Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers remarks on fatal van attack in Toronto
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE JUSTIN TRUDEAU (Prime Minister of Canada): The events that took place yesterday in Toronto were a senseless attack and a horrific tragedy. On behalf of all Canadians, I offer my deepest heartfelt condolences to the loved ones of all those who were killed, and we wish a full recovery to those injured, and stand with the families and friends of the victims.
I speak for every one of us in thanking the first responders at the scene. They handled this extremely difficult situation with professionalism and bravery. They faced danger without a moment of hesitation, and there’s no doubt that their courage saved lives and prevented further injuries. The entire community of Toronto has shown strength and determination in the face of this tragedy. All Canadians stand united with Toronto today.
And, finally, I will note the excellent collaboration between all orders of government and law enforcement in the handling of this situation. We are continuing to monitor it closely and work with our law enforcement partners around the country to ensure the safety and security of all Canadians.
The events that took place yesterday in Toronto were a senseless attack and a horrific tragedy. On behalf of all Canadians, I extend my sincerest condolences to the loved ones of those who were killed, and we wish a prompt recovery to those injured. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of all the victims.
I would like to thank the first responders who were able to manage this extremely difficult situation with bravery and professionalism. They faced danger without hesitation, and their efforts undoubtedly saved lives and prevented further injuries. The entire community of Toronto has shown strength and determination in the face of this tragedy. All Canadians stand united with Toronto today.
I would also like to applaud the excellent collaboration between the different levels of government and law enforcement in managing this situation. We are closely monitoring this situation and will continue to work with our law enforcement partners across the country to ensure the security of all Canadians.
QUESTION: (inaudible) Mr. Trudeau, there are a lot of Canadians today, families, loved ones, asking one question, and it’s: Why? Can you enlighten them on the motives or the reasons that might explain such an act on the part of the suspect?
RT HON. JUSTIN TRUDEAU: Obviously, the investigations are ongoing, but we already have… it’s clear there is no connection to national security as such. As for the motives, the motivations, it’s going to take a little time to understand what was in the attacker’s mind in this situation. But Canadians are asking themselves a lot of questions and, all of us together, we’re asking ourselves questions about this senseless attack.
Obviously all Canadians continue and will continue to have questions about why this happened -- what could possibly be the motives behind it? As was indicated last night by our public security minister, at this time we have no reason to suspect that there is any national security element to this attack, but obviously the investigations continue.
QUESTION: How can you reassure Canadians when this kind of action is basically almost impossible to prevent?
RT HON. JUSTIN TRUDEAU: Well, I think what we’re seeing today is a whole country that is taking a moment to reflect on how we can be there for one another. We’re thinking of Toronto and the families of the victims. We’re wanting to be there for our neighbours, for our communities. We’re reassured by the extraordinarily high calibre of those who serve us every day as first responders, and we are going to keep on doing everything we can as a level of government in terms of information and protection services to keep Canadians safe every day.
Obviously Canadians across the country are shocked and saddened by this senseless tragedy and attack. We can be comforted in seeing the extraordinary response of our first responders – folks who stepped up with courage and ability and ensured that in the face of such terrible tragedy and attacks we are pulling together and trying to find answers while keeping people safe. We have extraordinary folks across the country and our police services and our intelligence agencies who work hard every day to keep Canadians safe and they will continue to do just that.
QUESTION: Prime Minister, Julie Van Dusen, CBC. Is there any way to protect Canadians who are going about their daily lives when assailants are choosing soft targets more and more?
RT HON. JUSTIN TRUDEAU: Obviously we need to continue to reflect on the changing situations in which we’re in, but we -- and do everything we can to keep Canadians safe -- but we cannot as Canadians choose to live in fear every single day as we go about our daily business. We need to focus on doing what we can and we must to keep Canadians safe while we stay true to the freedoms and values that we all as Canadians hold dear.
Obviously, we are going to reflect on and look, in the wake of this incident, at what more we can do. What can we continue to do to keep Canadians and our communities safe? At the same time, we must not start living in fear and uncertainty each day when we’re walking through our cities and living our lives. We must remain a free and open country, comfortable with our values, and we’re going to keep on being just that.
QUESTION: Does this change your planning for... in terms of security for the G7 in Charlevoix in any way, considering it does not seem to be linked to terrorism? Obviously you have to keep world leaders safe. Does this have any bearing on your planning?
RT HON. JUSTIN TRUDEAU: The security for the G7 will be comprehensive. We will of course always reflect on what we can do better... what we need to do, but as we know, this hasn’t changed the overall threat level in Canada, and we will continue to make sure that both participants, residents, and all citizens are safe during the G7 and during any event of that kind.
MODERATOR: Last question.
QUESTION: Could you just repeat that in French before my last question.
RT HON. JUSTIN TRUDEAU: Of course, in terms of security at the G7 or at any other major event in Canada, we’re always going to reflect on everything we can do to ensure the safety of the participants, citizens, people around, but we’re going… we recognize that this event did not change the threat level in Canada, be we are still going to be open to thinking about what we can do better and learning from terrible tragedies like this one.
QUESTION: Michelle Lamarche, TVA Nouvelles. Mr. Trudeau, many this morning might have expected you yourself to be in Toronto, given the scope of the tragedy. How is it that you’re making this statement today from Ottawa?
RT HON. JUSTIN TRUDEAU: I think that all Canadians are in Toronto today in their thoughts, in their prayers, in their hearts. I spoke last night to the mayor and the premier, our security experts… our intelligence services are working closely with everyone on the ground, but we’re very aware that this continues to be an active investigation, and I intend to go there as soon as it makes sense for me to go. For the time being, I think we’re going to let people do their jobs without too much disruption. Which is always the case with a prime minister who arrives on the scene.
I spoke last night with the premier and the mayor. Our police services, our intelligence agencies are all working very, very hard; closely coordinating with the folks on the ground. I think all Canadians are with Toronto today in our hearts, in our prayers, in our thoughts. I will of course go to Toronto for this as soon as it makes sense to do so, but right now it’s very much an active, ongoing situation, and I wouldn’t want to distract or remove any personnel or any focus away from the important work that’s being done both for the victims and their families, and for the investigation.
Thank you very much everyone.