Arindam Shivaani / NurPhoto via Getty Photos
It is not often that Justin Trudeau is apprehended without speaking.
But when asked the Canadian prime minister what he thought of President Trump’s actions to stop a wave of protests across the US, Trudeau paused before responding – within 21 seconds as cameras recorded his surprise or silence.
During a news conference Tuesday in front of his residence in Ottawa, the prime minister raised this question from a reporter:
“You are reluctant to comment on the words and actions of the president of the United States. But now we have Donald Trump calling for military action against the protesters. We saw protesters ripped in yesterday to take action. way for a presidential photo-op. I want to ask you what you think about it. And, if you don’t want to comment, what message do you think you’re sending? “
Before responding, the prime minister, playing a beard and thinning hair since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, glanced at his lectern, opened his mouth as if speaking – then calmed down, changed his weight and pronounced a slightly heard “um” like the birds running in the background.
“We are all watching the horror and constitution of what is happening in the United States,” he finally said. “It’s time to pull people in, but it’s time to listen.
“It’s time to find out what has been going on in the face of injustice over the years and decades. But it is time for us as Canadians to recognize that we too have challenges,” he said. .
“Black Canadians and Canadians face discrimination as a living reality every single day,” Trudeau continued. “There is systematic discrimination in Canada, which means our systems treat Canadians of color, Canadians of color, as much as they do others.”
Trudeau has typically shown caution in Trump’s actions, taking into account the centrality of relations with the United States and Canada and their huge cross-border economic dependence.
Canada in recent days has seen relatively small, peaceful protests in solidarity with US demonstrations that erupted last week with the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, Minn. On the contrary, protests in US cities are generally much larger and are often eroded by clashes between police and activists.
Canadian protests in support of Black Lives Matter have sprung up in Montreal, Halifax, Toronto and Regina, the capital of Saskatchewan province.
At a protest in Regina on Tuesday, where hundreds of people gathered, one of the organizers, Faith Olanipekun, told the CBC that, “Many people here think Canada is not racist.”
“So it’s important that we go out, express our concerns and let people know that we are suffering in Canada just as people in the United States are suffering,” Olanipekun said.