Remarks at the Cabinet retreat in Montréal
Good morning, everyone. It’s great to see you here in Montréal. It’s always a pleasure to be at home and to bring Cabinet together here in Montréal to discuss the challenges we face, the challenges Canadians are facing in 2024. I know that these are challenging times for a great many people, with the cost of living, rents and groceries, and with the challenges of the international economy. And that’s why we’re focused on the work we need to do to keep helping people. We’ve introduced a number of measures over the past year that have really helped, whether it’s bringing childcare costs down across the country, the Canada Child Benefit—which is making a real difference—or the help that’s on its way with dental care for vulnerable seniors. We’re here to keep investing and helping people.
We know Canadians are facing challenging times right now. People are squeezed between the costs of groceries, rents and all the challenges they’re facing. That’s why we’ve continued to step up in concrete ways to support Canadians, whether it’s the range of measures from bringing childcare fees down to investing in more money through the Climate Action Incentive, through the childcare, sorry the, Canada Child Benefit or the support we're bringing to families with greater dental care as it rolls out for seniors, right now. We were there to support people through these tough times with real programs and real work that’s delivering for them. We’ve announced in a couple of weeks we’ll hold a national summit on auto theft to go about one of the challenges that’s facing Canadians in far too many cities across the country.
But we’re also spending time this week leaning in on a number of big issues. We had a panel on the economy with a focus on how the middle class is doing and how we can make sure that people continue to see a strong and optimistic future for them, for their kids in this country, despite challenging geopolitical and global economic headwinds. That’s why hearing from economists, from experts, from a range of folks to look at what really and what more our government can work on to deliver for people in complex and challenging times. We also were invited back members of a panel on housing to look at what we’ve been able to do over the past six months. Tim Richter and Mike Moffatt and others were here. They were with us last summer when we launched our significant housing measures that we’ve been rolling out all fall. And this was an opportunity for us to hear directly from them on what more we can do to continue to tackle the housing challenge across the country.
A high standard of housing. We’ve taken some of the most ambitious actions in generations to counter the housing crisis in Canada. That’s why we were very pleased to welcome Mayor Valérie Plante, not only to talk about Montréal, but also to speak on behalf of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ big city caucus, to really see how the federal government can continue to be a good partner at all levels of government, particularly in advocating for the most vulnerable, fighting homelessness, and continuing to invest in a future for our cities and across our country—one where people can see a bright future.
We’ve also talked a lot about the American elections coming up. Canada-U.S. relations are fundamental for the prosperity well-being of Canadians. We know this is an important election year for the U.S. so we’ll be hearing shortly from a panel of experts on Canada-U.S. relations and making sure that we’re ready for whatever Canadians, whatever Americans decide in in this coming November.
I have asked our Minister of Trade and our Minister of Industry, Mary Ng and François-Philippe Champagne, to lead the Team Canada approach. Working with Ambassador Kirsten Hillman, who’s here today for the panel to pull together. As we did a number of years ago, a Team Canada approach, including businesses, entrepreneurs, organized labour, civil society groups, different orders of government to make sure that we’re ready to continue to benefit as Canadians from a strong relationship with the United States.
We know there’s always challenges whenever there’s an American election, but as we have before, we’re going to be ready to deal with whatever gets tossed at us and make sure we’re defending Canadians interests and opportunities in this strong relationship.
Today we’re going to discuss relations with the U.S. and look specifically at what we need to do for the elections this November in the United States. Our Ambassador Kirsten Hillman will introduce herself and lead a group of experts that will discuss the various challenges we could face. But today we’re announcing the creation of a working group with Minister François-Philippe Champagne and Minister Mary Ng, our ministers of Industry and International Trade, to oversee the Team Canada approach, which we used several years ago. The approach will ensure that business people, unions, experts, various civil society groups and Canadians are well represented at all levels of government, so that we have a consistent approach to working well with our U.S. partners, whatever their decisions may be this fall.
We know we’re in challenging times right now in the world and that’s why it’s so important that we have a government that continues to roll up its sleeves and take responsible, serious, steady decisions as we’re there to support Canadians now and to build a strong and prosperous future.