Prime Minister Trudeau delivers remarks following the First Ministers’ Meeting
We had a great, positive meeting tonight. As what happens when groups of Canadians get together, we found out very quickly that we have far more in common than we have differences. It’s been over six years since the last First Ministers’ meeting took place, and I think we can agree that this one was long overdue.
As you know, I’ve been looking forward to working with the premiers on a range of key priorities. I have the deepest respect for each and every one of them, and for the knowledge they bring to the table on their respective provinces and territories.
This was the first in a series of meetings in what I expect to be a long and fruitful relationship based on openness and transparency. Today we made concrete progress on two pressing issues of importance to Canadians. Climate change, on the eve of the 21st Conference of Parties in Paris, and the resettlement of Syrian refugees.
Next week the world will negotiate a new agreement to tackle climate change, and I will personally be attending the leaders’ segment on November 30th in Paris.
While the premiers can’t all be in Paris at the same time, I’m very pleased that most of them will be attending COP 21 and I welcome the premiers’ leadership on this issue of local and global importance.
In Paris, a united Canada will demonstrate that we are serious about climate change. This means making decisions based on science. It means reducing carbon emissions including, through carbon pricing, towards a climate resilient economy. It means collaborating with our provincial and territorial partners, supporting climate change efforts in developing countries, and investing in sustainable economic prosperity.
Within 90 days after the Paris Conference we will be setting the date for a first ministers meeting to take stock of the pan-Canadian framework for tackling climate change together.
Canada is also going to be there for Syrian refugees who are so desperately seeking safety. Our discussion tonight on the refugee crisis remained focused on ensuring the safe and efficient arrival of incoming refugees, building towards their successful resettlement and participation in Canadian society.
As I’ve said in the past, the security of Canadians remains at the very core of our planning to accept 25,000 Syrian refugees. Robust security planning continues to be an extremely high priority.
I am very pleased that the provincial and territorial governments, along with municipal leaders, have already taken action and that Canadians have personally offered their assistance. We will be asking for their close cooperation in the coming days to welcome the victims of this tragedy. This national project consists in demonstrating leadership and taking actions that are worthy of Canadians, as we did for the Vietnamese refugees in the 70’s and 80’s and for the Kosovo refugees in the 90’s.
I would like to thank the minister, John McCallum, and the many other federal ministers involved and their provincial and territorial counterparts for playing an essential role in the resettlement of Syrian refugees. They all have my complete support. In the years to come, we will look back with pride on what Syrian refugees have brought to Canada through their contributions to our country.
I would now like to turn it over to the premiers.