Prime Minister Trudeau delivers the keynote address at a National Governors Association meeting


Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.
Vice-President Pence, Governors, friends, honoured guests: Good afternoon.
It is my sincere privilege to be here with you today, to talk about some of the values
we have in common, and some of the solutions to the challenges we all face.
Governor McAuliffe, thank you for your kind words of introduction, and your thoughtful
opening remarks. Governor Raimondo, thank you for your warm
welcome and this extraordinary Ocean State hospitality. It’s high summer here in Rhode
Island, land of perfect sun, sand and surf. I have to say I am a little bit flattered,
and also a little bit surprised, that so many of you in the audience have chosen to be here
now rather than at the beach. Maybe that’s on the agenda for this weekend.
Or maybe like me, you agree with Wallace Stevens that perhaps the truth depends
on a walk around the lake. Now, I have to tell you, Wallace Stevens is
my favourite American poet. By day, he worked in insurance up the road in Hartford, Connecticut,
and by night he wrote some of the most thoughtful poetry this country – and indeed, our world
– has ever seen. As I get to know this beautiful, historic
corner of America a little better – the neatly tended fields and low stone walls, the apple
orchards and spectacular ocean vistas – I’ve been thinking a lot about Wallace Stevens.
In his poem Theory, he declares, “I am what is around me.” And it makes me think of
the concept of home – what it means, and how we define it.
Of course, home begins with family. It extends out from there – to school and places of
worship, workplace, community, city, state and country.
But there’s an aspect of home that goes beyond our national borders – at least beyond
the Canada-U.S. border, which is unlike any other. That is the idea, and the reality,
of our common North American home. This is where Newfoundlanders took in thousands
of stranded American air travellers after 9/11 – as chronicled in the award-winning
Broadway musical, Come From Away, which you really should all see. It is where, 100 years
ago, New Englanders rushed to help their Nova Scotian cousins, after the Halifax
explosion of 1917. We saw it just a few weeks ago when the Plymouth-to-Newport
sailing race got hit with hurricane-force winds and Canadian Armed Forces personnel,
ships and planes went immediately into rescue mode.
That’s what friends and neighbours do for one another. We’re there for each other.
We step up. The Canada-U.S. border is sometimes referred
to as “the longest undefended border in the world.” That’s actually wrong: Our
shared border is very well defended. We defend it together, against common threats.
From NORAD, the only joint-command relationship in the world, to NATO, to counter-terrorism
and to basic street-level policing, Canadians and Americans work shoulder-to shoulder, keeping
each other safe. As long as any of us here can remember, and further back than that,
we have done this. And that is the context in which I’d like
to say a few words today about Canada’s outreach to the United States this year – which
has variously been described by analysts and pundits as un-Canadian; exceptionally Canadian;
unprecedented; highly predictable; and, perhaps most colourfully, a doughnut. And in that
one I suspect you governors are all the sprinkles. My friends, I’m here to tell you that our
continuing conversation with all of you is none of those things. Not at all. On the contrary,
it is consistent and solid, through-and-through. And I need to highlight the work of two individuals
here as being exemplary throughout this process: Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia
Freeland, and our Ambassador to the United States, David MacNaughton.
Thank you, both, for your terrific work. And we all know that Chrystia and David are not
alone in this. It extends to all levels of governance and
society. From my continuing, constructive dialogues with President Trump and Vice-President
Pence; to chats between federal ministers and cabinet secretaries; to meetings between
state governors and provincial premiers (including the Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne, who
is here with us today) to conversations between municipal leaders, to business and non-governmental
organizations, to the thousands of personal and business ties that form the bedrock of
our national bond. During my time in politics, I’ve noticed
this: Pundits – and I say this with the greatest of respect and affection to our friends in
the media – really seem to enjoy the word “strategy.”
If you have a plan it’s just a plan. Anyone can have a plan. But if you call it a strategy,
suddenly journalists are leafing through Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and making oblique
references to chess. It has the effect of making the obvious seem
complex or at least fancy. It makes for an interesting story.
But our strategy – our plan – is actually extremely straightforward.
Canada is a confident, creative, resourceful and resource-rich nation. We are a wealthy
and influential country, by world standards. But we are also a country of 35 million people,
living next door to one roughly ten times our size – and the world’s only superpower.
My father, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, once compared this to sleeping next to an
elephant. But while you, my American friends, may be
an elephant, Canada is no mouse. More like a moose – strong and peaceable, but still
massively outweighed. And so, we need to work harder to make our
points, to advocate for the interests of Canadian families in a way that will connect down here.
That applies across the range of our national interests – from the fight against climate
change, to job creation, to our common defence. Because, let’s face it, this is another
truth about good neighbours: Sometimes we take each other for granted. Sometimes the
very dependability and ease of a relationship can lead to us paying too little attention.
When that happens, the principals invariably live to regret it.
My friends, we in Canada decided we would not allow that to happen to our relationship
with the United States of America. And you will allow me to say that again for
the folks back at home, because it’s important. This is another truth about good neighbours:
Sometimes we take each other for granted. Sometimes the very dependability and ease
of a relationship can lead to us paying too little attention. When that happens, the principals
invariably live to regret it. My friends, we in Canada decided we would
not allow that to happen to our relationship with the United States of America.
When I talk about the importance of maintaining this relationship, I talk about it as a collective.
I say “we” because this sentiment extends throughout the cabinet and caucus I lead,
but it is actually bigger than our government or our political party. There is an extraordinarily
high degree of support for this across Canadian society.
I note, by the way, that we have representatives from two of our major political parties here
today: Members of Parliament Mike Lake, Brenda Shanahan and Salma Zahid, as well as Senators
Bob Runciman and Art Eggleton — hello and thank you all for being here.
As I was saying: the Canada-US relationship is far too important for us to assume that
Americans are as focused on it as we are. Focused on just how interlinked our economies
have become. And just how crucial this is to the prosperity and security on both sides
of this border – especially for the middle class, and those working hard to join it.
Given the imminent modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which we welcome
of course, we felt compelled to tell you Canada’s story, specifically as it relates to the United
States. It’s a great story. And not just for the
nine million American workers whose jobs depend directly on trade and investment with Canada.
But for all Americans. Now, some of you may have heard that last
number before – along with the fact that two thirds of American states have Canada
as their number one top export market. This may have something to do with the fact
that we’re repeating those numbers to U.S. audiences every chance we can get.
The export number is true, by the way, for a majority of the states represented here
today, including: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota,
Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South
Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
To boil this down to one point: Canada is the US’s biggest, best customer – by far.
We’re a bigger customer than China by roughly $152 billion. Bigger than Japan or the UK.
No one else even comes close. In fact, Canada buys more from the US than China, Japan, and
the UK combined! We have been consistent this year – some might
say, relentless, but we’re polite in our relentlessness because we’re Canadian – in
sharing that message, beginning in my regular dialogues with President Trump and fanning
out from there. Let me tell you why.
This is the most successful economic partnership in the history of the world. It’s worth
about a trillion dollars each year, and most importantly, it’s well balanced.
More broadly, the North American Free Trade zone is the biggest economic zone in the world,
comprising a $19-trillion regional market of 470 million customers.
The United States, Canada, and Mexico together now account for more than a quarter of the
world’s GDP. Since the trilateral agreement went into effect in 1994, US trade with your
NAFTA partners has tripled. That accounts for millions of well-paying
middle-class jobs for Canadians, and Americans. Free trade has worked. It is working now.
And those ties have grown well beyond direct trade.
Canadians pay more than $500-million annually in property tax, in Florida alone. And another
25,000 homes in Arizona are Canadian-owned. Something to do with the weather, I suspect.
But NAFTA isn’t perfect. No such agreement ever is. We think it should be updated and
modernized, as it has been a dozen times over the past quarter century. And I have every
expectation that it will be – to the ultimate benefit of working people in all three partner
countries. And I have to add this: We have been gratified
by the serious, respectful response that our outreach has met at all levels of American
government. We thank our counterparts in the Trump administration for that, and
we thank all of you. The relationship between our countries is
historic. It is a model to the world. It is of critical importance for people on both
sides of the border that we maintain, and indeed, improve it. We must get this right.
Sometimes getting it right means refusing to take the politically-tempting shortcuts.
More trade barriers, more local-content provisions, more preferential access for home-grown players
in government procurement, for example, does not help working families over the long term,
or even the mid-term. Such policies kill growth. And that hurts
the very workers these measures are nominally intended to protect. Once we travel down that
road, it can quickly become a cycle of tit-for-tat, a race to the bottom, where all sides lose.
My friends, Canada doesn’t want to go there. If anything, we’d like a thinner border
for trade, not a thicker one. Allow me once again to repeat that in French.
The relationship between our countries is historic. It is a model to the world. It is
of critical importance for people on both sides of the border that we maintain it, and
indeed, improve it. We must get this right. Sometimes getting it right means refusing
to take the politically-tempting shortcuts. More trade barriers, more local-content provisions,
more preferential access for home-grown players in government procurement, for example, does
not help working families over the long term, or even the mid-term.
Such policies kill growth. And that hurts the very workers these measures are nominally
intended to protect. Once we travel down that road, it can quickly become a cycle of tit-for-tat,
a race to the bottom, where all sides lose. Now, there are some really great arguments
to be made for keeping our border thin when it comes to trade, even as we improve cross-border
law enforcement that makes Canadians and Americans safer.
Our friends and partners in Michigan and Ohio know well the case of Magna International
– a global automotive parts supplier headquartered in Ontario.
Founded in 1957, Magna today employs nearly 140,000 workers in 29 countries. Half of those
workers are here in North America. Magna has 65 facilities in the United States, 60 in
Canada and 29 in Mexico. Here’s the point: Magna’s supply chain
spans the border. To a car part, the border is invisible. Canadian components are repeatedly
incorporated into more complex products before final assembly.
A hydroformed upper crossmember starts in Strathroy, Ontario. It’s imported into Michigan
for assembly into a carrier and then incorporated into a full front-end module in Ohio. Magna
then sends the front-end modules to Chrysler for final assembly. And Chrysler exports the
finished Jeeps right around the world. That’s teamwork, my friends.
Or take Canam Group, the parent company of Canam Steel. Canam is headquartered in Quebec.
It employs roughly equal numbers of Canadians and Americans. Its plants in Point of Rock,
Maryland and Claremont, New Hampshire provide jobs that are vital to their communities.
Canam’s market is the construction industry – which is a North American-wide industry,
by the way. There are, literally, too many examples of
this to name. Whether it’s CN in Louisiana, or Hydro Quebec
in Maine, or Cott Corporation in Missouri, or countless other enterprises and projects
across the States, Canadian energy, ingenuity and capital are there, helping you build America
– just as American energy, ingenuity and capital are in Canada, helping us build our country.
And this, ultimately, is why I have such confidence in our shared future. And in the best efforts
of every leader in this room, and in Washington, to nurture this relationship, to make it even
better: We really are all in this together. Ambassador MacNaughton remarked on the high
degree of co-operation and collegiality among the state governors he talked to , including
many of you. That pragmatic approach crosses party lines.
I know that’s because, as governors, you face common problems, and share many of the
same goals. I know that you’re focused on creating the conditions for good, well-paying
jobs for the middle class in your states. Whether Republican or Democrat, in this economy,
that’s most likely your very first priority. Guess what? It’s my first priority as well.
President Trump has told us all that it’s his first priority. We all have this in common.
This challenge – how to ensure benefits of commerce and trade are more broadly shared,
so that every family can look forward to a brighter future – is among the most
fundamental of our time. My friends, I believe to my core that the
most important challenge we face, as elected leaders, is that of creating lasting conditions
for prosperity and security for all our people – in this, our shared North American home.
By virtue of our geography, by virtue of our interlinked economies, this is work we are
called to do together – within a modernized, renewed and strengthened North American Free
Trade Agreement. So, I will leave you with this: Let us meet
this challenge. Let us keep talking, as neighbours and friends should. Let us roll up our sleeves.
Let’s get to work. And let’s keep making history, together.
Thank you very much everyone.




Comments
  1. Hi Sir Prime Minester Justen Iam starting to fowl you work this is Debbie or Deborah Leah Duggan .

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