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Canadian PM Tackles Major Policies; Cry for Compassion; Queen Rania on Defeating Extremist Ideology; Breaking Bread to Break Barriers
Aired September 23, 2016 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:30:11] JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, I'm Jonathan Mann. This is "CNN News Now."
Syria says an all-out military offensive is under way against rebels in Eastern Aleppo. Opposition activists say more than 80 people were killed
Friday. As for reviving the ceasefire that's in ruins, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says he met his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov today
and made what he called a little bit of progress.
The family of police shooting victim Keith Lamont Scott has released cell phone video of the shooting in Charlotte, North Carolina. The family says
Scott's wife took the video. A woman is heard pleading with police not to shoot Scott and urging him to get out of his car. Charlotte's police chief
said the police video of the shooting will not be released until the investigation is completed.
Chief Kerr Putney told reporters that many other factors besides the video go into determining what happened exactly. Scott's family has seen the
video. Their attorney says it did not clarify whether Scott was holding a gun as police allege.
That's your "CNN News Now."
AMANPOUR is next. I'm Jonathan Mann.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, the U.N. says it is ready to resume aid to Syria despite the deadly air strikes against a relief convoy
earlier this week. At a U.N. General Assembly dominated by angry words over the Syrian civil war, and the refugee crisis, we meet the leader
bucking the trend here.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on his nation's open-door policy to refugees fleeing war. The politics of hope and his personal journey to
high office and on to the world stage.
Plus, as Jordan, a front-line state in the refugee crisis sees a Muslim brotherhood surge in this week's local parliamentary elections, Queen Rania
tells me of her battle for hearts and minds against extremism.
Good evening, everyone, and welcome to a special weekend edition of the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour wrapping the week at the talking shop
that is also known as the United Nations General Assembly.
It has been a week dominated by the world's failure to effectively respond to the Syrian refugee crisis. The biggest mass mobilization of people
since the Second World War. And after a U.N. aid convoy was blown up this week by the Russians according to the United States, even the usually
diplomatic South Korean Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon blasted interested parties in the room for, quote, "having blood on their hands."
The stand-out leader on stage this year bucking the populist political trend sweeping western democracies was Justin Trudeau. Elected prime
minister of Canada last November, his cool image has done much to refresh brand Canada and speaking exclusively to me this week, it was clear that he
is in no mood to roll up the welcome mat for refugees.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUSTINE TRUDEAU, PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA: Well, the fact is Canadians understand that immigration, that people fleeing for their lives, people
wanting to build a better life for themselves and their kids is what created Canada. It's what created North America.
Whether -- and even recently, whether it was the Ismaili Muslims coming from East Africa in the early 70s, whether it was the Vietnamese boat
people in the early '80s, there are communities who came to Canada and contributed extraordinarily to our success and our communities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Trudeau is a Canadian blue blood. His father, Pierre, was one of Canada's longest-serving and best-loved premiers. And none other than
President Richard Nixon tipped young Justin for greatness, toasting him as, quote, "Future prime minister of Canada." He was just two years old then.
Today at 44, having defied all expectations to get there, he told me that he's determined not to coast on the coattails of his famous father.
AMANPOUR: Prime Minister Trudeau, welcome to the program.
TRUDEAU: Thank you very much, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: You are the son of the man who most describe as the greatest leader Canada has had in modern times, Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
What is that burden like?
TRUDEAU: It was a bit more of a burden when I was younger, for me, because you know, being young and growing up is all about trying to forge your own
identity. And for so many people, my father was such a larger than life image that you agreed with, that you disagreed with. It was inconceivable
that I might go into politics, because I would constantly be compared to my father. So I went off and did all sorts of different things.
[14:05:06] I was a schoolteacher. I traveled the world. I was an activist on environmental and youth issues. And I'd always say to myself, if I go
into politics, it will be much later in life.
But then I realized, you know what, we need young people in politics. And I had learned enough about my own style to know that I have a very
different approach to things, to people than my father did. So yes, I'll be compared. But that's something I'm used to all my life. And I think
I'll be able to make my own mark as my own person. Drawing on the values, and principles and lessons my father taught me. But thinking about how
they apply now.
AMANPOUR: Was there a turning point? Was there a moment apart from feeling that the youth must be represented?
TRUDEAU: When the liberal party of Canada lost government in 2006. There was a leadership race to succeed then Prime Minister Paul Martin. I
decided you know what, I've been doing a lot of activism, a lot of environmental and youth stuff. Maybe I can help the party reconnect with
young people. So I just got involved a little bit on the policy side. I didn't want to get involved.
And I suddenly discovered specifically around the leadership convention, wow, I'm really good at meeting people, listening to them, at engaging, at
arguing, debating politics.
At the retail side of things, that my father was never very good at. He liked people, but he wasn't a gregarious, glad-handler and I actually
really like engaging with and talking with people and learning from them. So I sort of said well, you know what, if I do get into politics and do it
really working from the grassroots up, start at the community level, and know that everyone's going to try and cast me as some parachuted in, you
know, silver spoon and instead roll up my sleeves and outwork everyone, I think there's a path there.
AMANPOUR: Well, you say the silver spoon. I mean, you talk about the very divisive, you know, race that you were in and the amount of money that was
spent against you.
One of the slogans of your opposition was -- you know, "Prime minister is not an entry-level job. Nice hair, though." And they said, "Justin is
just not ready."
I mean, did that hurt?
TRUDEAU: Well, I mean, it was a narrative that they promoted everywhere. I mean, they were ads all across the country. Everywhere. When I walk
down the street and kids would be saying, hey, you're not -- just not ready. I mean, it was --
AMANPOUR: Even people who are supporting you?
TRUDEAU: Oh, yes -- no. He's a nice guy, but I just don't think he's ready.
And one of the things that we decided to do was actually tackle that straight on. And, you know, we did something you're not supposed to do in
politics, which is repeat the attack of your opponent. But I said, you know, you think I'm not ready?
Here's what I'm not ready for. I'm not ready to let the middle-class fall further behind. We're not ready for Canada to continue to be disconnected
on the world stage. I'm not ready for Canadians to let fear dominate over diversity. We need to actually pull together. This is what I'm ready to
And it started to turn things around. And then, you know, they had set the expectations so low that when I, you know, showed up at the debates and did
OK. People sort of realized, OK, I guess they were wrong.
AMANPOUR: And you also talked about sunny ways. You know, positive, optimistic hope for the future. And I think that was sort of derided as
well. But you said it can be a positive and powerful force for change. We beat fear with hope.
TRUDEAU: People are feeling an anxiety out there. And you have a choice around leadership. Do you use that anxiety to, you know, get elected with
a short-term sort of fear the world, you know, pointing fingers and excluding? Or do you say, OK, we're worried about things. Let's fix it
AMANPOUR: And how do you tell the story because I think it's link this of globalization? Because now globalization is getting a really bad name.
Everybody is reacting against it. The idea of free trade acts and all the rest of it, whether it's the TPP, or NAFTA which Donald Trump is
threatening to tear up. Neither of the candidates is embracing the Pacific Partnership.
What will happen if they get torn up?
TRUDEAU: Well, I think we know that trade creates growth for the economy. Globalization has created growth. The problem is, it has -- the benefits
of that globalization and trade haven't been accruing to everyone. And people are talking about withdrawing their support and rightly worried
about it. So what we need to do is demonstrate that the benefits of a growing economy can accrue to everyone.
That the middle class can do well with it. And that's where we have to be much smarter about the kinds of kinds of frames we put forward. About the
case we make for trade. And about how we equip citizens to be successful in a rapidly changing economy.
Canadians want to remain open to the world. Draw in solutions from everywhere. Figure things out and move forward. And that's what -- that's
where one of the great principles of Canada that differences can be a source of strength, not a source of weakness.
AMANPOUR: And you prove that with your cabinet. From the get go, you said we're going to have, you know, equal men and women, and #BecauseIt's2015
went all over the world.
Did you know what you were doing when you said because it's 2015?
[14:10:37] TRUDEAU: It was frustrating to me that we couldn't get more women elected to our parliament in the way the election went. We're still
only about, you know, floating around 25 percent of women in parliament.
But I had direct control over who sits in cabinet. I get to choose that. I said we're going to go 50/50. And, you know, there were all of those
arguments about merit and as soon as I actually named the capital, people looked at these extraordinary people, diversity of both genders and our
cabinet. Nobody was talking about merit anymore. And actually a few people have been joking, wow, he's lucky he guaranteed that there would be
at least 50 percent men, because if not, there would be way more women.
AMANPOUR: So no regrets?
AMANPOUR: Do you feel that you've had a honeymoon. I mean, look, you've had so much world attention and all of it is being positive. We hear that
you're sort of trying to recast the image at least, to try to, you know, put more of the politics and the policies in the front page.
TRUDEAU: Yes. I sort of found that funny when people started talking about that. Because we've done some really big things from the get-go. We
put out a very difficult piece of legislation on medical assistance and dying. We raised taxes on the rich so we could lower them for the middle
class. We've put out, we fixed our Canada pension plan, social security for a generation. We've done some really, really big things. And we have
more big things to do this fall.
But at the same time, the conversations I've had with Canadians is they elect a government to make those difficult decisions. And they want to
know that our values are in the right place and that we're thinking through the best way to do these things. And they know they're not going to agree
with everything you do, but they do want to know that you've thought about it, you've engage with it, you're doing it responsibly.
AMANPOUR: What would you say to Britain, which has voted Brexit. And which thinks that it's going to just sail into the future on a whole,
rather easy way of negotiating trade pacts with all these individual countries.
TRUDEAU: Well, I think people realize that there is a new challenge that they're facing. And, you know, Canada has been certainly helpful to Great
Britain. We've sent over trade negotiators to help develop the capacity to negotiate trade deals.
I think, you know --
AMANPOUR: You've sent out negotiators?
TRUDEAU: Yes. We hear there are only tens of negotiators, where there's hundreds of leaders.
TRUDEAU: Well, you haven't had, because being part of the European Union, you haven't had the need to negotiate international trade deals. So, you
know, friends help each other out. So we're certainly helping with that.
I think there's, you know, challenges around the Brexit. But there's also opportunities. And the question really comes how do we as a world allay
the kind of fears that people have, that lead to decisions like Brexit.
You know, whether it's the right or wrong decision, there's an expression of anxiety and a concern saying -- you know what, I'm withdrawing my
support for institutions that don't seem to work for me.
Well, can we improve those institutions? Can we create alternate institutions in the case of Brexit where we have to create something
different? How can we address those fears in a way that isn't just, you know, how can I get a little mileage and get re-elected or elected out of
But how can we actually start resolving some of these challenges? Because that's what the world needs.
AMANPOUR: Prime Minister Trudeau, thank you very much indeed for joining us.
TRUDEAU: A real pleasure, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: And it is nice always to reflect on a moment of compassion.
Next, out of the mouth of babes. The 1,000-yard stare from that 5-year-old Syrian boy, Omran Daqneesh, reverberated around the world as we all
remember. It did so all the way to the home of a 6-year-old and his family who live here in the New York area.
Alex, who doesn't look too different from Omar was moved to do something to help. Where else would he turn, but to the most powerful man in the world.
This is Alex's letter to President Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX: Dear President Obama: Remember the boy who was picked up by the ambulance in Syria? Can you please go get him and bring him to our home?
Park in the driveway or on the street. And we'll be waiting for you guys with flags, flowers and balloons.
We will give him a family, and he will be our brother. Catherine, my little sister, will be collecting butterflies and fireflies for him.
[14:15:07] In my school, I have a friend from Syria, Omar, and I will introduce him to Omar. We can all play together.
We can invite him to birthday parties and he will teach us another language.
Since he won't bring toys and doesn't have toys, Catherine will share her big blue stripy white bunny. And I will share my bike and I will teach him
how to ride it. I will teach him additions and subtractions in math.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Those are the words of a 6- year-old boy. He teaches us as a lot.
The humanity that a young child can display, who hasn't learned to be cynical, or suspicious, or fearful of other people because of where they're
from, or how they look, or how they pray -- we can all learn from Alex.
ALEX: Alex, 6 years old.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Truly moving, that little boy. And when we come back, another voice of compassion from a front-line state. My interview with Queen Rania
of Jordan. That's next.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program from the United Nations.
Now the U.N. refugee agency warns that 2016 looks set to claim a dubious distinction. The deadliest year on record for migrant crossings.
While arrivals by sea are down, almost half to what happened last year, Syria means the flow won't stop any time soon.
And Jordan is one of the front-line states hosting nearly 1.5 million refugees. It's an almost unbearable strain on a tiny country of 6.5
Amid this, Jordanians voted in parliamentary elections this week, contested for the first time in a decade by the political arm of the Muslim
brotherhood. And they are expected to do very well, indeed.
Here at the U.N., Queen Rania joined me for an exclusive interview about the refugee crisis and about the battle against extremism.
AMANPOUR: You have said many times that the evil ideology of these extremists has to be defeated. Jordan has about 4,000 people who have
joined the Jihadist in Syria. It's apparently the biggest per head per capita other than Tunisia in that region.
And there is a new experiment in Jordan, we read, of a new sort of layout in mosques that imams have to be sanctioned. Their sermons, so to speak,
have to be sanctioned.
How is Jordan dealing with the radicalization of people?
QUEEN RANIA AL-ABDULLAH, QUEEN OF JORDAN: Well, when you say that there are large numbers, it's not surprising since we are very close to the ground
zero of extremism. Just by physical proximity.
We realize that the ideological battle is a battle that has to be led by us Muslims. It is our fight for our future as Muslims. And I think every
element of society has to be involved in that fight. Not just mosques or religious leaders, but it has to be fought in every aspect of our society.
In our media, community centers, schools and universities.
[14:20:00] We do not believe that these people exist on the fringes of Islam. We think that they are altogether outside of Islam. And that's why
we call them "hawarish" (ph) or outlaws.
And if you look at their records, many of them go back to the criminal cells and prisons. They are ex-criminals. So it is very important for us
to reveal them for who they are.
AMANPOUR: Are you doing a good enough job at that?
QUEEN RANIA: I don't think any of us are doing a good enough job at that. We cannot contain this ideology, unless we confront it with courage. But
in Jordan, we are trying to reveal them for who they are. They are a group of people who -- pick and choose, they cut and paste, they manipulate
certain elements of Islam in order to come up with their own toxic brew.
And there's a recent report that revealed that over 70 percent of their recruits hardly have basic knowledge of Islam, which makes them the ideal
candidates so that you could manipulate them and have them fall for the twisted ideology.
AMANPOUR: Not to mention some we've heard about drink alcohol, have sex out of marriage. I mean, so many of them.
QUEEN RANIA: They're absolutely devoid of any religious or moral legitimacy. And that is something that we need to reveal.
You know, as you know, their ability to succeed has depended on their ability to craft messages that resonate with the wide spectrum of people
and to disseminate those messages far and wide. And we need to get better at doing that.
And you know, their toxic ideology outlives and outlasts them. So you can kill the extremist, but the perversion, the poison persists. We really
need to understand that we need to fight them on the Internet, in every element of society. So there needs to be a mind shift.
AMANPOUR: You're on fire, your majesty.
QUEEN RANIA: Let me say, you know, the most probably important thing is to really root out the causes of injustice in our world. Because that is
where the vulnerability comes.
You know, whether its prisoners who have been humiliated in Abu Ghraib, or the suffering families who have lost everything in Aleppo or in
Afghanistan. You know, I think if we allow for the creation of a human being with nothing to lose, then that is probably injustice that we can
inflict on another human being. And it is the greatest threat for the rest of humanity. So --
QUEEN RANIA: Absolutely. We cannot allow for the creation of people with nothing to lose. It's just unfair.
AMANPOUR: And, finally, as a mother and as a mother of girls, you had an event with Michelle Obama, the first lady, about girls' education.
And I think during that, you said never has there been a bleaker time in your region, that you remember.
Tell me about that? How as a mother does all of this affect you?
QUEEN RANIA: People always look at the urgent issues, the political ramifications. What keeps me up at night is thinking what kind of future
generations are we creating today? With so many children knowing nothing about a lifetime of war and terror.
What kind of generation is this? Are they going to be consigned to poverty? To (INAUDIBLE) potential. To limited opportunities. Are they
going to be more vulnerable to radicalization.
So are we creating a world that is more dangerous ten years from now than it is today? That is something we really need to think about.
And girls, in particular, are extremely vulnerable in these situations. Because in addition to having their rights undermined by extremists, we're
hearing worse reports of gender-based and domestic violence that is amplified by the conflict.
And, you know, you've heard stories of early marriage, of slavery, of rape. Unfortunately, girls fall through the cracks and their needs are often the
last to be met. And we really need to do something about that.
AMANPOUR: Your majesty, Queen Rania, thank you very much indeed for joining us.
QUEEN RANIA: A pleasure. Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And after the break, we visit the, quote, "Conflict Cafe," crossing enemy lines to break bread together. We imagine that, when we
[14:25:47] AMANPOUR: And, finally tonight, imagine a world where the worst of enemies become the best of friends over dinner.
The "Conflict Cafe" in London is a pop-up restaurant with a difference -- they invite diners from opposing sides of an international conflict, who
meet and talk over traditional national dishes.
Armenians and Turks, Israelis and Palestinians, and different sides of the Syrian conflict have all broken bread together there. And we went inside
to see how it's done.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My mom used to cook a lot. She used to make a big piece at home for friends, for families, for us. That's how I come after
Today we are making Lebanese food, of course, but the meaning of this, to join the people together and talk about as we said, peace, love.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need to get people together here, to break bread, to discuss peace, to discuss conflict, meet new people and hopefully learn
a little about the countries that we're showcasing.
Lebanon had a long-running civil war for 50 years, from 1975 and is now affected by the Syria crisis with refugees numbering over a million in
Lebanon at the moment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Forget about the war, forget about the religions and forget about what we have behind us and be together and make peace.
AMANPOUR: And that is it for our program tonight.
Remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us online at Amanpour.com and follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching
and good-bye from the United Nations in New York.