January 31, 2017 5:15 pm
Updated: January 31, 2017 5:56 pm

Justin Trudeau accused of letting Donald Trump get away with racism and hatred

U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban is affecting dozens of students at the University of British Columbia.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has again avoided directly criticizing U.S. President Donald Trump, most recently side-stepping questions about the president’s travel ban.

Story continues below

Over the past few months, Trudeau has also dodged questions about the president’s sexist and lewd remarks caught on tape, who his preferred presidential candidate was and how Canada was planning to deal if the president follows through on his tough talk on border taxes.

Some opposition members are saying Trudeau’s played nice long enough, that he needs to stand up for Canadian values and denounce Trump’s recent order.

In his most sweeping decision since taking office Jan. 20, Trump on Friday signed an executive order putting an indefinite hold on allowing Syrian refugees into the United States, a four-month hold on accepting refugees from all other countries, and a three-month ban on travel for people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.

READ MORE: Donald Trump’s travel ban to take centre stage in House of Commons Tuesday

Trudeau’s initial response came in the form of a tweet sent Saturday afternoon that read, “To those fleeing persecution, terror and war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength.”

The warm message was well received across the country and beyond its borders. But federal opposition has since been asking Trudeau to criticize Trump’s edict, as other Western leaders have.

“A Canadian ally is blocking access to individuals based on their religion and their place of birth. The prime minister talks about the importance of standing up to intolerance and racism,” NDP leader Thomas Mulcair said during question period on Tuesday.

READ MORE: Justin Trudeau tweets messages of welcome to refugees as Trump travel ban sets in

“So why is he refusing to denounce this policy that breaches fundamental human rights and that will inevitably have consequences for Canada?”

WATCH: Thomas Mulcair slams Justin Trudeau for not denouncing U.S. travel ban on Muslim majority countries

Trudeau skipped over Mulcair’s invitation to pointedly reject Trump’s travel ban.

“We need to make sure that we are protecting Canadian jobs and growing the economy by having a constructive working relationship with our most important trade partner and ally,” Trudeau said. “And we’re also standing up for Canadian values and principles.”

WATCH: Spicer says Trump’s use of word ‘ban” doesn’t make his executive order a ban

After two days spent asking the prime minister to condemn Trump’s order, Mulcair was not satisfied.

“I’m sorry,” Mulcair said. “But it is always the role of a Canadian prime minister to stand up to racism and hatred.”

Leaders in other countries haven’t been as gracious as Trudeau; German Chancellor Angela Merkel denounced Trump’s order, saying it is “in no way justified,” while British Prime Minister Theresa May said she doesn’t agree with the travel ban while acknowledging the matter is one for Americans to debate.

WATCH: Arnold Schwarzenegger criticizes Trump’s immigrant ban says it makes U.S. ‘look stupid’

Back home, NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice said the prime minister should “be inspired” by the strong words and firm positions of May and Merkel.

“I think we have to stand up and say what are our principles and values about immigration … and be much more strong in the fact that we disagree with the decision of Mr. Trump,” he said Monday. “Blocking access to the United States form people in seven Muslim countries, I think it’s disgusting … It’s a kind of racism. It’s an idiocy and it’s not efficient at all to improve the safety of the United States.”

READ MORE: Donald Trump defends ‘extreme vetting’ as European leaders denounce US travel ban

Green Leader Elizabeth May echoed the sentiment, saying Trudeau’s tweet won’t mean much if it’s not backed up with action.

“Much more needs to be done to back up those words,” she said. “What matters is actions. Open up our doors. Let in more refugees.”

While calling for Trudeau to act on his words, however, May also acknowledged the prime minister is in a bit of a delicate situation with the new U.S. president’s policies.

“We are in the early days of figuring out how to deal with a reckless and dangerous president south of the border … I’m an opposition party leader, I can say that,” she said. “I don’t think our prime minister should say that because he has to establish a good working relationship with President Trump … I think Prime Minister Trudeau has a very delicate line to walk.”

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Report an error


Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.