A question about Donald Trump using tear gas to make way for a photo opportunity has seemingly stumped Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Trudeau paused for 25 seconds after a reporter asked what he thought of Donald Trump calling for military action to be used against protestors and tear gas been used to the clear way for Donald Trump to have a photo opportunity.
The reporter had also said, “if you don’t want to comment, what message do you think you are sending?”
When he did respond, Trudeau did not condemn Trump or his actions, nor did he mention Trump by name, instead he said Canada watches in “horror and consternation”, presumably about the ongoing protests in retaliation to George Floyd’s death and police brutality.
“It is a time to pull people together, but it is a time to listen. [It] is the time to learn what injustices continue, despite progress over years and decades,” Trudeau said.
He then said it was time for Canadians to “recognise we too have our challenges”.
“That black Canadians and racialised Canadians face discrimination as a lived reality every single day,” he continued.
“There is systemic discrimination in Canada, which means our systems treat Canadians of colour, Canadians who are racialised differently than they do others. It is something many of us don’t see, but it is something that is a lived reality for racialised Canadians.”
He said it was not just the government that needs to recognise systematic racism, but Canadians as a whole.
“We need to see that not just as a government and take action, but we need to see that as Canadians.”
“We need to be allies in the fight. against discrimination. We need to listen, we need to learn and we need to work hard to fix, to figure out how we can be part of the solution on fixing things.”
Police violently broke up a peaceful and legal protest by several thousand people in Lafayette Park across from the White House ahead of a speech in the Rose Garden by Trump on Monday.
The protesters had gathered following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis a week earlier.
Trump strolled out of the White House gates and walked across the cleared Lafayette Park to make a surprise visit to St. John’s Church.
Trump, standing alone in front of cameras, raised a Bible. He didn’t mention Floyd, the church or the peaceful protesters police had just cleared away.
Trudeau’s pause and response were both scrutinised and praised.
Many people pointed out Trudeau has worn blackface in the past on two occasions.
One person called out the Canadian prime minister saying he needed to hold Trump accountable, refusal to do so means they are part of the problem.
the prince of blackface has no standing in this conversation— negro frolics (@DesmondCole) June 2, 2020
Police brutality in Canada
Canadian activist, journalist and author Desmond Cole recently spoke about police brutality in Canada on CBC’s The Current.
"We are all falling victims to police brutality and it's being treated every time like a one-off, and it's very insulting to see that," Mr Cole said.
On The Current, Mr Coles questioned whether there would be this discussion in Toronto if Minneapolis “hadn't burned”.
Protests and demonstrations have been observed around the world. In Canada, those taking part are calling for justice for Regis Korchinski-Paquet, who died after falling from the 24th floor of her apartment in High Park on May 27 while police were present.
Ms Korchinski-Paquet’s family reportedly called the police due to a family dispute.
“The cops were supposed to come and de-escalate the situation, but how did some one end up dying in their care of the situation? It just doesn’t add up,” her brother Reece said.
The family of Ms Korchinski-Paquet has insisted she was thrown from the balcony, opposed to jumping, as the police allege.
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