Metro Morning

Justin Trudeau on Metro Morning: Top 7 quotes from the interview

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discussed everything from Syrian refugees to work life balance with Metro Morning host Matt Galloway on Tuesday.

Prime Minister discusses refugee plan, U.S. politicians and distrust of polls

Matt Galloway sat down with Justin Trudeau in Ottawa to discuss the federal government's plan to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees, among other things. (CBC)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discussed everything from Syrian refugees to work-life balance with CBC Metro Morning host Matt Galloway on Tuesday.

Here are seven of the most memorable quotes from the interview:

1. "This is not just about welcoming 25,000 Syrian refugees, it's welcoming in 25,000 new Canadians."

Trudeau's plan to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees — which originally came with a New Year's Day deadline — was the main focus of the interview.

When pressed on why Trudeau backed off his firm commitment to get all the refugees here this year, the prime minister responded that it's to make sure the operation is "done absolutely right."

2. "I don't put a lot of stock into polls. If I'd paid too much attention to polls, I probably would've spent September golfing or canoeing instead of campaigning."

Citing polls that suggest some 60 per cent of Canadians are concerned about the government's refugee plan, Galloway asked Trudeau what he would say to those who are scared.

Trudeau, for the most part, brushed the question aside, suggesting more Canadians he speaks with are looking forward to welcoming the refugees.

As for security, Trudeau said he believes the government screening will be sufficient.

3. "The fears and politics of division that are being played in I think a very cynical way during a U.S. election year is disappointing."

Trudeau told Galloway that U.S. President Barack Obama was "effusive" in his praise for Canada's plan to resettle so many Syrian refugees.

4. "This is not about the government trying to do something. This is about Canada knowing that we have to, because we can, do something."

Trudeau spoke of Canada's responsibility after admitting he wasn't surprised some U.S. governors and presidential candidates were against allowing Syrians into the United States.

5. "'Right now there's a 10-year-old girl in a Syrian camp somewhere and she can aspire that in 30 years or 20 years she might be sitting around the cabinet table helping run an extraordinary country like Canada,'" said Trudeau, quoting another minister.

Galloway read a quote from Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who said recently that how Canadians "manage ourselves over the next several months will be defining for us as a nation."

Galloway then asked: What kind of story is going to unfold over the next few months?

Trudeau replied that the story of Maryam Monsef, MP for Peterborough-Kawartha who arrived in Canada as a refugee from Afghanistan 20 years ago and now sits at the cabinet table, could repeat itself.

He then quoted another minister who spoke after singling out Monsef during a recent meeting.

6. "I think this is the story of this country, that you get to come here and build a better future for yourself and for your neighbours than you could have anywhere else in the world."

Trudeau said this is just the beginning when it comes to welcoming refugees to the country. He said he hopes the "initial push" of welcoming refugees will indicate to the rest of the world that Canada is eager to help anyone looking for a better future.

7. "The pace. The limit of hours in the day. And the extent to which I need to be really ruthless about ensuring that I do have time with my family." 

This was Trudeau's response to what had surprised him most about being prime minister.


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