Canadian political leaders are considering handling anti-racism protests by US President Donald Trump throughout the United States after George Floyd’s death at the hands of law enforcement.
While most leaders are reluctant to vote for Trump by name, both the prime minister Nova Scotia and the mayor of Ottawa have a lot to say about the behavior they call “offensive” and “embarrassing.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Trudeau’s answer to the question about Trump’s decision to ask protesters to move with tear gas and riot police – so that he can be photographed outside the church – has been discussed more for what he did not say than for what he said.
The prime minister took 21 seconds to think before giving an answer that focused on the discrimination faced by people of color in Canada.
When pressed further to respond to Trump’s threat to call on the military to deal with protesters, the prime minister said the focus was on Canadians, not US domestic politics.
“My job as prime minister of Canada is to defend Canada, defend our interests, defend our values,” he said. “That’s what was done from the start, that’s what I will continue to do.”
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland
The deputy prime minister follows Trudeau’s position closely, noting that Canada has its own problems with anti-black racism and unconscious bias.
“What I’m really worried about is Canadian complacency. I think it’s very, very important for us to organize our own homes and for us to be truly aware of the pain caused by anti-black racism here, in our own homes. ” country, “he said.
“We as Canadians, all of us, need to take this very traumatic moment for many people in the world as an opportunity to see what we are doing in Canada and work hard to do better.”
Premier Ontario Doug Ford
Ford also avoided direct criticism about how the United States leadership handled protests, but he said that he loved living in a country that did not suffer the same racial divisions and systemic racism seen in the US.
“They have their problems in the U.S. and they have to fix their problems, but this is like day and night compared to Canada,” Ford said. “I am proud to be Canadian. I am proud to be the prime minister of Ontario.
“Thank God we are different from the United States. We don’t have the deep and systemic roots they have had for years … The difference between the US and Canada, for the most part, for the most part – we get along well.”
Nova Scotia Prime Minister Stephen McNeil
McNeil made a less diplomatic comment when talking about Floyd’s death and the Trump administration’s response to the protests that followed.
“When you watch what happens south of the border, where a black American is killed at the hands of law enforcement, you understand the anger and hurt and anger that people feel,” he said.
“To be honest, the political response in the United States has been offensive … to the world.”
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson
Watson offered what was perhaps the sharpest criticism of the Trump administration which came from a Canadian politician – choosing the name of the president and calling his behavior during the crisis “embarrassing.”
“I think it’s a shame. Clean up the peaceful protesters so he can have a photo-op holding the Bible,” Watson said.
“The president and organizational leaders must calm the waters and instill a sense of hope, and not [creating] greater chaos. What we have seen in the United States is sad and extraordinary but unfortunately, with this president, it is rather predictable.
“He seems to like taking gas and throwing it on the fire.”
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