Thank you very much. Bonjour tout le monde, merci beaucoup. Thank you so much, thank you for that warm welcome.Friends, what a pleasure it is to be back in Toronto and here with each of you.And it is fitting that we gather here on this particular day at the Armenian Heritage Centre. Because today is the 101st anniversary of the first Republic of Armenia and at a time when the ancient Armenian people were threatened by Soviet Communist Revolutionaries on one side, and Ottoman genocidal persecution on the other, this independence became a symbol that Armenians around the world celebrate to this day.It is this very same spirit of freedom that Canada has always stood for.So, we congratulate and join Armenians in Canada and around the world to celebrate this very special occasion.Toronto is by any measure a growing, global metropolis.And every time I am back in the GTA, I am struck by how fortunate we are as Canadians to welcome people who have chosen Toronto and Canada as their home.That is indeed one of the best parts of my job, and the job to which I aspire.I get to meet almost daily with inspiring and industrious people who have made brave decisions to leave their loved ones and their homelands to start a new life in a new country.They have chosen Canada.And almost to a person, newcomers to Canada and those who have come in previous generations are united by the same dreams we all share.They want a shot at full freedom and dignity…opportunity and prosperity.They want to make life better for themselves and their families. Point le plus important, ils veulent faire une différence positive dans leurs communautés, et aider à faire du Canada un endroit encore meilleur. C’est l’histoire de l’immigration au Canada… et, fondamentalement, l’histoire du Canada lui-même.

A proud history

I believe Canada is the greatest country on earth. But this is no accident. Nor was Canada’s greatness automatically assured. It took work…hardship…sacrifice…faith…risk-taking… and the entrepreneurial spirit. If we want to understand what Canada is and what it can be, we need to understand where we have come from… From the very first Indigenous peoples – to each wave of new arrivals that have come to Canada–to hopeful newcomers that are arriving even today at Pearson and other ports of entry – all are part of that shared story. And we are all part of a grand tale still being written. A success story of different people-humanity in all its diversity – each adding its own chapter. One country – the true North, strong and free. Now together, we have built Canada into greatness, despite great odds. Just think of the hardship and suffering faced by the original First Nations, or the earliest European settlers to arrive. Yet each successive wave of new arrivals not only survived. They thrived. Canada’s first Indigenous peoples who established a foothold on the land and built a lasting way of life out of harsh natural environments. Les premiers Français qui ont fondé les colonies qui sont devenues des centres florissants comme Québec et Montréal. Et les loyalistes de l’Empire uni qui ont fui l’oppression aux États-Unis et qui ont aidé à bâtir les provinces qui formeraient notre Confédération. En fait, le Canada a toujours été un phare et un refuge dans le monde. Qu’il s’agisse des Afro-Américains fuyant l’esclavage par le chemin de fer clandestin; …for Poles, Jews, Hungarians, Czechs and Ukrainians fleeing totalitarian, Communist regimes in Eastern Europe; …or for Chinese, Tibetans, Vietnamese fleeing Communism, poverty, persecution and war. Each of these groups of new arrivals saw in Canada the chance to realize their hopes and dreams. They have helped grow this country – literally and figuratively. As have more recent arrivals. Iranians fleeing theocratic despots. Copts were persecuted for their belief in Jesus Christ. Muslims are afflicted by oppression and civil war. Gays and lesbians escape literal extermination simply for being who they are. And it’s all because Canada is built on a rock-solid foundation of enduring values, democratic institutions, the rule of law, and fundamental and universal human rights. We absolutely must protect these values – because they are what set us apart. They allow Canada to offer what so many other countries simply can not: The freedom to preserve and pass on their cultural traditions and the opportunity to live in peace with those around them. And the economic freedom that so many governments around the world deny their people. And that economic freedom that ensures that hard work pays off, that gives people the ability to work towards their dreams and choose their own path in life. But with each passing day, Justin Trudeau and the Liberals undermine this proud legacy. In four years, they have not only undone progress the previous Conservative government made to strengthen our immigration system, to speed up processing, and to eliminate backlogs… They have managed to undermine the long-standing consensus that immigration is indeed a positive thing for this country.

Canadians losing confidence

Sadly, under Justin Trudeau, a record-high number of Canadians believe that immigration should be reduced.Worse, Canadians have lost faith in the fairness of our system.They now question the integrity of our borders.And they’re less confident about newcomers’ ability to integrate fully and contribute to our shared prosperity.Now Canadians rightly expect that our immigration programs will lead to new arrivals being fully integrated into Canadian society and Canada’s economy.But if that system begins to break down, as it has under Justin Trudeau, public support breaks down as well.The numbers are almost hard to believe.Depuis 2017, plus de Quarante-trois mille personnes sont entrées illégalement au Canada en provenance des États-Unis – qui est toujours l’un des pays les plus libres, les plus sécuritaires et les plus prospères du monde.Ça coûte plus d’un milliard de dollars aux contribuables – et ce chiffre ne cesse d’augmenter.Among the people I hear from most often on this point are new Canadians themselves. People who have played by the rules and arrived in Canada fair and square.They are the most offended at Trudeau’s status-quo, where some are able to jump queues, exploit loopholes, and skip the line.And like you, Conservatives have questioned the current government’s ability to preserve the integrity of our immigration system.Now Justin Trudeau and his ministers responded how they always do when confronted with criticism – with more rhetoric and personal attacks.In fact, even before I started speaking here the Liberals already put out a statement on what I was going to say without having even heard it.That’s what we can expect from this party in the lead up to the next election.Now I think we can all agree that we should be able to have an immigration debate in this country without the government calling the people who criticize their failures racists and bigots.This government’s approach is dangerous for two reasons.First, it reduces legitimate criticism to cheap partisanship and makes it easier for the government to ignore the very real problems in the system.And number two, and more importantly, it debases and devalues the threats that are still, unfortunately, all too real in our society.Racism is real. Bigotry is real. Extremism is real.And to ascribe those motives to those who simply want stronger security screening procedures or fewer people entering the country illegally makes a mockery of such hateful forces.

No place for extremism

Now, before I move on to what a new Conservative government will do to renew faith in our immigration system, I’d like to make something absolutely crystal clear.What I’m about to say, I have said many times before.There is absolutely no room in a peaceful and free country like Canada for intolerance, racism, and extremism of any kind.And the Conservative Party of Canada will always make that absolutely clear.This goes to one of my most deeply held personal convictions.I believe that we are all children of God.And therefore, there can be no inferiority amongst human beings.And that equal and infinite value exists in each and every one of us.And I find the notion that one’s race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation would make anyone in any way superior or inferior to anybody else absolutely repugnant.And if there’s anyone who disagrees with that, there’s the door.You are not welcome here.Over the last several months, Canada’s Conservatives have consulted Canadians and stakeholders from all over the country as part of our Pathway to Canada tour.And I want to thank our Immigration Shadow Minister Michelle Rempel for all her work on these consultations.These consultations have concluded, and what we heard from Canadians and newcomers was clear:They want the immigration system to be managed competently.They want to know that every measure is being taken to ensure their safety.But most of all, they want Canada to remain a safe and welcoming place for the world’s most vulnerable.Nous entendons des préoccupations sur l’échec à assurer que les normes de traitement sont respectées pour les immigrants qui veulent venir au Canada de manière légale,Sur les services d’intégration inadéquats pour les nouveaux arrivants,About backlogs and delays in the system for legitimate refugees and asylum seekers fleeing violence and persecution;and about ballooning costs to manage the ongoing situation at Canada’s border with the United States;As Prime Minister, my government will restore fairness, order, and compassion to the immigration system – so allow me to expand on that for a couple of minutes.

Fair, orderly, and compassionate

Because this is personal to me.My mother, who passed away just a couple of years ago, was deeply committed to helping the vulnerable. She instilled in us and our family an enduring appreciation for how a commitment to social justice flows naturally from the conservative principles of individual responsibility, compassion and common sense.My mother loved the scripture verse that goes – “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”One of the last causes my mother took on before she got sick and wasn’t able to be as active as she was, was to serve on the refugee committee at our local parish in Ottawa, at the outset of the Syrian civil war.Refugees were just starting to come, and she was ready and eager to do whatever she could to help.She did what she could to help financially, but she also showed them around town, had them over for dinner, and made sure they had the things they needed. My father also got involved, helping to celebrate their birthdays by bringing over cakes and gifts.It was deeply moving for me to see, as my mother received medical treatment before her death, how those same refugees visited her in the hospital to return the love and compassion that she had shown to them.And it reinforced for me how Canada must continue to be that place for those truly in need.This strikes at the very fairness of Canada’s immigration system, and there is absolutely nothing fair about forcing the oppressed and the persecuted – like the Syrians my mother helped – to wait longer for Canada’s help, while others cross the border illegally from places like upstate New York.Tout comme il n’y a rien d’ordonné avec les individus considérés comme des menaces pour la sécurité nationale qui entrent au pays, obtiennent la résidence et touchent des prestations.Ou les centaines de membres des cartels de la drogue qui viennent de Mexique et faire des affaires au Canada parce que le gouvernement a levé les exigences de visa pour les ressortissants mexicains.And just like there is nothing compassionate about Yazidi genocide survivors – already without proper mental health treatments here in Canada – having to fight the government to be reunited with their families.This government has failed on these and so many other counts and – in doing so – has degraded Canada’s standing as a place able to welcome and be safe for those in need.And friends, while history and humanity alone would be enough for Canada to uphold this proud legacy, there are – frankly – important and concrete economic arguments to be made as well.

Let’s Build Something Together