Prime Minister Trudeau and Taoiseach Varadkar of Ireland deliver joint remarks
HONOURABLE LEO VARADKAR (Taoiseach of Ireland): Well, first of all, thank you very much for being here and it’s a real pleasure on behalf of the Irish government and the Irish people to welcome Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Ireland. It’s the first visit of an international prime minister to Ireland since I was elected at Taoiseach, so you’re particularly welcome. And I know it’s not your first visit to Ireland, but you’re extremely welcome again and welcome to visit anytime and it does of course follow on from the visit of former Taoiseach Enda Kenny to Canada only a few months ago.
We had a very good meeting this morning, talking about the many similarities and common interests that exist between our two countries. We are of course countries that are very different. We’re in different parts of the world. Canada is very large and we’re very small, but we do have a lot of similarities. We have too... we each share a relationship with a very big neighbour, a neighbour that has to a certain extent decided to go in a different direction, at least for the time being. And we have lots of other shared interests and commonalities and I think between our two countries and between our two governments, we share a common outlook and we’re also very like-minded. Both countries and both governments are committed to multilateralism as the best means by which we can solve the world’s problems and work together in order to do so.
We’re both very committed to free trade as one of the best means to create good jobs for the middle class, for the working class, and also to make us all better off in the long run. We recommitted ourselves to implementing CETA and all of the benefits that flow from that provisional ratification as soon as possible so that we can increase trade between Europe and Canada.
We also spoke about climate action. Both countries, both Ireland and Canada, as you know, are committed to the Paris Accord. We agreed to work together in international forums to ensure that climate action is taken and that we work together to protect the plan for future generations through implementation of the Paris Accord and all that’s involved in it.
We spoke on a number of things as well, the importance of personal liberty, the benefits of migration, and our shared view that countries like ours do best if we’re open to the world. So we had a very good meeting this morning, a very good conversation. The Prime Minister has a long programme for the day.
Also had a brief conversation where he shared with me some advice. As you know, Prime Minister Trudeau’s 18 months in office, so I think I’m about 18 days in office, so he was able to give me some good advice on how to manage the new job.
So you’re very welcome. I’m very grateful for the visit and I hope that you enjoy the stay.
RIGHT HONOURABLE JUSTIN TRUDEAU (Prime Minister of Canada): Thank you, Taoiseach Varadkar. Good morning, everyone. I’d like to start by thanking the Taoiseach, his team and everyone here at Farmleigh for making us feel so welcome today. For our 150th birthday we wanted to come here to Ireland, the ancestral home of so many Irish immigrants who helped build Canada. So many times over my life visiting Ceilidhs or small impromptu kitchen parties I felt that famous Irish hospitality echoing down through the generations. And that’s certainly been felt by all of us here today.
The Taoiseach and I have just finished a positive meeting. As my counterpart has mentioned, we discussed a number of topics. We specifically had the opportunity to discuss the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement ratified between Canada and the European Union.
CETA will give Canadian and Irish businesses greater access to each other’s markets. It will deliver stronger economic growth, the kind of growth that benefits all citizens, not just the wealthiest. But most important, it will create more good, well-paying jobs for workers on both sides of the Atlantic. Like Ireland, Canada is very much looking forward to the agreement coming into force.
We also talked about the shared values that underscore our approach to trade and to just about everything else. Canadian and Irish citizens both want to leave to our children and grandchildren a better world than the one we inherited from our parents. A cleaner, more prosperous world, one where every person has a real and fair chance at success. And we share a common commitment to diversity. We know that it’s a source of strength, not weakness.
Canadians and Irish alike understand that it’s not enough to simply tolerate our neighbours. We need to embrace the things that make each of us unique, whether it’s our gender, the language we speak at home, where we worship or whom we love.
And of course we talked about the tremendous people-to-people connections that our two countries share. Irish Canadians helped to make Canada the country that it is today. Later today, I’m looking forward to visiting a memorial that marks one of the most significant moments in Canada’s history and in Ireland’s. I’m speaking of the Famine Memorial here in Dublin.
This extraordinary sculpture depicts the departure of Irish migrants in the mid-19th Century fleeing the famine and seeking a better life overseas. In Toronto, we have its sister memorial. It’s in Ireland Park, on the shores of Lake Ontario, showing the arrival of Irish refugees in Canada. Seamus O’Regan, who’s here with us today, hosted the dedication of Ireland Park when he was a journalist. Between May and October of 1847, more than 38,000 Irish famine migrants arrived in Toronto at a time when the city’s population was just 20,000 people.
The Irish presence had a profound impact on Canada at the time and it’s an influence that continues to be felt in just about every aspect of our lives in Canada. From the farms that grow our food to the highways and bridges that connect us, from the music and books we enjoy, to the sports we play.
And it works both ways. In March, I had the privilege to meet with 50 young people, members of the best hockey team in Dublin, the Flying Ducks. We met in Montréal where they were billeted with families taking part in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. They also took part in an exhibition game and even beat the local game, but there’s no need to dwell on it.
I mentioned those young hockey players because they’re good examples of the ways in which our two countries continue to expand and celebrate our very common... very special connection person-to-person, united in friendship. So I really thank Leo for the warm welcome you’ve given us, the great friendship that has existed between Canada and Ireland over decades and generations, and mostly, thank you for your great partnership as we move forward building an even stronger future for our citizens. Thank you.