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

Just Posted

Drifting sailboat runs aground on White Rock beach

Vessel dragged anchor in high wind, no environmental damage sustained

Increased border enforcement curbs cross-line parties at Peace Arch State Park

Gatherings between U.S. and Canadian citizens ‘a daily carnival’ – resident

Virtual challenge to benefit Delta-based guide dogs charity

Funds raised to help BC Alberta Guide Dogs provide people with free guide dogs, autism and PTSD service dogs

Legion to hold private Remembrance Day ceremony at Cloverdale Cenotaph

General public will not be allowed in Veterans Square for Nov. 11 services this year

Sullivan Heights, Tamanawis each report second COVID-19 exposures

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

Pandemic derails CP Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific will work to get donations to food banks while also producing an online music concert

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Mounties cleared by watchdog in fatal shooting of man with schizophrenia in Maple Ridge

Kyaw Din was killed by the RCMP during a mental health incident in August 2019

Local councils important, Horgan says as municipal conference ends

B.C. NDP leader says ‘speed dating’ vital, online or in person

Penticton woman sentenced to one year in prison for manslaughter of teen boyfriend

Kiera Bourque, 24, was sentenced for manslaughter in the 2017 death of Penticton’s Devon Blackmore

B.C. Green leader says NDP abandoning environmental plan

Horgan’s claim of unstable government false, Furstenau says

Most Read