JUSTIN TRUDEAU: Thank you.
MÉLANIE MARQUIS (Journalist, The Canadian Press): Hello Mr. Trudeau. Mélanie Marquis from The Canadian Press. Does it surprise you to hear people criticizing, saying that you have, in a way, excluded men in order to achieve parity in… in Cabinet?
RT HON JUSTIN TRUDEAU: You know, it’s 2015 and I believe that having a Cabinet that looks like Canada in all its wonderful diversity was a priority for me. But as you know as well, Canadians sent the Liberal Party to the House of Commons and we recognize that all Parliamentarians will have an important role to play to ensure that the views, concerns and priorities of Canadians are heard in this Parliament, are listened to by this government and that we deliver the government Canadians are expecting.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Thanks. Mr. Trudeau, in a couple of weeks you will be heading to Paris where you're going to be asked to commit to serious goals in reducing carbon emissions here in Canada, but you have not committed to any sort of plan in the federal level to do so. You said you were going to get the provinces on board. Optimistically, do you think that's even possible to actually get the provinces to adapt a plan that's going to be enough to meet the pretty serious targets that you're going to be asked to commit to?
RT HON JUSTIN TRUDEAU: Canadians expect their government to be responsible around climate change and addressing the impacts to the environment they we are facing around the world right now. Canada is going to be a strong and positive actor on the world stage, including in Paris at COP21. That's why we have a very strong minister, not just of the environment, but minister of the environment and climate change, who will be at the heart of this discussion. And she is, of course, an Ottawa girl. We can see the support for her here. But the fact is that we have an amazing team of strong cabinet members who will lean in with the kind of engagement both with the provinces and municipalities, and countries around the world, to demonstrate that Canada is doing its part to address climate change impacts.
RT HON JUSTIN TRUDEAU: Thank you very much everyone. Thank you very, very much.