(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)
By: Candice Malcolm
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s hypocrisy was on full display this week in the House of Commons, as he was answering question on the topic of female genital mutilation (FGM).
FGM is the brutal cultural practice that mutilates a young woman’s genitals and has been carried out on an estimated 200 million girls and women worldwide — most prominently in North Africa and the Middle East.
News reports over the summer, however, revealed how FGM is increasingly practised in Canada, and that our border guards are on the lookout for tools commonly used by FGM practitioners.
As I reported exclusively in the Sun, the website Muslims in Calgary posted an article that justified and even encouraged this practice within the Islamic faith. Following my report, the organization quickly apologized and retracted the disturbing essay.
We know that FGM is practised in Canada, and we need tougher laws and more resources to protect young women at risk in our country.
This week, Calgary MP Michelle Rempel — who has been working tirelessly to combat this issue — asked the Prime Minister why his government wants to remove a warning against FGM in Canada’s citizenship guide.
The Trudeau government is reportedly in the process of rewriting Discover Canada — the citizenship guide given to all newcomers to study before taking the citizenship test. The current guide tells newcomers, in no uncertain terms, that barbaric cultural practices are not tolerated in Canada. The Liberals have hinted that they intend to remove this warning.
“Canada’s citizenship guide informs newcomers that FGM is a crime in Canada. However, Canada’s prime minister has decided to delete this information,” said Rempel, also noting that the United Nations condemns all types of FGM and considers the practice a human right’s violation.
Trudeau’s response to questions about FGM in Canada tells us a lot about our prime minister and his priorities. First, Trudeau boasted about how he “personally brought up this issue when I was in Liberia, challenging local leaders and governments to step up on the fight against FGM.”
So, Canada’s prime minister is concerned about FGM in Africa — where he challenges local leaders — but, here in Canada, he removes a warning against FGM and refuses to bring up the issue with local community leaders.
Next, Trudeau awkwardly said that his government is working to “end to these barbaric practices of female genital mutilation everywhere around the world.” Despite Trudeau’s odd priority to stop FGM in Liberia but not to address the growing concern at home, it was surprising to hear him condemn the practice as “barbaric.”
This is a complete reversal of his earlier stance, when he criticized conservatives for using the term barbaric to describe violent and misogynistic cultural practices like spousal abuse, FGM and so-called “honour killings.”
Back in 2011, Trudeau condemned the Tory government for calling these practices barbaric, saying it was “pejorative,” overly “judgmental,” and that the government should make an “attempt at responsible neutrality.”
Trudeau later apologized, but still refused to use the term “barbaric.”
On any given day, we don’t know which Justin Trudeau will show up to work. Is it the Trudeau that thinks FGM is barbaric or the Trudeau that thinks it’s wrong to call FGM barbaric?
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