Apr 20, 2020
Justin Trudeau Speech Transcript on Nova Scotia Mass Shooting
Justin Trudeau: (00:15)
Good afternoon. Hello everyone. You are a country that stands united in our effort to defeat a pandemic, to save lives and to help each other make it to a better day. But yesterday, we were jolted from that common cause by the senseless violence and tragedy in Nova Scotia. A gunman claimed the lives of at least 18 people. Among them, a woman in uniform, whose job it is to protect lives, even if it endangers her own, constable Heidi Stevenson of the RCMP. Constable Stevenson died protecting others. She was answering the call of duty, something she had done every day when she went to work for 23 years. This happened in small towns. Portapeak, Turue, Millford, and Enfill are places where people have deep roots, places where people know their neighbors and look out for one another. There, everyone knows a Mountie because they’re everything from police officers to social workers to teen counselors. Now, these communities are in mourning and Canada is in mourning with them. For the grandparent who lost a child, the children who lost a parent, to the neighbor who lost a friend, we are so sorry for your loss. Such a tragedy should have never occurred. Violence of any kind has no place in Canada. We stand with you and we grieve with you, and you can count on our government’s full support during this incredibly painful time.
Justin Trudeau: (02:59)
[foreign language 00: 03:07]. I also want to wish a full and speedy recovery to all those injured, including another RCMP officer. Canada is a vast sweeping country filled with long stretches of lonely roads with unwavering courage and compassion, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police patrol these roads to keep us safe as They have for over 100 years. I know that from coast to coast to coast, the women and men who wear the red serge in service to Canada are grieving deeply the loss of one of their own, and one of our [inaudible 00:04:33]. This tragedy is a painful reminder of the risks all of our first responders take to keep us safe, of the sacrifices they make every single day to protect our communities.
Justin Trudeau: (04:48)
Paramedics, doctors, nurses, firefighters, and police officers. They’re always here for us. They’ve been stepping up through the pandemic and yesterday in Nova Scotia, they showed that bravery. I want to take a moment to thank them all for their professionalism and their courage. Many of you are already working overtime because of this pandemic. Our communities need you now more than ever, and I know that can weigh on you at times. These are exceptional circumstances, yet you did what you always do. You ran towards danger, without pause, without hesitation, you put your life on the line. On behalf of all Canadians, thank you for your service. [foreign language 00:05:47].
Justin Trudeau: (06:20)
This day is made all the more difficult because of the precious lives lost in the senseless act of one person. Just how could this happen? We may never know why, but we do know this. No one man’s action can build a wall between us and a better day. No matter how evil, how thoughtless or how destructive. Canadians are kind and generous. We are there for each other and we look out for one another. As families grieve the loss of a loved one, all Canadians are standing with you. The pandemic will prevent us from mourning together in person, but a [inaudible 00:07:07] will be held virtually to celebrate the lives of the victims at 7:00 PM on Friday through the Facebook group, Colchester Supporting Our Community. As we learn more about what happened yesterday, it’s important that we come together to support communities. In the hours since the tragedy. I’ve spoken with Premier McNeil, RCMP commissioner Lucky, Minister Blair and many Nova Scotians, including the Nova Scotia [inaudible 00:07:33]. We will continue to work together to see the truth. I know that people have a lot of questions. This is an ongoing investigation, but I can assure you that the RCMP and local authorities will keep you updated. I want to ask the media to avoid mentioning the name and showing the picture of the person involved. Do not give him the [inaudible 00:08:02]. Let us instead focus all our attention and attention on the lives we lost and the families and friends grieving. [foreign language 00:08:14].
Justin Trudeau: (09:00)
[French 00:00:04]. I want to close today by addressing all the kids from Nova Scotia and right across the country. I know the world can seem like a mean and ugly place right now. There’s a whole lot of good in the world too. You’ll see it in your neighbors and in Canadians in the days and weeks and months ahead. This is a difficult time and it can be a scary time too, but we’re here for you and we’re going to get through this together, I promise.
Speaker 4: (10:15)
Speaker 5: (10:18)
Thank you. Merci. First question, Laura Osmond, the Canadian Trust, line open.
Laura Osmond: (10:27)
Mr. Prime Minister, I wanted to ask you to join us leader Andrew Scheer today keeps you being practical in your negotiations about the number of in-person sittings in parliament. I was wondering if there’s any room for a compromise, two sittings per week for example, given that moving forward may be preferable to no deal at all?
Justin Trudeau: (10:50)
Look, I don’t want to get into arguments with anyone today. We are working together amongst all parties to try and figure out a way to both protect and uphold our democracy to ensure that there is proper accountability while at the same time doing that responsibly and I am hopeful that we’re going to be able to come to an appropriate arrangement.
Speaker 4: (11:11)
Laura Osmond: (11:11)
I was wondering if we could have an accounting of all of the ways that the opposition has been kept informed of the ongoing crisis and the government’s actions outside of the House to date.
Justin Trudeau: (11:26)
As I said, we have been engaged with all parties over the course of this pandemic. There have been many good ideas brought forward by business leaders, by community groups, by individual Canadians, but also by MPs from all parties who heard from citizens in their communities what’s needed to be done to help. This has been an unprecedented effort across government to try and make sure that we are giving Canadians the help they need to get through this difficult time and we will continue to do that.
Speaker 4: (11:55)
Speaker 5: (12:00)
Thank you. Merci. Next question, Kate [Inaudible 00:03:08]. Bloomberg. Line open.
Speaker 6: (12:06)
Hello, Mr prime minister. I have a question for you regarding navigating Canada through this crisis. Obviously, you’re leading this G7 country through this pandemic and you’ve also been personally impacted by this. So, I’m wondering how would you say that this pandemic has impacted your governing style as a leader and your perception of your role as our prime minister?
Justin Trudeau: (12:25)
I think one of the things that we’ve seen right across the country is how Canadians have pulled together through this difficult time, and that’s something that we’ve always done, make sure we’re there for each other when we encounter difficulties. And right across the country, whether it’s premiers, whether it’s municipal leaders, whether it’s community groups or individual Canadians, we’ve seen Canadians step up from each other. And the privilege of being able to serve Canadians [inaudible 00:13:00] quite something, and you see just how Canadians are resolute in their desire to support each other through this. Obviously, the capacity to work across all orders of government, work together as a country, is what is keeping us on a good path through this. There are too many tragedies to name going on as people lose loved ones right across the country, but at the same time we know that what we’re doing is helping prevent further tragedies and we’re going to continue to do that.
Speaker 4: (13:40)
Want to followup, Kate?
Speaker 6: (13:41)
And how would you describe your strategy? What has it been in terms of inside the PMO office to getting us through these tough times and how would you assess your own performance on that?
Justin Trudeau: (13:55)
Our focus every step of the way has been listening to the best advice of experts and scientists on what we need to do to keep Canadians safe in this and to ensure that everything we’re doing is giving Canadians the comfort and confidence that we’re all in this together and that we are going to be there for each other. I think that has been key to making sure that people are able to self isolate, are able to take the difficult measures necessary to get us to this pandemic, is to know that as a country, as systems, as governments, we’re there for each other and making sure that Canadians feel that support and know that we’re going to get through this together has been key in making us able to get through this together.
Speaker 4: (14:42)
Merci. [French 00:14:43].
Speaker 5: (14:42)
Thank you. Merci. [French 00:14:49].
Speaker 7: (14:42)
Justin Trudeau: (14:42)
Speaker 4: (14:42)
Speaker 7: (14:42)
Justin Trudeau: (14:42)
Speaker 4: (14:42)
Speaker 5: (17:59)
Thank you. Merci. [French 00:17:59]
Speaker 10: (17:59)
Speaker 8: (19:57)
Morning, Prime Minister. Tom [inaudible 00:20:02], CBC. You’ve promised a ban on assault-style weapons. Given what we know about the shooting in Nova Scotia, could that have prevented these crimes? If not, would you consider even tighter gun control measures?
Justin Trudeau: (20:15)
As we know, this is very much in ongoing investigation. It’s in its early stages in Nova Scotia right now, so I don’t want to jump to conclusions or make characterizations about what happened until we get a full accounting from the authorities. But in regards to gun control, we took very serious commitments in the election campaign and are moving forward on them to ensure that we’re strengthening gun control in this country.
Justin Trudeau: (20:43)
I can say that we were on the verge of introducing legislation to ban assault-style weapons across this country, interrupted when the pandemic caused parliament to be suspended, but we have every intention of moving forward on that measure and potentially other measures when the parliament returns.
Would you approve of relaxing some physical distancing and measures to allow the people in Nova Scotia to bury their loved ones properly?
Justin Trudeau: (21:19)
I think that’s a reflection that communities, that the province and that all of us are going to have to have. We understand how incredibly painful it is for families who’ve lost loved ones in Nova Scotia this past day to imagine that they’re not going to be able to see them off together as a community. But at the same time, there are thousands and thousands of Canadians across this country who’ve lost loved ones to COVID-19 over the past [inaudible 00:21:53]. Others who’ve lost family members to cancer and to other causes who haven’t been able to gather to mourn, to grieve, to attend funerals. This is something that we are dealing with right now that is heartbreak on top of other heartbreaks. I know everyone will be looking for ways to demonstrate their solidarity without putting further at risk communities, first responders our health professionals, and our seniors.
Bryan Mullen: (23:40)
Bryan Mullin, Global News. Prime Minister, was the Nova Scotia shooter on the federal government’s radar? Were any federal agencies watching him?
Justin Trudeau: (23:47)
There are many questions that people are asking about what happened and how it happened, and that investigation is ongoing. I can assure everyone that the RCMP will be sharing details as they can, as they choose in the coming days, and there will be many opportunities to talk more about these things once we have a clear idea of the facts.
Bryan Mullen: (24:13)
What did you think when you learned about the degree of planning and impersonation in this terrible crime? Does it concern you that someone could create such a good fake?
Justin Trudeau: (24:24)
As we learn more about this, we’ll have to ask ourselves many questions about how it happened and if and what we can do to keep communities safer in the future.
Justin Trudeau: (24:38)
My first thoughts when I heard of this tragedy yesterday and saw the numbers climb in terms of victims, my first thought was for Nova Scotians who for the most part know each other so much. They are such a connected group that I know that the vast majority of Nova Scotians will have a direct link with one or more of the many victims. The entire province and the entire country is grieving right now as we come to grips with something that is absolutely unimaginable.
Gavin Gallagher: (25:20)
Gavin Gallagher, [inaudible 00:25:21] National News. Prime Minister, you’re talking about the national tragedy in Nova Scotia and Canadians living under strict public health guidelines across the country. How appropriate is it for this ongoing battle over procedural matters to bring back parliament? Why can’t your government reach a deal on this?
Justin Trudeau: (25:39)
I’m very hopeful that over the course of the day, Canadians will see parliamentarians coming together to demonstrate that our democracy is strong, that our institutions need to function, including during difficult times, indeed because of the difficult times of going through, but that we can do so in a responsible way. As I’ve said, there is agreement amongst most of the parties in the House of Commons. I hope to see by the end of this day that we are all in a place where we can both have our parliamentary institutions functioning, but doing so in a responsible way, given the context we’re in.
Speaker 11: (26:36)
Justin Trudeau: (26:43)
Justin Trudeau: (27:00)
Speaker 12: (27:08)
As a follow-up, what responsibility does your government take for not having this deal in place?
Justin Trudeau: (27:16)
I think it’s all of our collective responsibility to do the best we can through this difficult situation. It is really important for me that we continue to uphold our democracy, our democratic principles, the principles of accountability, the ability to move forward with new legislation to help Canadians. That really matters, but it really matters that we do so responsibly. I’m pleased that we have agreement amongst most parties, and I’m hopeful that by the end of the day today we’ll have a clear path forward that will both defend our institutions and appreciate the context that we’re in right now.
Speaker 13: (27:56)
Justin Trudeau: (27:56)
Speaker 13: (27:56)
Justin Trudeau: (29:05)
Speaker 14: (29:05)
In English, please.
Justin Trudeau: (29:05)
Okay. I have every intention of participating in the vigils virtually that I know many, many Canadians will be wanting to express their solidarity with the families in Nova Scotia who are grieving, and I’m very much open to moving forward with our gun control legislation. I think there is always going to be questions about when is the right moment to do that. We are in the middle of a different crisis right now, but with Parliament returning in some fashion over the coming weeks, I think we will look at opportunities to do just that.
Speaker 15: (30:11)
Justin Trudeau: (30:14)
[French 00:30:14]. (silence)