What do Canadian leaders think of Trump’s leadership? Top politicians in Canada weigh in on Trump’s response to coronavirus and George Floyd’s riots.
What do Canadian leaders think of Trump’s leadership? As protests erupt and coronavirus crisis undermines the stability of the country, the USA appears troubled. Canadian leaders are therefore starting to weigh on President Donald Trump’s handling of both the pandemic and the protests. As America once again woke up to the killing of a black man, Minnesotan George Floyd, perpetrated by law enforcement officers, disillusionment grew. Many among the disenfranchised have lost hope and also trust in institutions.
Leaders in Canada are starting to evaluate America’s political leadership. While Canadian politicians are often reluctant to single out Trump by name, others made their statements clear. Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil and Ottawa Major Jim Watson had plenty to say, but words are not always the perfect vessel.
What does PM Justin Trudeau think?
PM Justin Trudeau’s reply has made the news not because of what he said – but because of what he didn’t. Trudeau’s answer to a question to Trump resolving to use tear gas against protestors highlighted his own embarrassment at the situation. After taking up over 21 seconds to think and to appear disheartened, the PM spoke. ‘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’, he remarked.
His reply focused on highlighting the discrimination against people of colour in Canada. While not mentioning President Trump directly, he made clear the government’s focus is not US domestic politics. Still, his comments stress a very different and opposite approach to the question of racial injustice. He concluded saying: ‘Standing up for Canadians is what I have done from the beginning. And that is what I will continue to do.’
What does Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland think?
The Deputy Prime Minister’s position followed closely that of the Prime Minister himself. Both Trudeau and Freeland said that Canada has its own problems and should look at its own turf. Rather than avoiding the responsibilities of such problems or declaring exceptionalism from them, Freeland declared herself worried. She singled out ‘Canadian complacency’ with anti-black racism and unconscious bias as the single most important challenge.
‘We as Canadians, all of us’, she said: ‘We need to take this very traumatic moment for many people in the world as an opportunity to look at what we are doing in Canada and to work hard to do better’. The Deputy PM position is that Canada needs to be better and to set itself straight. ‘We need to be aware of the pain that anti-black racism causes here in our own country’, she remarked. ‘What I am concerned about, actually, is Canadian complacency. I think that it’s really, really important for us to set our own house in order.’