Prime Minister Trudeau makes an announcement at the Waterloo Perimeter Institute
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE JUSTIN TRUDEAU (Prime Minister of Canada): Good morning everyone. Thank you so much Bardish for that kind introduction. It was great to spend time together earlier this week at the Vaisakhi celebrations in Ottawa, and it's even better to be with you in your home town of Waterloo. Thank you very much for the wonderful welcome.
It's really a pleasure to be here today and to see so many dear friends. Thank you Mayor Jaworsky for welcoming us here today. Thank you very much, all of you, for gathering here.
I really want to acknowledge the students that are here from the University of Waterloo. Thanks to all of you for coming out to Perimeter today as well. Thank you for being here.
I was last here in Kitchener-Waterloo back in January for the opening of Google's new Canadian headquarters. I said at the time that the government needs to bet on Canada to invest in Canada. Well I'm happy to say that last month we introduced a budget that does just that.
By investing in infrastructure, innovation, skills and professional training, the budget opens the door to long-term economic growth. Economic growth that benefits all Canadians, including the people of Waterloo.
I'm especially happy to be here today alongside Neil and Mike and other members of their team to announce a $50 million federal investment in Waterloo's Perimeter Institute.
This investment, part of last month's budget, will be delivered over five years starting next year. And because every federal dollar will be matched by $2.00 from the Institute's other partners, that means a potential total of investment of at least $150 million to help foster Kitchener-Waterloo's Innovation Ecosystem.
This investment will help drive the important work being done here at the Institute and will securely place Canada among the forefront of the kind of cutting-edge research that we see and that, quite frankly, the world needs. That work and research includes core work into theoretical physics, innovative training programs, and outreach programs designed to get students, teachers, and all Canadians excited about science. So you don't have to be a geek like me to appreciate how important this work is, although I have to tell you, when we get to the media questions later I'm really hoping people ask me how quantum computing works because I'm…
… I was excited to deepen my knowledge of that this morning.
Without the work of theoretical physics like the ones who are researching, teaching, and training here at the Perimeter Institute, we wouldn't have many of the things that improve our daily lives -- things like solar cells, computers, wireless technologies, and diagnostic imaging.
The research being conducted right now in fields like cosmology, particle physics and quantum gravity will improve our understanding of the universe and will lead to new technological developments.
The investment we're announcing today will strengthen the Perimeter Institute's position as a world leading research centre and help advance Canada's role as a leader in the global scientific community.
During the campaign, we promised Canadians that if elected our government would value science, would treat scientists with respect, and would invest in innovation to grow our economy. I'm proud to be here today to deliver on that promise. I'm proud to be able to exchange with some of the most brilliant minds in the world. I'm incredibly overwhelmed that I just got to see Stephen Hawking give me a welcome to this extraordinary Institute. It's extremely important to underline just how essential the work being done here is, not just for Canada but for the entire world.
And now I'm happy to introduce a dear friend who has been given the task of being our Minister for Science at a time when the government is committed to evidence-based policy, to science, to allowing scientists and researchers to do their work, and who is doing an extraordinary job of making up for lost time with her leadership, my friend Kirsty Duncan.
THE HONOURABLE KRISTY DUNCAN (Minister of Science): Thank you very much, Mr. Prime Minister. To the ministers...to Neil, to the Prime Minister, our Members of Parliament, distinguished guests, and friends at Perimeter. Prime Minister, it is such an honour to work with you. To be inspired by your passion for science, technology and innovation. And to be part of a government that values science. I want to particularly say, thank you for always taking time to encourage young Canadians. And to our young women here today, know anything is possible. Take time to dream your greatest dream and we'll be here to support you. (Applause)
And Prime Minister, thank you for taking the time to be here for this important celebration at the Perimeter Institute. To all of you at Perimeter, my sincere congratulations. This is your day.
It is an absolute pleasure to spend time with you again. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed our visit the last time. Bravo to you, Dr. Turok. You are a remarkable scientist and so is your institute. You are known internationally for your exceptional research. You have attracted the world's leading researchers. And you contribute enormously to our understanding of the universe, to our understanding of physics.
I'd like to finish by thanking my colleagues. Minister Chagger for the work you do to support small business and tourism in Canada. And to you and your colleagues, who represent Cambridge, Guelph, Kitchener and Waterloo, and to all our distinguished guests, thank you for the work you do. Finally, once again, congratulations to Perimeter and thank you for hosting us today.
So after having spent a morning asking questions of all the brilliant and exceptional people around here, media can start asking me questions. So please…
MELANIE (CBC Radio): Hi, this is Melanie from CBC radio. So this is, as you said, the second time you've been to our region applauding our innovation. But the innovators here, what they are wanting, aside from money, is better transportation into and out of our region. And I understand that Via has recently announced its desire to do more frequent train transportation between Windsor and Quebec City, which runs through our region. It's going to cost about $4 billion they're saying. So what I want to know first off is, how much of that money is coming from you? How much are you going to invest in that project?
RT HON JUSTIN TRUDEAU: You know a number of years ago when I first came to a Communitech here in Waterloo, I sat around a table of innovators, leading companies from big ones like Google and RIM, to small ones like the little start-ups that were going, and I said, okay, so tell me what the federal government can do to help you guys. And I was expecting, well, better access to venture capital and better R&D credits and maybe some help with immigration to bring, you know, the great talent that we want to bring in to work on our projects quickly. And, yes, those did come up. But the number one thing I was hearing was we need better transportation from… along the corridor to Toronto and back for the K-W region. And that was something that I heard loud and clear. And that's part of why, in our budget, we put forward $20 billion over the next five years… in our platform we put forward $20 billion over the next 10 years into public transit infrastructure.
And the conversations I've had with your mayors, the conversations I've had with the province, have all been about how we are going to make sure that we have the kind of world-class transportation infrastructure that is going to provide the necessary and easy access along the K-W to Toronto corridor that we need. Now Via can certainly be part of the solution. So will more frequent Go trains. So will better highway connections. The fact is it's not up to the federal government to tell K-W and Toronto what solution is right for all of you. The federal government – and I've said this from the very beginning – will be a partner, a partner to the region, a partner to Canadians who have plans to grow the economy and respond to their challenges. So I am ... I am sitting down with and I'm… our minister of infrastructure is sitting down with municipal leaders and provincial leaders to figure out exactly what is the best way to respond to the needs of this region not just for the benefit of the people who live here but for the benefits of the entire Canadian economy. Because what you do here matters as much as just about anything else that happens anywhere in Canada. And we will be that partner. Thank you.
MELANIE: I was told I get a quick follow-up question. So, we are at Perimeter Institute. It's a place that looks into the future. However, in Canada all we hear about is more frequent trains, faster trains. We never hear about high-speed trains. And so what I'm wondering is, in all of this infrastructure money that you're putting forward, is any of that going to go towards trains that actually, you know, bring us into the future, make us comparable to other Western countries?
RT HON JUSTIN TRUDEAU: Yes, well time-travelling trains I'm assured is something that… that Mike tells me is just around the corner. The fact is we have a broad range of transportation solutions being proposed. We are looking at what we can do right now. We are looking at what we're going to need in the coming years and indeed in the coming decades. And I know that the brightest minds in Canada are weighing in on how to grow our communities and how to connect them in ways that are both virtual and very, very concrete. And that’s something we are excited about working on. And I'm excited about the kinds of opportunities and suggestions that have been put forward, and that's very much what our government is working on building and making a reality in the coming years.
JEFF HALSET (Waterloo Region Record): Jeff Halset, reporter with Waterloo Region Record. Mr. Prime Minister, there's a fellow who lives here in Waterloo by the name of Helmut Oberlander. He is 92 years old. He served in a Nazi death squad in the Second World War. The Government of Canada has been trying for more than 20 years to strip his citizenship and failing to do so. And I'm told this morning by Mr. Oberlander's lawyers that the government – and it surprised them – has indicated it wants to take this case to the Supreme Court. It's the first time the government has done this. So I'm wondering if you can lay out the thinking as to – and this is after the Federal Court of Appeal restored Mr. Oberlander's citizenship 60 days ago, and you may have heard from some Jewish groups about that who wrote a letter to Mr. McCallum, the Citizenship Minister. So I'm wondering if you can explain your government's decision, or thinking, on taking this case to the Supreme Court which it hasn't done before. And then in a general sense why your government would continue to pursue this case that successive governments have pursued for more than 20 years without ever getting the results they desire.
RT HON JUSTIN TRUDEAU: I think… And I'm not going to comment on a specific case, particularly one that's engaged before the courts and possibly the Supreme Court. But certainly the question of citizenship is one that has come up many times in discussions. It was actually a feature of the previous election campaign. There was a suggestion that citizenship could and perhaps should be revoked conditional on bad behaviour, and we stood very strongly against that because, you know, Canadians shouldn't feel that some people's citizenship can be taken away while others don't have the danger of being deported or sent away or removed their citizenship just because they and their ancestors were born here on Canadian territory. But there is one condition in which citizenship can be revoked and that is when it was acquired based on fraud, misinformation, and… and not… not representing clearly who one was. And that is at the core of this case, I'm sure, as many other cases that are similar, and that's why we take the question of citizenship very, very seriously. Canadians are rightly proud not just of our citizenship but of our… the values that are articulated by that citizenship, and we have to make sure that we are doing everything to defend the principles and values that it means to be Canadian. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Good morning sir. I was going to ask you to explain quantum computing, but… When do you expect Canada's ISIL mission to begin again? And are we not doing anything in the interim while we prepare?
RT HON JUSTIN TRUDEAU: Okay. Very simply, normal computers work by…
... No, no, no. Don't interrupt me. When you walk out of here you will know more… Well, no, some of you will know far less about quantum computing but most of you... Normal computers work either there's power going through a wire or not. It's one or a zero. They're binary systems. What quantum states allow for is much more complex information to be encoded into a single bit. A regular computer bit is either a one or zero, on or off. A quantum state can be much more complex than that because, as we know, things can be both particle and wave at the same times and the uncertainly around quantum states allows us to encode more information into a much smaller computer. So that's what's exciting about quantum computing and that's where we're going.
Don't get me going on this or we'll be here all day, trust me. But on the ISIL mission, obviously Canada has made a commitment to the world that we are going to continue to be a strong part of the coalition and shift our actions to better support the needs that are there right now. That means more humanitarian support, more refugee support – and on that -- obviously Canadians have been stepping up from coast to coast to coast. But it also means more military support. And the best military support that we feel we can offer is actually more trainers, more people on the ground helping local Iraqi forces get the capacity and the strength needed to push back against ISIL and to degrade and defeat it. That's where Canada has developed a tremendous amount of expertise over the past years, particularly in Afghanistan in training local troops, and that is something that we are very much engaged in right now. We are increasing our… our… our contingent of trainers. We are increasing our intelligence-gathering efforts as well. We are being the strong and active partner that, quite frankly, Canadians expect of us and that our global partners expect of Canada. Merci.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: A quick follow. The Daniels decision is in now. Do you have any estimate of, A: how much it will cost, and how do you go about trying to implement something like that?
RT HON JUSTIN TRUDEAU: On… on the costing, we... we're just… we are busy digesting the implications of this landmark, obviously historic and important decision, but how we go about it is very simple. We understand that what this country needs is a true partnership with indigenous peoples. For too long we have functioned in… colonial ways not… not based on respect, on partnership, on truly working together to be stewards of this extraordinary land and to build for a stronger future. And what the Daniels decision really underlines is the need for federal engagement, responsibility in a collaborative, respectful, partnership way.
Which is why we worked so hard on renewing the relationship with indigenous peoples, highlighting a new relationship based on respect, collaboration, cooperation, at the same time as we've made historic investments in indigenous communities – $8.4 billion over the next five years on everything from infrastructure to water to education to economic opportunities. And there's much more to do, which certainly the Daniels case underlines, but the path forward from here on is together, not apart. Thank you.
CARLY THOMAS (CBC News): Good morning. Carly Thomas from CBC News. Just this morning the Supreme Court ruled that, against… again against mandatory minimum sentencing. I'm wondering what concrete steps you're going to take to undo the current Conservative agenda on this.
RT HON JUSTIN TRUDEAU: I just heard about the Supreme Court ruling, so obviously we'll take time to study it. But, as in all things, this government respects the Supreme Court rulings. The issue of mandatory minimums is one I actually highlighted in the mandate letter I gave to the Justice Minister which was made openly available at the time, and is still online somewhere I'm sure, where I asked her specifically to look into the question of mandatory minimums and ensure that they are both in keeping with our desire to keep Canadians safe, make sure that we are respecting people's rights, and in general moving forward in a way that respects the extraordinary judiciary that we have here in Canada. There are situations where mandatory minimums are relevant, you know, the Liberal party of the past in government brought in mandatory minimums around things… serious crimes like murder, but at the same time there is a general sense, reinforced by the Supreme Court decision today, that mandatory minimums brought in by the previous government in a number of cases went too far. So this is what we are reflecting on – I've asked the minister of justice to do that – and we will have more to say in the coming days and weeks.
THOMAS: Thank you. If you could answer in French as well please.
RT HON JUSTIN TRUDEAU: The issue of minimum sentences is one that has concerned us for a long time, and that’s why in the mandate letter I gave to the Justice Minister I … asked her to look into minimum sentences, to look at how they work, whether … they keep us safer, if the rights of Canadians are being respected, if we have to do more to respect the … the quality of our judges’ decisions. This is obviously something we’ll have to consider following the Supreme Court’s decision today. But we will have much more to say about minimum sentences in the … the coming weeks once the Minister has considered … we will have concrete things to say then. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Last question.
FRANK LYNNE (CTV): Good morning Prime Minister. Frank Lynne, CTV. There is a report that the RCMP is using an encryption key to read Blackberry messages. Is that your understanding? And are you confident the RCMP is only doing so under court orders?
RT HON JUSTIN TRUDEAU: This is an issue that obviously is of concern to many people. And when we think about the community we are in right now and the innovative advances in computing technology, in encryption, and in telecommunications here in Waterloo through RIM and elsewhere, this is an issue of concern to people. I got elected on a commitment to bring in proper oversight of our national security agencies and police agencies. Canada is the only one of our Five Eyes security allies that doesn't have oversight by parliamentarians of the actions taken by police and security agencies, and that's something we are moving forward just so that we can reassure people that we are both keeping them safe and protecting our rights and freedoms to the right balance and in the right way.
Thank you very much everyone. Thank you very much.