VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – From how he aims to tackle Canada’s challenges in a tough economy to the legalization of marijuana, Canada’s prime minister had plenty to say in NEWS 1130’s exclusive in-studio interview.
Saying we have to view climate change as an opportunity, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is hoping to work toward a united strategy this week as he meets with the first ministers.
“We have to play our role in the global fight against climate change in meaningful ways. The way that’s done is by proper coordination and collaboration.”
Listen to the full interview with Trudeau:
As he meets with premiers from around the country in Vancouver this week, Trudeau says he will try to bring those leaders together, despite major rifts when it comes to things like pipelines and even a proposed carbon tax.
“The Alberta and Saskatchewan economy have been doing well over the past while when oil prices were high. Now that they’ve dropped, they’re facing a real shock, in terms of increased unemployment and challenges. And we’re there for each other, as a country.”
He says his leadership style may have led to a better relationship between the federal government and the provinces.
“I think the fact that we now have relations with the provinces is a good thing. We gathered together for a First Ministers conference back in December in Ottawa that showed a marked positive engagement, not where suddenly we all agree on everything and everything is tulips and roses, but very much that [we have] open lines of communication, we are now talking regularly when there are issues that come up where we don’t see eye to eye, we talk it through. We figure out if there’s a way we can find common ground and agreement.”
He also touched on the issue of legalizing pot, emphasizing that the laws haven’t changed yet. “Pot is still illegal in this country, and still will be until we bring in a strong regulatory framework to legalize, control, and make sure that we’re keeping it out of the hands of kids and make sure that we’re keeping it from generating tremendous profits for criminal organizations.”
Trudeau tells NEWS 1130 he doesn’t agree with the idea of a temporary period of decriminalization.
“I think decriminalization is a bad idea because it doesn’t do anything to make it more difficult for young people to access it and it doesn’t do anything in terms of keeping the black market and the criminal organizations from profiting from it. That’s why I believe in control and regulation that actually will do the protection of public safety and of minors that we need. In the meantime, it’s still illegal.”
On the subject of Canada taking in refugees, Trudeau admits there have been challenges.
“But for me, we’re staying focused on the fact that the goal over the long term — over the next five years, over the next 10 years, over the next generation — is that these people be as successful as they possibly can. Getting it right from the beginning is a really important part of that that we’re working on.”
“There’s more we can do here at home — we’ll be accepting more refugees. But there’s also a lot more we’ll be doing around engaging with the world in positive ways. We’re talking about 60 million displaced people around the world right now, and that number’s only going to start going up over the coming years. Canada has a level of expertise and ability to help, not just by taking in a few people ourselves… but by helping other communities and societies around the world better deal with an influx of displaced peoples.”
Relationship with the US
When asked about prioritizing dealing with issues within Canada as opposed to those on a more international level, Trudeau pointed to efforts in improving the country’s relationship with the United States.
“Making sure that we have smooth border relations; strong economic, cultural and social ties; and a good working relationship to deal with issues that come up, whether it’s softwood lumber or border access or investments… these are the things that lead directly to better jobs for Canadians, better outcomes, better growth for our businesses.”
In response to him being dubbed the “Anti-Trump,” Trudeau says he looks forward to working with whoever is elected president in the United States.
“I think there have been times when president and prime minister have been perhaps misaligned on an ideological or a political spectrum level, where we’ve been able to work very, very well together. We have to remember that ideology can’t drive our relationship. It has to be pragmatic, focused on the things where we do agree and make sure that we’re creating jobs and opportunities for Canadians. I will work with whoever gets elected.”
On a lighter final note, we asked Trudeau about the fact no Canadian NHL teams are poised to make the playoffs this year.
“Yes, my Habs are breaking my heart this year. It’s a challenge, but it’s one that I know we are going to collectively rise to turn around in the coming years.”