Differences have to be source of strength in society: Trudeau
Ahmedabad: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday heterogeneous society is the new reality of the 21st century and the biggest challenge is to understand how differences can become a source of strength, "something that India and Canada have done fairly well".
Calling himself a "feminist", Trudeau also said "we as a society are underperforming" as women are not being given an opportunity to contribute to their full potential.
He was addressing students at the prestigious Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A).
"The new reality of the 21st century is going to be more and more heterogeneous community and society, and the biggest challenge we are going to have as species is doing something that India and Canada have done fairly well--that is to understand how differences can become a source of strength," he said.
Trudeau was responding to a question by a student during an interactive session. The student asked him as to how as a global leader he wished to take the world towards globalisation at a time when the global trend of nationalisation was increasing.
He said many societies were struggling to come to terms with integrating all sections of people which was resulting in them turning "inward to nationalism and protectionism".
Taking a variety of questions both from TV journalist Shereen Bhan as well as students, Trudeau defined himself as a feminist and emphasised the need to empower women to create a more successful society.
"I am a feminist. It is a word with certain connotation, loaded with meaning, but at the very root of it, it is very simple. If you think man and woman ought to be equal, and ought to have same opportunities, and if you recognise that there is still a lot of work to do to get there, you are also a feminist," he said.
"Understanding that empowering women is not just the right or nice thing to do, but it's a smart thing to do, is extremely important. We are underperforming as a society, because we are not giving women the opportunity to contribute. We are not allowing them the opportunity to fulfil their full potential," he said.
When asked to comment on dynastic politics, given that his father Pierre Trudeau also served as the 15th prime minister of Canada, he said getting into politics was "not an automatic choice" for him.
"I had a certain level of advantages. People knew the values I was raised with in deciding whether to vote for me or not. But citizens are not fools, they can tell whether someone is genuine in their approach or not, but are trying to live up to some lofty, familial expectation. For me, all my life I focused on how best I can make the difference," he said.