Canada's Prime Minister Was Asked About Donald Trump and Gave an Excellent Answer

December 19th 2015

At a town hall event last week, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau was asked whether he would condemn the "hateful rhetoric" of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. And while he stressed that it was important for leaders to avoid commenting on foreign election campaigns, his response left little room for interpretation.

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"I don't think it comes as a surprise to anyone that I stand firmly against the politics of division, the politics of fear, the politics of intolerance or hateful rhetoric," Trudeau said

Since taking office in October, Trudeau has pushed for progressive policies related to the Syrian refugee crisis, arguing that those fleeing persecution and war deserved to be resettled in countries that had the resources to accommodate them. Canada plans to accept 25,000 Syrian refugees by February 2016.

In contrast, Trump has proposed a ban on all Muslim immigration to the U.S., citing concerns about alleged weaknesses in the refugee screening process and the potential for extremist violence.

"I think Canada—indeed, any modern society—does best when we understand that diversity is a source of strength, not a source of weakness, that the elements on which we are similar are always far greater than the elements on which we are diverse, and if we allow politicians to succeed by scaring people, we don't actually end up any safer," Trudeau said. "Fear doesn't make us safer, it makes us weaker."

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While Trudeau recognized that national security is a top priority for Canada, he emphasized that the solution was not to build a wall or scapegoat the Muslim community, an apparent (albeit indirect) reference to Trump's proposal to build a "massive wall" along the U.S.-Mexico border.

"They are the greatest victims of terrorist acts around the world," Trudeau said. "Painting ISIS and others with a broad brush that extends to all Muslims is not just ignorant, it’s irresponsible."

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