Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaking at Vancouver Island Conference Centre in Nanaimo on Thursday afternoon. (NICHOLAS PESCOD/News Bulletin)

PM says cabinet retreat focused on issues close to home for Canadians

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a press conference Thursday to close a cabinet retreat in Nanaimo

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said cabinet meetings this week were centred around ways to support the middle class, create jobs and grow the economy.

Trudeau and his ministers held meetings Wednesday and Thursday at Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Conference Centre as part of a cabinet retreat.

On Thursday, following the end of the retreat, Trudeau held a brief press conference, where he touched on some of the discussions that took place during the two-day event. He said his focus over the last 72 hours has been on the Canadian middle class and not on external matters such as former Conservative MP Maxime Bernier, who announced today that he would be leaving his party and forming a new one.

“Over these past three days, I’ve remained focused with my team on how we’re going to continue to serve Canadians to support the middle class and people working hard to join it,” Trudeau said. “To create growth in our economy that is bring people together and allaying anxieties and fears that people may have about where their kids are going to get jobs and what kinds of jobs are they going to be and how they prepare for their own retirement. These are questions that Canadians are asking every day and our government is focused on giving answers to the questions that Canadians have and on demonstrating that we’re entirely focused on them.”

The prime minister, who was in Prince George earlier this morning meeting with firefighters, also touched on the wildfire situation in British Columbia, explaining that the federal government is working “closely” with the provincial government and that a new ad-hoc cabinet committee will address the “urgent” and “long-term” impacts of the wildfires.

Trudeau, who did not mention Nanaimo during the press conference, was asked a variety of questions, including a question about housing affordability. He said there’s a role for the federal government to be a “full and active partner” with provinces and municipalities.

“For the past 10 years or so, or more than 10 years, the federal government had removed itself entirely from the housing file in general, from affordable housing more specifically. We think that’s wrong,” Trudeau said.

He said billions of dollars are being invested in affordable housing, including housing for seniors.

“The fact that far too many middle class Canadians can’t afford to live in the cities that they work in is simply unacceptable in a country like Canada,” he said.

Trudeau reiterated some of the same comments made by other minsters over the last 48 hours regarding the Trans Mountain pipeline and the North American Free Trade Agreement. He also touched on the situation and ongoing diplomatic dispute with Saudi Arabia.

“I think it is important to have positive relationships with countries around the world,” he said. “At the same time we have expressed our concern …. for defending human rights and our shared values all around the world. Canada will continue to stand up strongly for human rights, minority rights and our shared universal values even as we look to have positive relations, constructive relations with countries around the world.”

The PM said yesterday that the meetings were going great, and said this morning that ministers were working for Canadians.

Earlier today, ministers talked about the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Burnaby regarding the Trans Mountain pipeline, and immigration policy. For an article, click here.

Yesterday there were protests outside the conference centre as a few different groups organized a rally against the federal government’s purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline. For an article and video, click here.

RELATED: Premier and prime minister talk about competing priorities

Just Posted

Surrey Mountie won’t face charges for scooter scuffle

The Surrey-based IIO has decided not to forward the case to Crown counsel for review

High-risk sex offender released into Surrey

Earon Wayne Giles, a Newton “tag-team rapist,” was released from prison Friday and is now living in Surrey

Pedestrian seriously injured in Surrey traffic crash

A 54-year-old man was hit by a car early Thursday evening while crossing Highway 10 at 152nd Street

VIDEO: Nature provides practice space for North Delta musician

Terry Lee has become a fixture over the years playing his cornet in and near the Delta Nature Reserve

UPDATE: Surrey RCMP say body found after fire at Whalley homeless camp

Police say the body was found inside a shed after firefighters extinguished a blaze

B.C.’s fight to regulate bitumen through pipelines to go to Canada’s top court

BC Appeal Court judges found B.C. cannot restrict bitumen flow along Trans Mountain pipeline

Burnaby facility to dispose of 1,500 tonnes of Canada’s trash from Philippines

All 103 containers will be disposed of properly within Canada before the end of the summer

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

Man wants guilty plea revoked in 2012 collision in Abbotsford that killed Chilliwack woman

Michael Larocque was charged in relation to crash that killed Eileen Kleinfelder

Vancouver woman sexually assaulted after man follows her home; suspect at large

Police are looking for an Asian man in his 40s after the incident on Vancouver’s east side.

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parents’ cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

UPDATE: Vancouver man dies after crash between motorcycle, transport truck

Police believe speed was a factor in Thursday collision

Trial slated to start Monday for accused killer of Abbotsford cop

Oscar Arfmann faces first-degree murder for death of Const. John Davidson

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

Most Read