by BJ Siekierski in Ottawa
Will the Liberal government hold a referendum on electoral reform? Is President Obama actually ok with Canada withdrawing its CF-18s from the ISIS mission? And what about Donald Trump?
On Wednesday afternoon at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Prime Minister Trudeau sat down with Maclean’s Paul Wells, Chatelaine’s Rachel Giese and Alec Castonguay from L’actualité for a town hall, answering questions from them and a number of Canadians on a wide range of subjects.
Below are some of the highlights.
On Obama and the ISIS mission
“I’ve had, as you know, three or four good conversations with President Obama. And I’ve made it very clear that our commitment was to withdraw the six CF-18s. He didn’t ask me to keep those in. Nor would I have kept them in if he asked me. But what he wanted to know, and I was able to reassure him, is that Canada is going to stay a substantive and substantial member of the coalition against ISIS, including military engagement — probably around training — but we’re working with our allies to ensure that we’re doing something useful.”
On why the Liberals chose to lower income taxes in the second $44,700 and $89,401 bracket, but not the first — for income below $45,000
“A lot of people who make less than $45,000, don’t pay any taxes at all. And we were looking for a tool to help the middle class specifically, because we know there are many, many tools to help — we always need more of them — to help families in distress, in real difficulty. We’ve neglected middle class families, but it’s the middle class that creates the most economic activity in the country.” (French)
On Donald Trump
“I think it’s extremely important that someone in my position doesn’t engage in the electoral processes of another country, so I’m certainly going to be very cautious about engaging in this particular topic, just because I think it’s going to be important for Canadians — for Canadian jobs — for Canadian prosperity, to be able to have a positive relationship with whoever Americans choose as their President.
However, I don’t think it comes as a surprise to anyone that I stand firmly against the politics of division, the politics of fear, the politics of intolerance, of hateful rhetoric … And if we allow politicians to succeed by scaring people, we don’t actually end up any safer. Fear doesn’t make us safer. It makes us weaker.
At this time, when there is reason to be concerned for our security in the world and here at home, we need remain focused on keeping our communities safe, keeping our communities united, instead of trying to build walls and scapegoating communities. I need to talk directly about the Muslim community. They are predominantly — they are the greatest victims of terrorist acts around the world at the present time. And painting ISIS and others with a broad brush that extends to all Muslims, is not just ignorant — it’s irresponsible.”
On holding an electoral reform referendum
“I think we need to engage with Canadians, and I know the question is leading towards: do we need a referendum on that? We’ve committed to consulting broadly, as many Canadians as possible, as many different communities and organizations — including political parties — as possible. And we’re going to move forward with that and we’ll see where it takes us. We’re going to do that in a responsible way.”
On the future of Canada Post
“What I plan on doing is doing something that should’ve been done a long time ago, which is actually speak with Canadians about what they expect from home mail delivery. As we see the world moving on towards greater use of e-mail and courier parcels and packages, there is some legitimate questions to be asked around the service that Canadians expect from Canada Post. What we’ve committed to doing is to do a serious examination of what kind of service they have.
Our commitment during the election campaign was to stop the transfer toward community mailboxes where it is, because there wasn’t adequate consultation … Canadians expect Canada Post to deliver a service, and that’s what we need to make sure that we’re doing. How that service gets delivered is exactly what the review and consultation process that we’re going to engage in will be focused on.”
Re-published in partnership with iPolitics.ca.