‘We share your grief’: Trudeau seeks Canadian access to crash investigation

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OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the country is grieving the loss of scores of people with ties to communities across Canada who died Wednesday in a plane crash near Tehran.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 08/01/2020 (946 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the country is grieving the loss of scores of people with ties to communities across Canada who died Wednesday in a plane crash near Tehran.

While 63 of the 176 deceased are believed to have Canadian citizenship, a total of 138 passengers aboard the plane were connecting to Canada, Trudeau said, while extending condolences to their families.

“An entire country is with you; we share your grief,” he told reporters on Parliament Hill, where the Peace Tower’s flag flew at half-mast.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick The Parliament Hill Peace Tower flag flies at half-mast in Ottawa on Wednesday.

“All had so much potential; so much life ahead of them,” a sombre Trudeau said, flanked by cadre of top military and diplomatic officials.

In his first public appearance in almost three weeks, the prime minister reminded Canadians they stick together during tragedies.

Trudeau admitted he can’t rule out the possibility the Ukrainian International Airlines flight was shot down — tensions are high in the region after the U.S. killed Iran’s military leader and Iran responded with missile attacks on Iraq locations hosting American and coalition troops — but said it was “dangerous to speculate on possible causes.”

He said families deserve a full explanation, regardless of Canada cutting off diplomatic ties with Iran in 2012. It was unclear whether that will pose a difficulty in accessing information about the crash or repatriating the bodies of the deceased.

“There is a desire by everyone to see what actually happened,” Trudeau said.

Canadian “consular teams” are being prepared to go to Iran and help with investigations, and the prime minister is hopeful the Middle Eastern nation will allow them entry. “We’re going to work very hard to establish the facts,” he said.

Trudeau had no explanation as to why he was only addressing the Canadian public five days after U.S. President Donald Trump revealed he’d ordered Gen. Qassem Soleimani to be assassinated.

Instead, Trudeau insisted he was receiving briefings since the assassination during his vacation in Costa Rica.

dylan.robertson@freepress.mb.ca

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