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Trudeau receives the new Chilean president and hails a “strong and progressive voice”

Erika Ibrahim, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — The world is changing, and all governments must address the climate crisis and ensure that economic development benefits everyone, including Indigenous peoples, Justin Trudeau said Monday, as Chile pursues sector reforms mining.

“You can’t build a strong, resilient economy in the 21st century unless you also protect the environment, unless everyone has the chance to participate, unless you include people who have been excluded,” said the Prime Minister during his joint press conference with Chilean President Gabriel Boric, visiting Ottawa on Monday.

Asked by a Spanish-speaking journalist about the impact of mining reforms on Canada’s view of Chile as an investment location, Trudeau declined to comment on the specific democratic processes underway in that country.

But he said leaders and democracies must ensure they keep up with changes in the world, not just for moral but also practical reasons. “It’s the only way to build a strong future and a strong country,” he said.

About 10% of Canadian mining assets abroad are in Chile, the largest country after the United States, according to 2019 figures from the federal Ministry of Natural Resources. In 2020, the ministry said the mining assets in Chile of 55 Canadian companies were worth approximately $21 billion.

Gabriel Boric, who became the youngest president in Chile’s history when he took office last March, is a former left-wing student activist who notably campaigned for greater environmental protection in a country which contains huge deposits of copper.

Chile began a reform of its Constitution of 1980, at the time of the dictator Augusto Pinochet. The draft constitutional reform will be submitted to the Chileans in September.

Last month, the constituent assembly approved a proposal to include a section that would require mining companies to set aside money to deal with damage caused by mining activities, but rejected the idea of ​​nationalizing certain sectors of industry.

The constituent assembly also gave the go-ahead to ban mining in glaciers, in areas vital to the protection of water supplies and in other protected areas of Chile.


Speaker Boric on Monday hailed Canada’s freeze on the import, purchase, sale or transfer of handguns, which the Liberals have made a central part of their gun control bill filed last week. He recalled Monday that he wanted to introduce a law in his country that would prohibit all citizens from owning a firearm.

The Chilean government’s goal is to eliminate firearms within criminal groups, and it does not want these weapons to end up in civil society, Boric explained in Spanish.

But it is not enough to have regulations within a country, he said: you also need international regulations to stop the cross-border flow of firearms.

Trudeau also said Canada will co-sponsor America’s Declaration to Protect the Ocean, an initiative launched by Chile to encourage countries to work together to protect the Pacific. “Canada and Chile are both oceanic countries,” he recalled.

“We know that healthy oceans are essential for community employment and to fight climate change. Today’s announcement focuses on how we keep the Pacific Ocean healthy, from protecting migratory routes for marine animals to preserving fragile coastal ecosystems,” Trudeau said.

Canada and Chile also signed an agreement “to advance gender equality” and the empowerment of women in both countries.

Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, Marci Ien, said the aim was to establish a framework for the two governments to cooperate on public policies to promote women’s empowerment .

Ms. Ien said that the two countries are determined to support each other to eliminate the socio-economic, cultural and institutional barriers that prevent women from participating in the economy and public life.

The two countries are also committed to working together on issues such as COVID-19 recovery efforts or gender-based violence.

Mr. Trudeau recalled for his part that at a time when authoritarian states are advancing and democracies are retreating, it is important to welcome a “strong and progressive voice” on the world stage. “It’s great news for Chile, it’s great news for Canada, to have such a strong partner on the other side of the continent.”


This dispatch was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta Exchanges and The Canadian Press for the news.

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