tv Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau Remarks at U.N. General Assembly CSPAN September 22, 2017 4:01am-4:33am EDT
>> the assembly will hear a statement by his excellency justin trudeau, prime minister of canada. may i request protocol to escort his excellency. i have great pleasure in welcoming the prime minister of canada, his excellency justin trudeau, and i invite him to address the general assembly. pm trudeau: good afternoon, mr. president, fellow delegates, friends. before i begin, i would like to offer canada's condolences in the light of tuesday's earthquake in mexico to all families and friends in mourning. we wish a speedy recovery to all those who have been injured and thank all first responders for their tireless efforts to help keep people safe. our thoughts are also with our friends in the caribbean who
continue to suffer from devastating hurricanes. the generosity and resilience that millions have shown in the face of these natural disasters is an inspiration to the world, and canada stands ready to lend a helping hand whenever we before i begin, i would like to offer canada's condolences in can. it is an honor to be back here with you today and to have an opportunity to speak to this year's theme, focusing on people, striving for peace and a decent life for all on a ustainable planet. speaking french.
everywhere. that is what is important to canadians. throughout our history, we have worked long and hard to achieve our ambitions. at home and elsewhere in the world. today, i wish to speak to you about the difficult lessons that canada has learned along the way. canada is not a wonderland where the difficulties others face do not exist. we experience the same challenges you do. equity for everyone everywhere. that is what is important to canadians. throughout our history, we have worked long and hard to achieve our ambitions. canada is continually evolving. pm trudeau: a work in progress. so i want to tell you about the canadian experience, because for all the mistakes we've made, we remain hopeful. hopeful that we can do better and be better and treat each other with the dignity and respect that is the birthright of every human being. i want to tell you our story because i know that the challenges we have faced and continue to face are not unique in the world. and neither are the solutions. an approach that values human dignity, that emphasizes fairness and real opportunity for everyone has a home in canada and in every country. it's an approach that doesn't just serve domestic needs but makes the world a better, more peaceful, more prosperous place for all. this year in 2017, canada celebrates the 150th anniversary of our confederation, our 150th birthday, if you will. but canada is much older than that. but canada is much older than
it has been home to the descendents of settlers and immigrants for hundreds of years. and indigenous peoples for millennia. we are a country that is built on different cultures, different religions, different languages all coming together. that diversity has become our great strength. but that is not and has not always been true for everyone who shares our land. canada is built on the ancestral land of indigenous peoples, but regrettably it's also a country that came into being without the meaningful participation of those who were there first. and even where treaties were formed to provide a foundation for proper relations, they have ot been fully honored or implemented. for first nations and inuete peoples in canada, those early
colonial relationships were not strength through diversity or a elebration of differences. for indigenous peoples in canada, the experience was mostly one of humiliation, eglect, and abuse. translator: they were victims of a government which did not respect them, did not respect their traditions, their for indigenous peoples in attributes, their way of governing, their laws, and which chose to deny them and to undermine their rights and their dignity. they were victims of a government which sought to rewrite their unique history, to eradicate their languages and their cultures by imposing traditions and ways of colonial life.
they were victims of a government which refused to protect the lands and the waters recognized by the indigenous peoples and their principle of always thinking seven generations ahead. in short, we rejected the very idea that entire generations of ndigenous peoples could define their lives and live in dignity and pride. and we denied canada these significant contributions which these generations could have offered so we could build our great country together. the inability of successive canadian governments to respect the rights of indigenous peoples in canada is a great shame.
and for too many indigenous peoples, this lack of respect still persists today. pm trudeau: there are, today, children living on reserve in and for too many indigenous canada who cannot safely drink, bathe in, or even play in the water that comes out of their aps. there are indigenous parents in canada who say good night to their children and have to cross their fingers in the hopes that their kids won't run away or take their own lives in the night. young indigenous people in canada struggle to get a good education, and though residential schools are thankfully a thing of the past, too many indigenous youth are still sent far away, far from their families, just to get the basic education most canadians take for granted. and far, far too many indigenous women live in canada a life that includes threats of
violence so frequent and severe that amnesty international has called it a human rights crisis. that is the legacy of colonialism in canada. of a paternalistic indian act. of the forced relocation of inuit and first nations communities and a systematic denial of rights and history. f residential schools that separated children as young as 5 years old from their families, punished them for speaking their own language, and sought to extinguish indigenous cultures ntirely.
the good news is that canadians get it. they see the inequities. and they're fed up with the excuses. and that impatience gives us a rare and precious opportunity to act. we now have before us an opportunity to deliver true, meaningful, and lasting reconciliation between canada and first nations and inuit peoples. translator: at a time when we are seeking reconciliation, as our guide we will use the basic norms adopted in this hall ten years ago this month. i know that in the past, the attitude of canada with regard to the united nations declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples was disappointing. we actively campaigned and
voted against it and ultimately accepted it without great enthusiasm. we said that it was a document of dreams. but these are not dreams. the declaration is tangible for indigenous peoples and for those who worked so long and hard to make it a reality. pm trudeau: for the truth and reconciliation commission, the declaration provides the necessary principles, norms, and standards for reconciliation to flourish in 21st century canada. that's not an aspiration. that's a way forward. last year at the united nations permanent forum on indigenous issues, canada's then-minister of indigenous and northern that's not an aspiration. canada's position on the declaration and announced that affairs finally corrected
we are now without qualification a full supporter f the declaration. [applause] pm trudeau: in partnership with indigenous peoples, we're moving ahead with a thorough review of federal laws, policies, and operational practices to get our house in order. to make sure that our government is meeting its obligations, including international obligations under the declaration. we know that the world expects canada to strictly adhere to international human rights standards, including the u.n. declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples, and that's what we expect of ourselves too. we are working closely with indigenous peoples in canada to better respond to their priorities, to better understand how they see and
define self-determination, and to support their work of rebuilding. along with indigenous partners, we are co-developing programs to ensure that preservation, protection and revitalization of first nations languages. in short, we've been working hard in partnership with other orders of government and with indigenous leaders in canada to correct past injustices and to bring about a better quality of life for indigenous peoples in canada. i'll give you a few examples. many will sound familiar to you because they are closely aligned with the u.n.'s sustainable development goals. goals that apply to all of our countries without exception. our efforts include investments to help bring safe and clean
drinking water to all indigenous communities. part of the u.n.'s sustainable development goal number six, clean water and sanitation. so far, more than two dozen long-term drinking water advisories in indigenous communities have been eliminated and we have a plan to bring to an end those that emain. translator: these efforts have taken shape in the term of new investments to eliminate gaps in education in first nations communities. these new agreements recognize the power and the authority of the first nations. they also provide for the means to establish and to oversee educational systems, systems which will be headed in those communities by those communities and for those communities. hese important elements are in line with sustainable development goal four, quality education.
for many indigenous people in canada, this investment will help lay the foundation to achieve stg-8. decent work and economic growth. we know that no one can have a real and fair chance of succeeding without the following: good health, a sound community, well-paying jobs, quality education, and safe and ffordable housing. of course, this applies to the indigenous peoples as well. pm trudeau: -- include working with indigenous communities to help build and refurbish homes. construction work on nearly 4,000 homes has been completed or is underway, helping to ulfill sdg number 11, making
communities safe and communities safe and sustainable places to live. and across the country, we are also working on a national housing strategy to give more canadians access to housing that is safe, affordable, and adequate. our efforts also include a stronger focus in indigenous communities across canada and around the world on sdg number 5, combatting gender-based violence and giving women and girls equal opportunities to succeed. we need women and girls to succeed because that's how we grow stronger economies and build stronger communities. that is why our government will be moving forward shortly with legislation to ensure equal pay for work of equal value. pm trudeau: you see, the
sustainable development goals are as meaningful in canada as everywhere else in the world. we're committed to implementing them at home as we work with our international partners to achieve them around the world. this is important because poverty and hunger know no borders. we cannot pretend that these solvable challenges happen only on distant shores. the need for greater equality and decent work, those are real and and persistent human needs one cannot afford to ignore, especially in our own countries. translator: every one of us must do everything possible to ensure that everyone, including indigenous peoples, have the best opportunities. we have the responsibility to
ensure that no conditions are placed on true equality. equality is for everyone regardless of our gender, our origins, our beliefs, or the person we choose to love. and we have the responsibility to take better care of the nvironment which we all share, as i said at the signing eremony of the paris agreement, we are all concerned n every sense of the word. e are all responsible. and our new way of working must take account of this reality. pm trudeau: in canada, this means new relationships between the government of canada and indigenous peoples. relationships based on and our new way of working must take account of this reality. recognition of rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership.
recently, we made changes to our own government structures to help with the transition to these new relationships with indigenous peoples. we're dismantling the old colonial bureaucratic structures in creating a new department of crown indigenous relations and northern affairs led by dr. carolyn benbennett, an experienced advocate for ndigenous peoples in canada. in her new role, she will lead our government's efforts to better support indigenous peoples as they strengthen their distinct political, cultural, legal, and economic institutions and assume autonomy over their own affairs, including the recognition and implementation of self-government as an expression of self-determination. at the same time, we recognize that in canada, the federal government has a historic expression of responsibility for providing services to indigenous peoples
and an ongoing role to lay. to better do this work while at the same time supporting indigenous self-determination, e will create, in consultation with indigenous peoples, a new department of indigenous services led by our former minister of health, dr. jane filpot. over time, programs and services will be delivered by indigenous peoples as part of their move toward true self-government and the full implementation of the united nations declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples. translator: we believe that this separation is the best way for canada to respect its sdg obligations while pursuing self-determination, which is at the very heart of the declaration. we are in uncharted territory.
no one has paved the way for us. ut we cannot wait. the time has come for us to pave the way together. the time has come to get off he beaten path, to move away from old, outdated colonial structures and to establish new structures that will respect the inherent right of indigenous peoples to govern themselves and determine their future. pm trudeau: making changes to how we operate. the departmental changes are part of fulfilling that responsibility. for indigenous peoples, it means taking a hard look at how they governor and define themselves as nations and governments and how they seek to relate to other orders of government. indigenous peoples will decide
how they wish to represent and organize themselves. some may choose to engage with our government based on historic nations and treaties. others will use different shared experiences as the basis for coming together. the choice is theirs. that is precisely what self-determination demands. and though this path is uncharted, i am confident that we will reach a place of reconciliation. that we will reach a place, as a country, where nation to nation, government to government and inuit crown relationships can be transformed. a place where the standards enshrined in the u.n. declarations of the rights of indigenous peoples are fully realized, not merely by government mandate but in true partnership with indigenous
peoples. part of that new partnership will involve addressing the shared challenge of climate hange. indigenous and northern communities are particularly effected by its stark reality. in communities across the north, places like pal took and took a yook took, they're finding sea ice conditions more dangerous and unpredictable for traveling and hunting in the winter. in canada's western arctic, the permafrost is melting and huge pieces of tundra are falling in the ocean. and inuit elders are finding it difficult to forecast the weather like they used to. so difficult that many are now reluctant to try. at home, we're rushing to help
these communities adapt and repare for the future. at the international level, our commitment is unwavering. there is no country on the planet that can walk away from the challenge and reality of the challenge and reality of climate change. pm trudeau: and for our part, canada will continue to fight for the global plan that has a realistic chance of countering it. we have a responsibility to future generations and we will uphold it. we have a chance to build in we have a chance to build in
we have a chance to build in canada -- pm trudeau: we have a chance to canada -- pm trudeau: we have a chance to build in canada and around the world economies that are clean. that are growing, that are forward looking. we will not let that opportunity pass us by. opportunity pass us by. translator: in canada, this means imposing a tariff on carbon related pollution. when that is properly implemented, it is the best possible way of emissions by continuing to grow the economy. it also means working with other economies to bring us closer to the goals which we have set for ourselves. last week in montrã©al, we welcomed environment leaders from 30 countries, more than 30 countries, to participate in a working session. it was an opportunity to discuss various ways of ursuing the paris agreement in order to maintain the international momentum towards a more sustainable future for
all. pm trudeau: likewise, the global community has a esponsibility to do all that it can to reduce inequality within and among countries. in canada, we're working hard to achieve this goal. we improved child benefit payments. our new program gives nine out of 10 families more money to help with the high cost of raising their kids, and because of that we expect to reduce child poverty in canada by 40%. we raised taxes on the wealthiest 1% so that we could lower them for the middle class, and we're continuing to look for ways to make our tax system more fair. right now, we have a system hat encourages wealthy canadians to use private corporations to pay a lower tax rate than middle-class canadians. that is not fair and we're going to fix it. ranslator: we are investing to
make education more affordable and more accessible so that every canadian can receive the necessary training to find and keep a good, well paying job. this is particularly important t a time when automation challenges the traditional definition of the labor market. internationally, we have reaffirmed canada's commitment o reduce poverty and inequality and put gender pairty and the empowerment of inequality and put gender pairty and the empowerment of women and girls at the heart of our development efforts. we have adopted this approach because we know that supporting women and girls will lead to economic growth, and that then peace and cooperation will take root. families and communities can also then hope to have a better quality of life. pm trudeau: we're also working ard to deliver progressive
trade agreements, like the comprehensive economic and trade agreement with the european union, which comes into effect today. seta will expand opportunities for businesses, create well paying jobs for workers and deliver meaningful economic growth, the kind of growth that benefits all of our citizens, not just the wealthiest. we have the opportunity, and i would argue that we have the responsibility, to insure that trade agreements insure strong provisions to safeguard worker's writes, to protect the environment and ensure that the benefits of trade are felt more broadly. because when we do that, we don't just grow our economies, we live up to our values.
we say to ourselves and each other that good enough is just not good enough and that better s always possible. translator: and it is always possible to do better when people are at the heart of the decisions we take. people, as the theme of this general debate reminds us, are he key which will enable us to build a peaceful and prosperous future. it is a future we all hope for build a peaceful and prosperous for ourselves, for our children, for our grandchildren. it is a future which the indigenous people in canada and elsewhere in the world have the right to take part in as equal, full-fledged partners. and it is a future we can build if we work together.
pm trudeau: our efforts to build a better relationship with indigenous peoples in canada are not only about righting historic wrongs, they are about listening and learning and working together. they are about concrete actions or the future. the reconciliation we seek holds lessons for us all. we can't build strong relationships if we refuse to have conversations. we can't chart a more peaceful path if the starting point is suspicion and mistrust. and we can't build a better world unless we work together, respect our differences, protect the vulnerable, and stand up for the things that
matter most. as i said last year, i know it will be hard work. but i remain confident that any challenge can be met if we meet it together. merci beaucoups. >> translator: on behalf of the general assembly, i wish to thank his excellency justin trudeau for the statement he has just made and may i request protocol to escort his excellency.