The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, spent some 20 minutes live on Radio-Canada’s Tout le monde en parle program on Sunday evening to discuss immigration, the federal budget and Chinese interference in front of hundreds of thousands of viewers.

After the discovery of eight bodies of migrants, including two children, who died trying to reach the United States by the St. Lawrence River this week, the host of Tout le monde en parle, Guy A. Lepage, opened the show asking the Prime Minister how to prevent such a disaster from happening again.

“We must do everything to avoid these tragedies,” admitted Mr. Trudeau. The Prime Minister insisted that the tightening of the safe third country agreement announced a week earlier was aimed at avoiding these kinds of tragedies through irregular crossings. And this, even if specialists believe that these restrictions risk amplifying the phenomenon.

“We continue to be an open and welcoming country, declared Mr. Trudeau, but we favor people who come on a regular basis. »

The questions then turned to the federal budget, which was tabled earlier this week by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland. Mr. Trudeau defended himself for presenting a budget that will increase the national debt and explained the main orientations of the budget, such as support for low-income families, investment in green technologies and health.

“If you decide to buy yourself a nice new television, and you go into debt for that, you will have to pay it back”, illustrated the Prime Minister, responding directly to the co-host of the show, MC Gilles. “But if you instead invest in your children’s education, in an addition to your home, you are increasing its value and your opportunities for the future. »

Mr. Trudeau said Canada had “the best fiscal position of any G7 country.”

Trudeau defended Canada’s support for Ukraine, saying financial and military assistance to the country will continue.

About the indictment to come on Tuesday of former US President Donald Trump, Justin Trudeau preferred not to comment.

“I care a lot more about my relationship with the current president,” he blurted out.

The Prime Minister has assured that he has no intention of leaving his place at the head of the Liberal Party of Canada.

“So we’re inviting you next year?” asked Guy A. Lepage. “I’ll be there, my friend,” replied the Prime Minister.

The issue of Chinese interference during the last federal election monopolized the rest of the interview with the Prime Minister on the show.

“Do you have something to hide?” asked Guy A. Lepage straight away.

“This is an issue that must be dealt with responsibly,” Mr. Trudeau said. That’s why I preferred to choose [former Governor General David Johnston as the official rapporteur on the file]. Someone distinguished, eminent, well reputed to determine if we need a public inquiry or if we need something else to get to the bottom of things. »

National security issues would be at stake, added the Prime Minister. “When the lives of those who choose to serve Canada in extremely difficult situations could be endangered, yes, we will have to know how to debate and how to analyze what is happening in a rigorous way. »

The Prime Minister has pledged to hold a public inquiry if Mr. Johnston recommends one.

The interview ended with the question of artificial intelligence. Guy A. Lepage noticed that Italy had just suspended the use of the chatbot ChatGPT on its territory, and that world experts were calling for a moratorium on research.

Justin Trudeau has given no indication that Canada plans to move in that direction. “Yeah, that worries me,” he said. There is a lot of work to be done and Canada is involved in trying to create guidelines and parameters in which we will be able to avoid too many slippages. »

The antidote to online disinformation, according to the prime minister: “well-educated, well-involved citizens who are aware of the risks around them”.