NDP leader Jagmeet Singh responds to question from the media during a news conference Wednesday June 3, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has accused the prime minister of hypocrisy for calling on Canadians to do more to combat racism but refusing to condemn inflammatory remarks by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Justin Trudeau was pressed Tuesday to address how Trump has been handling escalating protests in the U.S. related to the death of a black man in police custody.

Violence has since broken out across the country, in many cases touched off by aggressive police, with deaths in several cities, widespread damage and even the media being targeted.

Trump has lashed out at the protesters, calling them thugs and anarchists. He has suggested the military be used to quash them and has appeared to advocate violence against protesters. This week, tear gas was used on protesters who were blocking Trump’s path to a photo op outside the White House.

The prime minister fell silent for several moments when a reporter asked for his views on the crisis Tuesday. He eventually said Canadians were watching in horror what was going on in the U.S., but did not mention Trump directly.

He then pivoted to acknowledging more must be done in Canada to address racism.

READ MORE: Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Trudeau’s silence was deafening, Singh said Wednesday.

“The prime minister of Canada has to call out the hatred and racism happening just south of the border and if the prime minister can’t do that how can everyday people be expected to stand up?” Singh said Wednesday.

“The prime minister should lead by example.”

Trudeau has long ducked questions calling on him to respond to statements by the U.S. president, repeating — as he did Tuesday — that Canadians expect their government to focus on them.

But Singh said that’s not acceptable.

He called Trump’s actions reprehensible, accusing the president of inflaming hatred and divisions, fuelling racism and putting people’s lives at risk.

“There are times when we have to be strategic and there are times when we have to stand up for what’s right,” he said.

“And this is one of those times you have to stand up for what’s right.”

Singh called on Trudeau to put actions behind his focus on Canadians. The Liberals could find a path through legislation to end racially motivated policing tactics and address the over-representation of visible minorities and Indigenous people in prisons, he said.

They could also move faster to sew up holes in the country’s social safety nets that create the inequalities that lead to racism.

“Those are just some of the things the government can do immediately that would go beyond the pretty words of a prime minister who says that he cares,” Singh said,

“Well, the prime minister has the power to do something about it.”

In a separate appearance, the Green party’s Elizabeth May said while it is true that Trudeau’s “pretty words” were not the same as action, they are the epitome of what is making Canada different from the United States at this time.

“Pretty words are so much better than vile language so bad that Twitter decides to put a warning that it incites violence, that Facebook employees quit because Mark Zuckerman (sic) won’t take down comments that are incendiary and those comments are from the president of the United States,” she said.

May said Trump has made everything going on in his country worse and that Canada must stop pretending the United States offers a safe place of refuge for minorities.

She repeated the Greens’ long-held stance that Canada must suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the United States. The deal sees both countries reject most asylum claims lodged at the land border on the grounds that both countries are safe, and so asylum seekers must seek refuge where they first arrive.

“It is clear that if you’re Muslim, if you’re black, if you’re Latina, if you’re Indigenous, the United States is not a safe country,” May said.

—With files from Mia Rabson

Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Donald TrumpJagmeet SinghJustin Trudeauracism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Search continues for person seen floating in Coquihalla River in Hope

Rescuers halted the search Thursday night as darkness fell

Rescuers halt Coquihalla River search due to darkness, after reports of person in river

No information to indicate a child is involved, RCMP state, after this information surfaced on social media

Mission company wins third award for Kermode Cabin

Lacey Construction nets Georgie Award for project at Sandpiper Resort in Harrison Mills

Two Chilliwack women make weekly Crime Stoppers most wanted list

Ashley Felix and Raina McDonald wanted on unrelated issues

Kilby Park in Harrison Mills under water

Area is often subject to flooding, Historic Site will remain open through the summer

13 new B.C. COVID-19 cases, Langley Lodge outbreak ends

Health care outbreaks down to four, 162 cases active

Greater Vancouver home sales start to tick up, with prices holding steady

Residential sales last month reached 2,443, a 64.5 per cent jump from May

Langley Lodge’s deadly outbreak declared over

Fraser Health and long-term care home administrator confirm Friday declaration

PHOTOS: South Surrey tractor project evokes ‘$1-million smile,’ helps connect neighbours

Retired Surrey firefighter Ron Henze began project for friend’s dad to fill time during pandemic

Alberta health minister orders review into response after noose found in hospital in 2016

A piece of rope tied into a noose was found taped to the door of an operating room at the Grande Prairie Hospital in 2016

B.C.’s major rivers surge, sparking flood warnings

A persistent low pressure system over Alberta has led to several days of heavy rain

B.C.’s Indigenous rights law faces 2020 implementation deadline

Pipeline projects carry on as B.C. works on UN goals

‘Mind boggling’: B.C. man $1 million richer after winning Lotto 6/49 a second time

David O’Brien hopes to use his winnings to travel and of course keep playing the lottery

Most Read