Prime Minister Trudeau delivers remarks at the Laurent McCutcheon Award Ceremony in Montréal
Thank you, Laurent, for… honouring me with… associating yourself… your name which has been a name of… fighting for social justice that reaches well beyond the LGBT community. But really, it’s a… a great honour for me to be… to be recognized. Thank you, Claude, for… for this… for the work that you do with the Fondation … Émergence. Thanks to the Fondation for this recognition as well. I also want to congratulate Marguerite Blais and François Cormier, who are also being honoured this evening. You do extraordinary work to make Canada a more accepting and open country.
I also want to point out two good… two good friends of mine who are… who have joined us tonight. First, the local MP for Ville-Marie, Marc Miller, who is here, and my great friend who came from… from Newfoundland for this event, Seamus O’Regan, with his husband Steve Doss there. Pleasure to… to see you, friends.
But most especially, thanks to all of you for being here with us this evening. Thanks to the National Bank for demonstrating, once again, your… your support for social causes and for this community. This evening, I also have a special thought for my father, on whom the Fondation conferred this award in 2005. In fact, I am thinking of all those who have had the courage to combat homophobia over the years. Those who led the struggle for a more just Canada at a time very different from our own. Today, accepting difference is part of our fundamental values as Canadians. Values that are reflected in our laws, in the Charter of Freedoms, in our society and in our governments.
When I look at all the progress that we are highlighting this evening, I know that we are proudly carrying on the legacy of all the men and women who sacrificed themselves for this cause. Because, like them, we have understood that we have a responsibility to act, to be bold, to show courage and, above all, to be ambitious in our common quest for equality and justice. Because still today, despite all of the obstacles we have overcome, the battles we’ve fought and the victories we’ve celebrated, we are still witnesses—and for many, still victims—of injustice.
I am thinking for example of an incident that occurred here in Montreal recently on the Place Simon-Valois, where two men were attacked one Saturday night as they came out of a bar. That night, those two men were the victims of an act of hatred because of the love they were showing for one another. That is unacceptable. Loving each other is not a crime. Not in the eyes of the great majority of Canadians, nor in the eyes of our… our government, and above all, not in the eyes of the law. Unfortunately, the story of those two men is not an isolated case. This is still happening too frequently. Even in 2016. We’ve worked much too hard to stop here. Too hard to just be content with the progress that’s been made so far. Because I sincerely believe that in Canada we can and we must do more. Not just here, but to show the world that a free and open society is the greatest thing that together we can aspire to on this planet.
I believe in a Canada where men can give blood regardless of their sexual orientation, where transgender people are protected by the law. A Canada where all prime ministers and premiers are proud to march with the LGBT community in Pride parades. There’s still a lot of work to do, but tonight, I am proud to announce that we are going to take a big step forward for the LGBT community and for all Canadians who believe in equality. Tomorrow, on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, we will be tabling a bill in the House of Commons to ensure the full protection of the rights of transgender people.
I’ll take this opportunity as well to confirm that I will be taking part in Montreal’s Pride parade this summer.
It will be… this will be my umpteenth time as a Member of Parliament, but it will be my first as Prime Minister, so I am… I am very pleased.
I’m proud to announce that tomorrow, on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, we will be tabling a bill in the House of Commons to ensure the full protection of transgender people.
And I am proud to also announce that I will attend Montreal Pride this summer which is just a regular part of my summer schedule, but a very first for a Prime Minister.
Because we must continue to demand true equality. We must carry on the legacy of those who fought for justice by being bold and ambitious in our actions, and we must work diligently to close the gap between our principles and our reality.
Now is the time for action. Thank you once again for honouring me with this award. Thank you with all my heart.