OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called on his Liberal caucus to meet the moment on Friday, as Canadians deal with the high cost of living, a struggling health-care system and the effects of climate change.
In a 12-minute speech to MPs, Trudeau laid out the minority government's priorities for the coming sitting of the House of Commons, which begins on Monday.
"The world is facing a moment. And as Liberals and as Canadians and as a country, we must meet it," Trudeau said.
Most of his speech was focused on the economy, with Trudeau positioning the growth of green technology as a legacy that will benefit future generations.
His Liberal government is expected to table "just transition" legislation this year that is aimed at growing a net-zero economy with clean energy projects across Canada, while also building in protections for workers within the sector.
The yet-to-be-tabled bill is part of the confidence-and-supply agreement the Liberals struck with the New Democrats last March, in which the NDP agreed to support the minority government in key votes until 2025.
While the two parties have been able to work together to create a dental-care program, Trudeau reminded his caucus to "be ready for anything."
"Stay close to your communities and keep bringing their voices to Parliament, and let's continue to be the voice for Canadians," Trudeau said.
"Let's continue to fight for families. Let's continue to fight for patients and health-care workers, and facts, science and truth."
Trudeau also took a swing at Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre, painting himself as the more sensible leader and saying their visions are very different.
"There are two leaders you have to choose between. Are we going to make sure we are working for a positive vision of the future, or do we incite people to anger without providing constructive and positive solutions?" Trudeau said in French.
"Mr. Poilievre has made his choice. He’s decided to say everything is broken without offering any concrete solutions. Yes, these are difficult times, but that’s why our Liberal team has decided to work even harder."
Government House leader Mark Holland said the Liberals will also spend this sitting looking at their gun-control bill while consulting with those who could be affected by the legislation.
"This is a very emotionally charged issue. We want to make sure that we get weapons that were involved in mass casualty events, weapons that are used to do mass killings off the streets," Holland said Friday.
"At the same time, we want to make sure that we don’t interfere with those that have hunting as a way of life and a passion."
Trudeau also said his government will continue to work toward reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, a key priority since they came into power in 2015, and one that has drawn criticism
He said he will continue to fight for Ukraine's freedom as well as Canada's and that he will amplify women's voices in Iran and support Afghan refugees.
Trudeau also brought up his coming meeting with the premiers, where they will discuss additional health-care funding.
He said improving the health-care system is a priority while ensuring universal public health care remains intact for Canadians.
"Let’s build a Canada where people thrive, and where future generations will directly benefit from us to have chosen to meet this moment."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2023.
Mickey Djuric, The Canadian Press