PM Trudeau and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hold a joint press conference in Ottawa
RIGHT HONOURABLE JUSTIN TRUDEAU (Prime Minister of Canada): Good afternoon, everyone. Today, I had the great pleasure of welcoming His Excellency, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, to Canada. Earlier today, after meeting in private, we sat down with ministers Bibeau, Dion, and McKenna to discuss issues of pressing importance, both to the UN and to Canada.
On climate change we discussed the importance of the Paris Agreement and how the UN and Canada can collaborate more closely to ensure that we achieve our ambitious goals. We discussed how Canada’s new re-focused approach for Iraq, Syria, and the broader region--which better reflects our values in unique areas of expertise--will help address both the short and long-term problems the Middle East is facing. I reiterated the commitment of our government to make… to strengthen the UN’s ability to maintain international peace and security, including by increasing support for peace operations, and contributing more to mediation, conflict prevention, and post-conflict reconstruction efforts.
As for humanitarian assistance, I indicated that Canada is enthusiastic about participating in the global humanitarian summit that Mr. Ban will be hosting in May. Canada will continue its humanitarian efforts throughout the world, particularly by supporting initiatives aimed at improving women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health. Together we discussed gender equality and empowerment of girls and women, a subject dear to both our hearts.
Our government has shown leadership on this front and shall continue to promote equality in all of our actions, both at home and abroad.
Lastly, we discussed global migration and the refugee crisis. To date, Canada has admitted over 18 000 Syrian refugees and is on target to meet its objective of admitting 25 000 by the end of February.
But admitting refugees is only part of the solution, of course. Working with key partners like the UN, we will continue to contribute to initiatives on the ground in such places as Lebanon and Jordan to ensure that the refugees fleeing these conflicts have access to food, water, shelter, health care and education, and that their living conditions are acceptable.
I look forward to the remainder of Mr. Ban’s visit to Ottawa today where we will be engaging in a discussion with local youth at the Glebe Collegiate Institute. As Minister for Youth it’s important for me to hear what our young leaders have to say about the issues that matter to them.
We’ll wrap up the day with a dinner to honour Mr. Ban and his many impressive accomplishments while at the UN. I want to take this time to thank the Secretary General for being here today. Canada looks forward to a strengthened relationship with the United Nations in the coming years.
THE HONOURABLE BAN KI-MOON (United Nations Secretary General): Mr. Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen, I am very honoured to be visiting your country so soon after your election as Canada’s Prime Minister.
This is my fifth visit to Canada since becoming Secretary General, but my first since Mr. Trudeau became Prime Minister.
We have just had some very constructive exchanges on a wide range of important issues. We spoke about climate change, peace operations, sustainable development and the situation with migrants and refugees. We also discussed the world’s hot spots, including Syria.
I thank the Prime Minister for his robust cooperation with the United Nations. It is a great pleasure to work with him and with the Canadian government.
Ladies and gentlemen, the weather here is quite cold, but the relationship between the United Nations and Canada are very, very warm. Since the United Nations was founded, Canada has always been one of our most important partners. We thank former Prime Minister and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Lester Pearson, for helping to pioneer United Nations peacekeeping.
Prime Minister Trudeau has declared Canada’s recommitment to the United Nations. I am here to declare that the United Nations enthusiastically welcomes this commitment. Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister.
At the climate conference last December in Paris, Prime Minister Trudeau’s leadership helped us secure the breakthrough we needed for the historic Paris agreement on climate change. Now we need Canada to put the agreement into action and help keep the rest of the world on track.
I have invited the Prime Minister to attend the signing ceremony in New York on April 22nd. This will be the best possible way to mark Mother Earth Day.
I also commend Canada for its compassionate approach to migrants and refugees. Later today I will visit the Catholic Centre for Immigrants and this will build on my many meetings with the refugees and migrants around the world. They have lost their homes and their family members. They deserve opportunity, human rights, protection and peace. Canada is helping to give them hope.
I applaud highly Canada’s commitment to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees. This is a great show… demonstration of compassionate leadership.
I also commend the Prime Minister for committing to addressing United Nations human rights recommendations on indigenous people in Canada, particularly in violence against indigenous women and girls. I am impressed by Prime Minister Trudeau’s commitment to young people.
Later today we will meet together with high school students. He’s showing and leading by example by combining his portfolio as Minister of Youth in addition to his premiership.
Although I’ll be in Canada for only three days, we are laying plans to strengthen our collaboration for years to come. I have brought a number of my top senior advisors, including senior officials dealing with the peacekeeping, humanitarian emergencies, sustainable development, and youth. We are focused on concrete results.
I am confident that our collaboration will have a meaningful impact on the lives of people around the world. I thank you.