Prime Minister Trudeau delivers remarks at the Canada-ASEAN 40th Anniversary Commemorative Summit
Hello everyone. Thank you for being here. It’s an extraordinary pleasure to be back in the Philippines, and we just wrapped up a very productive visit here.
Our participation in ASEAN was of course a central part of this trip. This year’s summit marks not only 50 years of ASEAN but 40 years of dialogue between the organization and Canada. During our meetings we talked about deepening and strengthening our partnership to help people get ahead, with most of our discussions focusing on trade. Unprecedented dynamic growth is currently driving Asia’s importance on the world stage, which means new opportunities for Canada to do business with ASEAN nations. That said, renewed economic partnership must profit hardworking middle class folks, not just business leaders. This is something that featured quite prominently in all our discussions. We also talked about how we can use the ASEAN framework to tackle some of the most pressing challenges our world faces, namely those brought by a change in climate and facing new security threats.
Canada finds itself in a unique position to support and advance ASEAN’s progressive agenda as a dialogue partner of ASEAN. Over the past couple of days, I also expressed Canada’s desire to join in the East Asia Summit and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus at the earliest opportunity. For the past 40 years, the ASEAN-Canada dialogue has led to not only a strong partnership but a close friendship between all parties involved. I believe that membership to these bodies will help ensure our success for the next 40 years.
This trip to Manila was also an opportunity to strengthen the people-to-people ties between Canada and the Philippines. The Philippines is Canada’s largest source of immigrants. Indeed, Tagalog is spoken from coast to coast to coast. And in many ways our two countries continue to grow closer every day.
Many Canadian and Filipino entrepreneurs choose to grow their business in one country or another. I’ll give you the example of Jollibee, which I visited here in Manila, and which now operates in Canada. Some of you may remember that I stopped by the Jollibee in Winnipeg not that long ago. Closer ties between Filipinos and Canadians mean more opportunities for hardworking people to get ahead in an increasingly globalized world. This message was echoed when I met with inspiring Filipino women business leaders.
There are countless examples of Canadian and Filipino entrepreneurs who choose to grow their business in one country or the other. You see companies like Jollibee which I visited here in Manila expanding their operations in Canada. Some of you may remember that I stopped by a Jollibee in Winnipeg not too long ago.
Closer ties between Filipinos and Canadians mean more opportunities for hardworking people to get ahead in an increasingly globalized world. This is something that was echoed yesterday when I met with inspiring Filipino women business leaders. Another important part of our efforts to strengthen our relationship with the Philippines is development assistance. In times of need, Canadians are not only willing but ready to lend a hand to those who need it most. During my visit, I had the opportunity to visit Likhaan Centre for Women’s Health which aims to provide quality health services and family planning. The Likhaan Centre has been working in partnership with Inter Pares, a Canadian NGO, as part of their Innovations to Reduce Maternal Deaths project. With the support of the Inter Pares and the Canadian government, three new clinics in and around Manila have so far been set up as a result of the initiative. Clinics that provide invaluable support to mothers and their newborns. This is very much in line with Canada’s feminist international assistance policy as we expect the project is expected to benefit 16,000 women and 6,400 children in the region.
Additionally, I am pleased to announce that Canada will be investing $17.8 million over five years through the Sexual Health and Empowerment Project, which will be implemented by Oxfam. This funding will help improve access to sexual and reproductive health and rights services for more than 85,000 women and girls living in poor and remote regions in the country. Only with the full participation of all citizens can countries reach their full potentials. When we invest in women and girls, we help entire families, communities and societies succeed.