OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is promising to deal with racism in Canada but won’t directly address the controversial actions and comments from U.S. President Donald Trump.
They say silence can speak volumes and during his daily briefing with reporters on Tuesday, Trudeau was asked about Trump using tear gas on protesters for a photo-op and threatening to use the military to stamp out demonstrations.
“I’d like to ask you what you think about that and if you don’t want to comment, what message do you think you’re sending?” a reporter asked.
The prime minister left a 22-second pause, staring directly at the camera, before providing an answer.
“We all watch in horror and consternation what’s going on in the United States,” Trudeau said. “It is a time to pull people together, but it is [also] a time to listen. It is a time to learn what injustices continue, despite progress over years and decades. But it is a time for us as Canadians to recognize that we, too, have our challenges. That black Canadians and racialized Canadians face discrimination as a lived reality every single day.”
Here's the entirety of Justin Trudeau's response to a question on what he thinks of President Trump threatening to call in the military to deal with protesters – including a 22-second pause before answering. #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/2oHRMuVWdW
— Courtney Theriault (@cspotweet) June 2, 2020
He added systemic discrimination is still alive-and-well in Canada and that it’s time for leaders to find ways to address it.
“We need to be allies in the fight against discrimination. We need to listen, we need to learn, and we need to work hard to fix — to figure out how we can be part of the solution to fixing this.”
However, Trudeau would not elaborate on what kind of action his government would be taking.
When pressed about Trump’s actions, the prime minister said his focus is on helping Canadians.
Trudeau is expected to deliver remarks focused on the issue of racism and the events that have transpired on both sides of the border in the House of Commons later in the day to kick start the COVID-19 special committee.
Tensions have been growing in the U.S. after a black man, George Floyd, was killed at the hands of a police officer last week.
His death sparked anti-racism protests, marches, and riots across the United States for several days.