Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Sault Ste. Marie Thursday, where he helped mark the opening of PUC Services Sault Smart grid.
Here is a portion of the media’s Q&A session with the PM Thursday morning, at the PUC’s head offices in Sault Ste. Marie.
This community is still in mourning following last month’s devastating shootings. Four innocent lives claimed including three children. Police confirm the incidents were an act of Intimate Partner Violence. What is your government going to do to ensure that Intimate Partner Violence doesn’t claim any more innocent lives, not only here in the Sault but in every community across the country?
The tragedy that hit the community here a number of weeks ago was heart-breaking for everyone, not just here, but right across the country. We were all grieving for the community and for those beautiful children. We know that there is so much to do to counter Intimate Partner Violence. We have a gender-based violence strategy that we moved forward a number of years ago but there are so many different parts of this (issue).
There’s a need to step up in our support of mental health and wellness. That’s why part of our $200 million investment health care over the coming years, working with the provinces, is focused on better support for mental illness.
We know that keeping people safe involves making sure they’re safe from gun violence, which is why we’ve created red flag and yellow flag laws that makes it harder for people charged or convicted with Intimate Partner Violence to get their hands on firearms. That’s a big part of how we move forward in keeping communities safe. We know there’s more to do, around community supports, around interventions, around community policing, which is why we’re continuing to invest in the programs that are doing that. It’s an all of society, all of government approach that we have to have to make sure tragedies like this, no longer happen.”
You talk a lot about climate change and the economy going together. But recent reports suggest Canada is not even close to reaching its goals for greenhouse gas reductions. What will your government do to make any changes to make sure it reaches those reduction levels and how will it do that given the issues of inflation, shortage of skilled workers, mental health and addictions…
Where does greenhouse gas emissions actually fit on the pecking order?
“Fighting climate change is essential in the fight to build better communities, a strong economy and more affordability for Canadians. “We know how many billions of dollars extreme weather events, floods,
wildfires and heatwaves end up costing communities and our country. We know that fighting climate change and creating climate facility and infrastructure is essential to building the future. That’s why eight years ago, from a standing start, because the previous conservative government had done nothing in the fight against climate change, we put in place the most ambitious plan and actions to fight climate change than any Canadian government has ever seen. We’ve done it at the same time as conservative
provincial premiers have been pulling back on the fight against climate change. That’s why it’s so hard in Canada. That’s why we’re going to continue to do these hard things because it’s about the future we have.”
Just over the past two years, Canada has bent the curve on emissions faster than any other of the large economies of the G-7. We are on track for drawing in investments that create those good jobs. Talk to the people in St. Thomas, Ontario, about the impact that the 3,000 direct jobs and 30,000 indirect jobs that Volkswagen is going to bring in a battery plant that they’re building, that’s going to draw on not just Canadian electricity, but Canadian resources, Canadian supply chains, Canadian workers, Canadian expertise. The world is changing. That’s not a question anymore. The question is, do we have the right plan to respond to these changes. Everything we’ve shown over the past years is showing that increasing ambition, as we step up. Don’t let anyone tell you that the focus on affordability means we have to step back on climate change, because that means, you’re going to be paying way more in the coming years to cleanup for the inaction we have now. That’s my biggest disagreement with conservative politicians these days.
Since Oct. 7 incidents of hate are rising in Canada. How concerned are you about the rising threat and what more Canada your government do to ease the tension?
“I think we all need to be extremely concerned about the rise of tensions, the rise of threats of violence and the rise in actual acts of violence and the rise in hatred. I think one of the most important things for all of us to do is to remember who we are as Canadians. When the Quebec City mosque shooting happened, members of the Jewish community stepped up in support of the local mosque here in the
Sault. When there were terrible incidents of anti-semitism in Canada and the United States over the past years the Muslim community showed up at the synagogue here in the Sault. Canadians stand up for each other. We hear each other’s pain and grief and support each other.
Yes, what’s happening in the Middle East right now is causing a lot of devastating emotions. What we need to do as Canadians is remember who we are as Canadians as we lean on each other, as we go out and visit our friends in the Jewish community. Stand with our friends in the Muslim community. Participate in calls for peace, for a significant humanitarian pause for getting hostages out, for getting Canadian citizens out of Gaza. Flowing in humanitarian aid and coming together as a community. Not because we’re all going to agree in every way on the next steps going forward but because we can all agree that we need to be there for each other, and we don’t wish ill on any of our neighbours in this country, regardless of what’s happening around the world.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the US wants to see Canada move its investigation forward in the case of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, and that India needs to help make it happen. Has there been any progress and if not should the US be taking a sterner tone on Canada’s behalf?
From the very beginning when we learned of credible allegations that agents of the Indian government were involved in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil, we reached out to India to help us get to the bottom of this matter. We also reached out to our friends and allies, like the United States and others to work on this really serious violation of International law and of sovereignty of democracy. This something we’re taking very, very seriously.
We will continue to work with all partners as law enforcement and investigative agencies continue to do their work. Canada is a country that will always stand up for the rule of law because if might starts to make right again, bigger countries can violate international law without consequences, then the whole world gets more dangerous for everyone.”