Prime Minister Trudeau and the President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, deliver joint remarks
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE JUSTIN TRUDEAU (Prime Minister of Canada): Good afternoon everyone. Thank you very much for being here. I’d like to start by offering a warm Canadian welcome to the President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet. A long-time friend of Canada, it’s an honour to host the Chilean delegation in Ottawa today.
I first met Michelle when I was just an opposition backbench MP in 2010 when she came to Canada as head of UN Women, and we of course found much to agree on back then, so it’s a tremendous pleasure to welcome her again here today and discover that, again, we have much to agree on today.
We just wrapped up an excellent meeting where we talked about issues that matter to both of our countries. Issues like gender equality, women’s empowerment, economic prosperity for the middle class, regional stability, and the environment.
And on this World Environment Day, we welcome the joint statement on climate change and protected areas as we celebrate 20 years of positive environmental engagement between Canada and Chile.
As we know, the Canadian and Chilean economies are closely linked. Canadian companies are the largest source of new foreign direct investment in Chile, and trade has more than tripled in the last two decades. Strengthening our economic ties will help create good, well-paying jobs for people in both countries. In support of progressive growth, our nations are in the process of modernizing the Canada-Chile free trade agreement, and I’m especially proud that, for the first time in Canadian history, we’ve included a brand new chapter in this FTA on gender. We have to give credit to Chile on this front who demonstrated true leadership by including a gender section in their recent FTA with Uruguay.
This new section on gender will promote inclusive economic growth and highlight the crucial role that gender-sensitive policies play in creating long-lasting sustainable benefits for communities. This Chapter also outlines areas of cooperation where Canada and Chile can improve conditions for women workers and business owners alike so they can fully benefit from economic opportunity.
This is a big moment for Canada and Chile, and for progressive trade around the world.
It must be said that this important development should not come as a surprise. After all, the President and I are on the same wavelength when it comes to … equality for women and girls. President Bachelet broke the glass ceiling in Chilean politics by becoming the first woman to be elected to the presidency.
And since then, she has had a great influence, including in her role as the Executive Director of UN Women. In addition to working to encourage the empowerment of women and girls, the President has long been a strong advocate for pension reform, high-quality education, and protection for Chilean workers. She has also worked tirelessly to decriminalize gay marriage and support women’s right to choose.
Canada is honoured to work with our Chilean partners to promote economic growth that works for everyone while championing policies that will lead to a better, fairer, more inclusive world. We have a working dinner later this evening that I’m very much looking forward to where we’ll further reflect on our shared priorities, and with that, I’m pleased to now turn it over to my friend, President Michelle Bachelet.
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE MICHELLE BACHELET (President of Chile): Thank you Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for this opportunity. First of all for the warm welcome and also for this opportunity to visit Canada, a so important, like-minded country and partner for Chile. And we had the opportunity to exchange views and how to jointly address present-day challenges and uncertainties, but also to confirm our commitments to values like democracy, human rights, gender equality, women’s empowerment, the importance of peace and security in the world, the importance of multilateralism, and also free trade among other things that we have discussed.
One of the things that the prime minister did not mention is that when we met, when I came to Canada in 2010 to the UN women’s activity, he was introduced to me, like, MP Justin Trudeau, a man with a brilliant future they said. So, it was very, very, I would say... they knew what they were talking about Prime Minister.
RT HON. JUSTIN TRUDEAU: Or they got lucky.
RT HON. MICHELLE BACHELET: Well, one of the things that we have discussed is also on the importance of ensuring women’s empowerment, women’s equal rights, as the rights of every person in the world, and also of course on the importance on women on peacekeeping operations and the impact that conflicts have on women and girls, and how women should be part of the resolution, but also in the aftermath, thus creating a long-term foundation for peace and security. And also both of our countries have been very committed to resolution 1325 adopted by the United Nations in the year 2000 that deals directly with this issue. And I just was mentioning to the prime minister that Chile was the first country in the region of Latin America to adopt an action plan for its implementation in 2009 during my first government. And during my second now we are in the second action plan which is focusing particularly on prevention, participation, protection, relief and recovery.
And we’re also, multilaterally, we are members of The Group of Friends of Resolution 1325 that is shared by Canada. Additionally, through the Colombian peace process, which Chile accompanied, we call for the participation of women at all stages, believing that the gender perspective is a necessary component of any successful negotiation. And so, a visible sign for commitment is also that a part of our troops there are women who are participating in the UN political mission in Colombia that oversees the implementation of the peace agreement.
Of course, we have talked also about the global challenges and of course on what to do in terms of different challenges that we’re dealing with. And Chile and Canada are responding by strengthening and updating our 20 year-old free trade agreement to ensure that it’s more inclusive, progressive, and beneficial for all our citizens. In other words, our ‘teenaged’ FTA will become a more responsive and responsible 20 year-old adult. We have improved the chapters on government procurement and investment, including provisions on corporate social responsibility, and negotiated new chapters on sanitary and phytosanitary measures and on technical barriers to trade.
In addition, we’re signing a new chapter on gender and trade, as the Prime Minister mentioned. And this not only recognizes the contribution of women to economic growth and sustainable development, but also calls for both countries to promote the economic empowerment of women through training, access to financing, and to leadership posts and their participation among other actions.
But that’s not all. Chile and Canada are strong supporters of the multilateral trading system and regional integration. Be it the WTO, APEC, OECD or the TPP, we have stood side-by-side defending progressive free trade and the importance of the Asia-Pacific as a new global centre for investment and trade. Canada has also been an active observer of the Pacific Alliance, the regional integration block, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. And in June 2016 signed with the Pacific Alliance an ambitious joint declaration on cooperation in areas such as environment, innovation and education. And recently the Pacific Alliance took a leap forward and created a new status, associate state, for those Asia-Pacific countries which want to enter into a high-standard, comprehensive trade agreement with the Pacific Alliance as a block. We will be pleased to welcome the minister of trade of Canada to the late June meeting between Pacific Alliance and observer states, an occasion where we will be all sharing this news with all 52 members. And of course, we are hoping that the Prime Minister could visit Chile before I go out of the office next year.
RT HON. JUSTIN TRUDEAU: Thank you.