Full text of Justin Trudeau's remarks ahead of refugees' arrival
'This matters, tonight matters, not just for Canada but for the world,' PM says
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau toured a special facility for processing refugees at Toronto's Pearson International Airport Thursday, before greeting 163 newcomers from Syria who arrived on a government-sponsored flight from Beirut.
Here are his English remarks from his address to staff and volunteers:
"First of all, thank you for being here. And thank you for the gorgeous smiles I see. This is a wonderful night where we get to show not just a planeload of new Canadians what Canada is all about, we get to show the world how to open our hearts and welcome in people who are fleeing extraordinarily difficult situations.
"But it's not just about receiving them tonight. It's about the hard work we're all going to do in the coming weeks, months and indeed years to ensure that everyone who passes through here tonight and in the weeks and months to come are able to build a life for themselves, for their family and also contribute fully to the continued growth of this extraordinary country."
(Remarks in French.)
"Tonight they step off the plane as refugees. But they walk out of this terminal as permanent residents of Canada, with social insurance numbers, with health cards, and with an opportunity to become full Canadians.
"This is something that we are able to do in this country because we define a Canadian not by a skin colour or a language or a religion or a background. But by a shared set of values, aspirations, hopes and dreams that not just Canadians but people around the world share. And how you will receive these people tonight will be something they will remember for the rest of their lives, but also I know something that you will remember for the rest of your lives. And I thank you deeply for being a part of this because this matters, tonight matters, not just for Canada but for the world.
"Merci beaucoup, mes amis."