Prime Minister Trudeau holds a media availability in Winnipeg
Good morning everyone. Thank you for being here today. It’s always great to be back in Winnipeg.
Before I go any further, I want to recognize the remarkable strength and courage of this community when faced with tragedy over the last week and a half. At vigils and memorials, people have come together to mourn friends, fellow Winnipeggers, and everyone we lost on flight 752. Yesterday, I met with families and friends who were here grieving. They told me about their loved ones, about trying to make sense of the senseless. There are no words for their pain, but they do not have to carry this grief alone. Across the country, Canadians are standing with them, shoulder to shoulder, united and strong.
The victims’ families, and all Canadians, deserve justice. We are working with our partners to support those affected by this tragedy, particularly by offering financial support to victims’ families and loved ones. As I said to the team, we will continue to demand answers and call for Canada’s full participation in the investigation.
Here in Winnipeg, we also had good discussions about Canadian efforts in response to a number of significant events worldwide. We also discussed work we are doing with our partners to advance international priorities.
This retreat has been a chance for us to talk about our priorities for the year ahead, and at the top of our list is continuing to build an economy where everyone from every region has a real and fair chance at success. Last spring, I met Holly and Michael, students at the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology just down the road from here. We talked about finding a good job and making ends meet, so things I know a lot of Canadians are thinking about. So, our first order of business as a re-elected government, to once again cut taxes for the middle class. When the House returns next week, we will also move forward immediately on ratifying the new NAFTA. On Monday, we will introduce a Ways and Means Motion, and on Wednesday we will table legislation to ratify the deal.
Passing the new NAFTA in parliament is our priority. Millions of Canadians depend on stable, reliable trade with our largest trading partners, from farmers in Alberta and auto workers in Windsor, to aluminum producers in Saguenay, and entrepreneurs in St. John’s or in Vancouver. And here’s what else we’re going to do when we’re back, we’ll help people out with the bills that keep going up. We’ll continue to reduce poverty by investing in our communities, and we’ll make sure Canadians can afford the prescriptions and see a family doctor. Later today, we’re going to have discussions about the needs and strengths of the prairies in particular, led by Jim Carr, along with Lloyd Axworthy, Jay Grewal from Manitoba Hydro, Chris Simair of Harvest Ventures, Gary Merasty with the North West Company, and Diane Gray of CenterPort Canada.
Over the last few weeks, we also discussed the most pressing issue facing our country and our world: climate change. Wildfires and floods are the new normal, but they shouldn't be, so we’re stepping up to the plate. Just take our pledge to reach net zero emissions by 2050, and to preserve more of Canada's land and oceans. We’re taking real action to protect our environment; we’re doing so in a way that grows the economy and makes life more affordable for the middle class. To the hard-working women and men in the natural resource sector, I know you are facing tough times. We hear you, and we’re going to keep working hard to get our resources to market.
This weekend, our team discussed the Transmountain Pipeline expansion project. On Sunday, we heard from Ian Anderson and William Downe with the Trans Mountain Corporation, who updated us about the status of the project and the thousands of good jobs it’s already creating across the country. Linda Coady also spoke about sustainability and the importance of engagement with indigenous communities. This project needs to be done right. That's why we will continue to engage with local communities and indigenous peoples as we move forward.
During this retreat, we also talked about keeping our communities safe. Too many lives have been lost to gun violence, and Canadians are calling for change. It's more than time to strengthen gun control in Canada. Our government is committed to banning military-style assault weapons that have no place on our streets. We will also ensure that municipalities and communities who want to ban handguns can do so, and we will make investments to fight gang-related violence in our cities.
Finally, this retreat gave us the opportunity to discuss reconciliation. Over the past four years, we have made significant progress in closing the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, but there is still a lot of work to do. In full collaboration with Indigenous peoples, we will continue on the path toward reconciliation.
Over the last four years, we made important progress, but we’re just getting started. As I told our team, moving forward means finding common ground, listening to people's concerns, and working together to build better a Canada for all Canadians. That's exactly what our government is ready to do.