As long-standing anger about discrimination boils over in the United States, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continues to deliver the message that Canadians must recognize there is systemic racism in their own country.
Speaking during his daily news conference in Ottawa, Trudeau pointed out that many don’t see this bias, but it is a reality for visible minorities in Canada.
His comments continue to be a direct result of violent protests occurring south of the border.
These nationwide protests have been ongoing in the United States since early last week when a video showed a Minnesota police officer kneeling on the neck and killing an unarmed black man, George Floyd. The incident fanned the flames of fury towards racism in America and has resulted in the unabated demonstrations.
The events triggered President Donald Trump to threaten the deployment of the U.S. military to stop the unrest, and, after the prime minister opened up the floor to media questions during Tuesday’s press conference, Trudeau was asked about Trump’s military threats.
He paused a full 20 seconds, lips pursed, jaw working, before saying that despite watching the United States with “horror and consternation,” Canadians must be aware of the challenges facing black Canadians and other minorities and take steps to address them.
The power of the pause. Trudeau takes an elongated 20 seconds when asked a question about President Trump. pic.twitter.com/21jmh7kkWk
— Graham Cox (@vanislandgee) June 2, 2020
“It is a time to listen and it is a time to learn what injustices continue despite progress over years and decades,” said Prime Minister Trudeau during his daily address from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa.
In answering the question he refrained from mentioning President Trump’s name or directly speaking to the topic of military threats.
On Monday, President Trump issued his message to governors throughout the country, claiming that if they did not deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers to “dominate the streets,” Trump said the U.S. military would step in to “quickly solve the problem for them.”
“We have the greatest country in the world,” the president declared. “We’re going to keep it safe.”
Trudeau steered clear of the military topic altogether and instead focused on the issues in our own country.
“My job as a Canadian prime minister is to stand up for Canadians to stand up for our interests to stand up for our values, that is what I have done from the very beginning that is what I will continue to do,” added the prime minister.