Prime Minister Trudeau delivers remarks during Global Progress Lunch at Mayflower Hotel
Thank you, Tom, for your kind introduction and mostly for your friendship.
We’ve been… we’ve been working together on this for many, many years but building a positive vision for the future between ourselves for decades now. And the fact that we’re now working so hard together and having an impact on so many people, is really a testament to, both your support of me and from time to time, my support of you. So it’s great to see it all come together.
I’d also like to thank Canada 2020, the Center for American Progress and Global Progress for hosting this event today. Together, you challenge leaders in business and politics and in our own communities to live up to the progressive ideals that have defined our two countries since their founding.
I appreciate the opportunity to talk about some of those ideals today.
But before I do that, I want to take a moment to reflect on the last few days. It’s been an incredibly important time for me, for Sophie, for our entire delegation. There are parts of this visit like this that are undeniably fun. Last night’s State Dinner was… was just wonderful. It was a coming together of friends who had much in common, much to celebrate, and not just at the head table but across… across and throughout the room.
But other parts of it feel a little more personal. The visit to Arlington this morning, to lay wreaths at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier was very powerful and moving. Equally moving was visiting the Canadian cross of sacrifice, a tribute to the many American citizens who died while serving in the Canadian Armed Forces during the First World War, the Second World War, and the Korean War.
U.S. and Canada both owe a great debt to the men and women who served their respective countries and, as we know, highlight yet again the interchange, the flow, the coordinated, cooperative engagement that we’ve had so many times on an individual and a collective basis over the years.
Of course we’ve had a very productive visit. We came here to get things done. And on that front, I think our time in Washington has been a tremendous success.
We committed to signing the historic Paris Agreement as soon as possible, have agreed to a number of shared steps that we’ll take to fight climate change. We will facilitate the movement of people and goods across our shared secured border by ratifying the pre-clearance agreement and extending pre-clearance services to new locations in Canada.
And we announced a new partnership to build a sustainable Arctic economy.
I am proud of the progress we’ve made on these files because they’re important to Canadians and I know they’re also important to Americans. As we look toward the future, we have the opportunity to leave our children and grandchildren a better world than the one we inherited from our parents.
But above all, we know that we have the responsibility to make real progress. This, of course, leads us to an obvious question. How will we do it? How will we get there? I’ve never claimed to have all the answers, but when Global Progress asked me for my views on this issue for their new publication, I was happy to have the chance to share my ideas.
I think there are four things that stand out in particular as essential to the future success of progressive politics in Canada and in the U.S. and beyond.
First, real progress demands an inclusive economic vision that gives all citizens a real and fair chance at success. It’s why we made a middle class tax cut a central part of our election platform and why it’s been our number-one priority since forming government.
Second, progressive leaders need to promise greater openness and transparency and they need to deliver on that promise. This might involve structural change like electoral reform. Or it might mean adopting a more consultative approach to governing. However they manifest, openness and transparency are no longer simply optional for progressive governments.
Third, progressive voices around the world must do more to encourage innovation, not as an end goal but as a means to extend the ladder of opportunity to more people. As I said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, technology is poised to deliver spectacular progress. But if we’re not careful, it could also deliver more unemployment and greater inequality. The outcome will be determined by the leadership we show and the choices we make.
And, fourth, no progressive movement can succeed if it doesn’t embrace the fundamental truth that diversity is strength. Canadians know this. We live this truth every day. And so do our American friends. The optimism and the generosity that we see in our communities on both sides of the border, that’s what we need to focus on.
You see, fear is easy. Friendship. Friendship takes work. But Canada and the United States have proven time and time again that finding common ground is worth the effort.
On our own, we make progress. But together, we make history. For my part, I’m optimistic about the work we’ve done here in Washington over the past few days. I’m optimistic that it will continue to pay dividends well into the future.
I think that’s enough “speechifying” for now. I know you have some questions for me and I'm looking forward to sitting down with Neera and hearing what it is that you all have to ask and share.
Thank you again for taking the time to be with me here today. Thank you very much.