Prime Minister Trudeau delivers remarks to the Senate of the Republic of Mexico in Mexico City
Good morning. Bonjour. Buenos dias.
What a tremendous honour to be here this morning. Thank you for welcoming me as a guest, as a partner, and as a friend. I know this has been a particularly difficult time for your country as you recover from, not one but two devastating earthquakes as well as a hurricane. Allow me to offer my condolences on behalf of all Canadians to the Mexican people. We stand by you and we support you.
And just as you were there for us as we battled raging forest fires we will be there for you as you work to recover. It’s not merely because we share the same continent -- we share so much more. Our bilateral ties are stronger than ever. Our economies are closely integrated. We stand together on the world stage and we have a shared vision of progress.
Indeed, if you were not our neighbour, you would still be our partner and friend, and that I think means more than geography ever could.
In times of uncertainty and unpredictability, we know that we will face challenges; but if we face them together, I know that we will succeed. The bond between Canada and Mexico, and more importantly between our people, grows stronger with each passing day. More than two million Canadians each year flee the cold to enjoy Mexican warmth, and no wonder. Your country has welcomed our citizens with open arms and unbeatable hospitality. And Mexicans visit Canada in the tens of thousands annually for travel, work, and education.
We recently lifted visa requirements for Mexican citizens, to show the rest of the world that Mexico and Canada are natural partners, and travel to Canada from Mexico has increased considerably as a result. Flights between our largest cities are being added regularly, and we are more connected than ever.
Our ministers have been meeting with yours on everything from agriculture and energy to transport and trade. And it’s not just our federal government. Our provincial partners are opening up offices in Mexico as they build and develop their own relationship with your country. And at the heart of these growing partnerships lays a fundamental truth. Our economies are closely integrated and that integration is more important now than ever.
The North American free trade zone is the biggest market in the world. Together we count for more than a quarter of the world’s GDP coming from just three countries. That’s pretty incredible. But let us focus on Canada and Mexico. Last year we did $40 billion in two-way trade. We’re hosts to some of each other’s largest companies including Scotia Bank and Magna here and Grupo Bimbo and Tenaris back home. We understand the importance of working together because when one of us succeeds, so too does the other.
But our efforts go much deeper than trade and business. Canada and Mexico have proudly stood shoulder-to-shoulder on the world stage facing down some of our generation’s most pressing challenges. The obvious example is climate change and Mexico is known around the world as a proud and progressive leader on this issue. Thank you for your leadership.
Our countries share a vision of a cleaner and more prosperous future for all. And we also know that an issue like climate change can’t be left to our kids and grandkids to solve. For too long politicians have been willing to kick the can down the road leaving the hard work for the next man or woman to deal with. But Canada and Mexico know very well that that approach won’t cut it anymore.
In recent years, we led the charge on the Paris Accord, on the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol through the Canada-Mexico working group on the environment, and together we have the opportunity to do even more for our planet and our citizens, with the modernization of NAFTA.
But our international efforts aren’t confined to climate change. Our countries have collaborated on many global issues including security and the protection of human rights. Both Canada and Mexico are part of the Lima Group, working with other countries in the region to address the ongoing crisis in Venezuela. Canada and Mexico cannot and will not stand by as Venezuelan democracy, human rights, and rule of law are so abhorrently violated. We will continue...
We will continue to work with our partners across Latin America towards restoration of democracy. Whether at the G20, APEC, the OECD, the United Nations or any other international body, our two countries are focused on building a safer and more prosperous world for everyone because that’s what it means to be part of a worldwide community.
However, in our increasingly globalized society we see people who are scared of being left behind. Isolationism is taking hold in too many corners of the world, but our people must not succumb to fear. We as leaders must not succumb to fear. Our challenge lies in ensuring that everyone benefits from economic growth and we do that by pursuing an ambitious progressive vision of what the future can and should look like.
As leaders we must stay squarely focused on the middle class and those working hard to join it. We know that the Mexican middle class is growing. In order to maintain that growth and offer families the support they need to prosper, workers here, in Canada, and around the world need to feel confident and secure in their jobs. We must ensure that workers are protected by progressive labour standards. They need to know that their governments and their employers have their backs.
Progressive labour standards are how we ensure that a modernized NAFTA will also not just bolster free and fair trade but will enjoy long-lasting popular support. The Canadian, Mexican, and American economies have benefitted greatly from trade over the past quarter century. But support for this growth agenda depends on the fruits of trade being fairly shared. So we must pursue trade agreements that are win, win, win, helping workers across North America achieve better standards, wages and working conditions.
We need to prioritize economic policies that help citizens every day, whether through tax cuts for the middle class or giving them more money to raise their children. This also means that all future trade agreements should be progressive. The agreement recently concluded between Canada and the European Union is a very good example.
And we must move the needle forward on gender equality. This is an idea that all nations of the world should get behind.
After all, we know that the success of any society depends on the full participation of women across social, economic, and political life because when women succeed, we all succeed.
(Cheers & applause)
This is why Canada is so appreciative of Mexico’s support for a gender chapter in the modernization of NAFTA. With the opportunity in front of us to update a decades-old agreement, this is a progressive step forward that we can’t afford not to take.
My friends, Canada and Mexico have been partners for many decades and we have seen many successes together, but we still have work to do, notably as it relates to human rights. As I told the UN a few weeks ago, in Canada we are dealing with an ongoing national tragedy related to missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. We must do better at home. And just yesterday I met with civil society leaders here in Mexico City and I heard stories about the treatment of women and girls that are unacceptable. Everywhere we look violence against women and girls is prevalent in all facets of life, from the studios of Hollywood, to the digital public squares, to our own halls of Parliament.
As a gender-balanced Senate, I challenge you to use your position of power to continue to strongly push for the rights of women and girls in Mexico and around the world.
We must draw inspiration from those eloquent words written behind me:
‘Entre los Individuos, como entre Las Naciones, El respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz.’
Among individuals, as among nations, respect for human rights is peace.
(End of translation)
We can reach that peace together. As a great example last year President Peña Nieto and I witnessed a historic signing of a memorandum of understanding while in Ottawa. Our countries committed to expanding cooperation on indigenous issues, namely how to improve the quality of life for indigenous communities in Canada and in Mexico.
Ladies and gentlemen, in the years ahead, in the many challenges we will face we must work together. A strong North America can only come from a strong Mexico, a strong Canada, and a strong United States. We are partners, all of us, and even in the face of unpredictability and change we must remember that.
By sharing and collaborating we can make real change happen for our growing middle class in a way that is both meaningful and lasting. As I said at the outset, the relationship between our two countries runs deeper than geography. I know it, you know it, and our people know it too.
May we forever be partners and friends for a better Canada, for a better Mexico, and for a better world. Viva Canada y viva México!