Justin Trudeau spoke to the Canadian Teachers Federation earlier this morning in Ottawa. For the record, here are the remarks prepared for the Prime Minister:
Thank you, Heather, for that kind introduction. I am always happy to have the chance to speak with teachers.
As you know, it was my own profession before I entered politics, and in many ways, a classroom is still where I feel most at home.
I have a habit of looking for the “teachable moments” wherever I go.
Just last week, for example, I was at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo when a reporter jokingly asked me to explain quantum computing, which is something they study there. Well, if you ask a teacher to explain a concept, it doesn’t really matter if you were asking in jest – you’re going to get to the explanation, right?
And I have to tell you, from one teacher to another – it really is easier to explain advanced physics to millions than it is to keep 20 kids on track after two days of indoor recess.
I’m really eager to get to hear your questions for me, so I don’t want to spend too much time talking, but I thought I should touch on a few of the things that our government has done to help teachers and students.
One of the first things we did was to take action to get rid of the previous government’s anti-union legislation. Bill C-4 will repeal two previous bills — C-377 and C-525 — that unfairly targeted unions.
Mes amis, le gouvernement que je dirige respecte les syndicats; il ne les attaque pas. Nous croyons qu’une approche équitable et équilibrée en matière de relations de travail bénéficie à tous les Canadiens. Je suis très fier des démarches législatives que nous avons déjà entreprises pour rétablir cet équilibre.
Nous croyons aussi qu’il est temps d’adopter une nouvelle approche pour les investissements dans l’éducation des Premières Nations. Tous les enfants et les jeunes qui vivent au Canada méritent d’avoir une chance réelle et égale de réussir. Cela commence par une éducation de qualité.
To help give First Nations students a quality education, our government will invest $2.6 billion, over five years, to improve primary and secondary education on reserve.
We’ll also invest nearly $970 million over the same period to repair, build and maintain new schools on reserve.
And because Indigenous students deserve the same opportunities for success as other young Canadians — including access to post-secondary education — we will work with students, parents, educators and Indigenous groups to explore how to best ensure that Indigenous students have the resources and supports they need to succeed.
Access to affordable post-secondary education is a concern for students and their families right across Canada. If you have kids in college or university, you understand this. And if you work with high school students, you know it, too.
Notre plan consiste à rendre l’éducation postsecondaire plus accessible et plus abordable pour les étudiants qui viennent de familles à faible et moyen revenu. Dans le cadre du Programme canadien de bourses aux étudiants, nous leur verserons jusqu’à 1 000$ de plus par année. Cette mesure aidera 360 000 étudiants chaque année.
Over the coming year, we’ll also be working with the provinces and territories to expand access to Canada Student Grants so that even more students will qualify for non-payable assistance.
And finally, because we all know that educators often pay out-of-pocket for supplies to help make classrooms exciting and well-equipped places to learn, we have created a teacher and early childhood educator school supply tax credit.
This credit will start in the 2016 tax year and apply to the purchase of up to $1,000 worth of school supplies, giving educators an annual tax credit of up to $150.
It’s a small recognition of your constant, quiet generosity, and a gesture of appreciation for the incredibly hard work that teachers and early childhood educators do every day.
I hope that gives you a sense of what we’ve been able to accomplish so far.
Nous sommes un nouveau gouvernement, mais aussi un jeune gouvernement. Je suis très heureux des progrès que nous avons pu faire au cours de nos cinq premiers mois.
Nous annulons une mesure législative qui cible injustement les syndicats.
Nous investissons dans les étudiants, y compris les enfants et les jeunes autochtones.
Et nous redonnons un peu à nos enseignants, qui donnent tellement.
These are things that our government takes seriously. Not just because it is led by a former teacher, but because these are the right things to do — for our children, for our communities, for our country.
On behalf of the government and all Canadians, thank you for all that you do. I look forward to your questions.