Remarks for the annual Parliamentary Press Gallery Dinner
Hello, everyone. Hello, all.
I’m pleased to be joining you with my friend, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, tonight.
When I realized that I’d be missing this year’s Press Gallery Dinner, I wanted to make sure that I could still speak with all of you.
Because the work you do is incredibly important.
And because this is a scary time for journalists, and for democracies.
Right now, the media are under attack, and democracy is on the decline.
Journalists are being harassed, censored, threatened, and even killed.
Leaders are denigrating your work.
And people have less and less confidence in our democracies and our institutions.
The fourth estate is one of our most important democratic institutions.
We cannot let it be weakened—by cynical politicians or by large corporations who want to shirk their responsibility to pay their fair share.
Whether you are a foreign correspondent who helps us see through the fog of war or a local reporter who covers city hall, your work matters.
The stories and facts you report give people the information they need to make choices that affect them, deeply.
For democracy to work, we must all trust the same verified facts.
That is how people will be able to understand what is really happening and to have real debates on the best way forward.
This could not be truer or more important than at this moment in our history.
Ukraine—and Ukrainians—understand this better than anyone.
Tonight is an opportunity for us to express our gratitude for all those who are shedding a light on Putin’s brutal war:
The brave women and men who continue to put themselves at risk so we may know the true extent of Russia’s crimes.
Tonight, we salute you.
A free press is, unequivocally, essential to democracy. And vice versa.
You speak truth to power, and you give voice to the voiceless.
My friends, you make our democracy stronger.
And what a privilege it is for us to be able to live and work in a democracy.
All around the world, people are making enormous sacrifices for this privilege.
So, let us never take for granted the freedoms our democracy allows us to enjoy.
And let us continue to work together to defend and protect these freedoms.
I want to close by simply saying thank you.
Thank you for everything you do for our country, its people, and for the world.
And you know, we all talk often about fighting for democracy.
Well, I’d like now to turn it to someone who knows a thing or two about fighting for democracy.
PRESIDENT ZELENSKYY: Thank you so much, Justin.
I greet you all from Ukraine.
Thank you for standing with us, with Ukraine.
This is often the case, and especially often with journalists and correspondents.
When life challenges you to choose to become a hero, sometimes it is much easier to avoid choosing and stay somewhere in the grey zone between the good and evil just to pretend to be neutral.
But, everyone who does not avoid it, who defies the evil, who calls a spade a spade, can become a hero for more than just one day.
We live in times when our freedom depends on all of us. When the world should know the whole truth about every crime against freedom in one part of the world to keep their freedom everywhere else.
The evil now claims not just one country but values, our values.
It claims to destroy that.
And I thank you all for not tricking with the evil. Thank you for telling the truth about Russian war crimes.
Thank you for using your power—probably the highest power in the modern world—the power to decide what holds peoples’ attention and what people know.
Thank—thank you for using your power to give guidance for people and humanity.
Thank you. Thanks Canada and you, Justin, my friend, the friend of Ukraine, Prime Minister. Thank you. Slava Ukraini.
PRIME MINISTER TRUDEAU: Heroyam Slava.
PRESIDENT ZELENSKYY: Дякую (Dyakuyu)