Over the last two months, I have had the opportunity to meet Canadians at town halls, as well as in coffee shops and bakeries. Nothing was scripted and anyone could ask a question. We talked for hours, and you asked me about everything: from pipelines, to the Phoenix pay system, to mental health issues, to the cost of prescription drugs. Because of you, these town halls were a tremendous success.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gestures during a town hall event in Belleville, Ont. on Jan. 12, 2017. (Photor: Cole Burston/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
I want to thank you for welcoming me into your neighbourhoods, your theatres, churches, campuses and arenas. I appreciate that you took the time to show up and ask difficult questions, and am grateful for your passion and honesty.
These town halls were unpredictable and, at times, the exchanges were intense. There were many laughs, smiles and kids fidgeting behind me, as there were some tears, protests and disagreements. We shared frank conversations and emotional moments. But everywhere I went, I heard directly from you: about what concerns you the most, what you think we're doing right and what you think we can do better.
On several occasions, we had to move a meeting's venue to a larger space because of overwhelming demand. I am heartened that many Canadians wanted to share their concerns and ask thoughtful, passionate questions. I learned about new issues and heard your concerns. Thanks to you, we're now taking a closer look at them.
I listened to recent university graduates who can't get a job because they don't have any work experience, and can't get any work experience because they don't have a job; I heard from parents who are having a hard time paying rent at the end of the month; and I talked to many Canadians like you who want the best for their families, their communities and our country.
Let's face it, many Canadians are anxious about what the future may hold: that globalization and technological change will leave them behind; that they won't have enough money to retire; and that their kids won't have the same opportunities as they had.
We won't always agree, but I promise to always listen to your ideas, thoughts and suggestions.
When people are worried about their future, they can turn inward and get fearful. They can start to distrust their governments. Meanwhile, slow economic growth and increasing inequality lead to further cynicism and, ultimately, anger.
We have recently seen this anger boil over in some parts of the world. To counter similar anxieties at home, our government has a responsibility to do more for Canadians who need it most, and to reassure Canadians that we're investing in their success and actively listening to them.
Canadians don't need leaders to tell them they have problems. They need leaders to help them build solutions together. That is why I will continue to meet with Canadians in their communities, hear first-hand about their concerns and work with them to develop solutions.
Whether speaking with members of Parliament, sitting down with a minister or across from a world leader, I will think back to these town halls and our conversations. I will remember what matters to you. And I will continue to carry our conversations into cabinet meetings and international conferences, and wherever else my role as prime minister takes me.
I look forward to continuing to meet with Canadians so we can all work together to strengthen the middle class and help those working hard to join it. Thank you again for welcoming me into your neighbourhoods and communities. We won't always agree, but I promise to always listen to your ideas, thoughts and suggestions. Please, keep them coming.
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