(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)
Is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau up for the serious task of combatting terrorism in Canada?
Judging by his response to this week’s stunning revelation of ISIS supporters working at the Montreal airport, Canadians could be forgiven for believing Trudeau is not.
When asked by a reporter if individuals expressing extremist views should be allowed to continue working at our country’s airports, Trudeau’s response was remarkable for its lack of clarity and courage.
“I think that's part of the kind of conversations we have to have as a society,” said Trudeau.
“Keeping people safe is paramount important, but defending our rights and freedoms is as well, and making sure we do that in the right way.”
You can’t make this stuff up. Trudeau wants to have a national conversation about whether terrorist sympathizers and ISIS supporters should be able to work in strategic locations at our national airports.
He wants us to consider the rights and freedoms of terrorist sympathizers and ISIS supporters in order to strike the right balance between our safety and their freedom to do what? Support jihad?
Trudeau is becoming a parody of an apologetic leftist who believes terrorism is our fault and zealous Islamists and jihadists are simply misunderstood.
We’ve seen this sort of weak-kneed response from Trudeau before, in his early days in politics.
In 2011, Trudeau spoke out against the then Harper government for its use of the term “barbaric” in a new Canadian citizenship guide.
The guide told newcomers that, “Canada’s openness and generosity do not extend to barbaric cultural practices that tolerate spousal abuse, ‘honour killings’, female genital mutilation, forced marriage or other gender-based violence.”
Trudeau said that was “too harsh” and urged the government to make an “attempt at responsible neutrality”.
He eventually apologized and walked back his comment, after he was heavily and rightfully criticized.
In 2013, Trudeau again told us what he really thinks.
Following the Boston Marathon bombings by radical Islamists, he said we need to look at the “root causes” of terrorism.
“There is no question that this happened because there is someone who feels completely excluded,” Trudeau said in an interview with the CBC’s Peter Mansbridge.
“And our approach has to be, okay, where do those tensions come from?”
Rather than unequivocally condemning terrorism and violence, Trudeau’s responses fall in a murky, grey area.
Even as Prime Minister, Trudeau doesn’t seem to have it in him to unequivocally denounce Islamists and would-be jihadists.
Instead, he seems to prefer trying to understand the social aspects of terrorism and consider the terrorists’ feelings.
But when it comes to the safety and security of Canadians, it’s a black and white issue.
Particularly in protecting our national airports – a known target of Islamic State radicals.
We don’t need to ponder how to protect the rights and freedoms of those who want to kill us and replace our Western civilization with a theocratic Islamist dictatorship.
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