February 3, 2017 12:44:47 am
While US President Donald Trump continues to defend the “extreme vetting” of the entry of Muslims from certain countries, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, stands out as a welcome contrast. Less than 72 hours after a mosque was attacked in Quebec, Trudeau slammed the conservative-leaning Fox News for falsely tweeting that the attacker was of “Moroccan origin”. In a post-Obama, post-truth North America, Trudeau’s simple act is bound to provide considerable solace.
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Ever since he won office in 2015, Trudeau has been the poster boy for a broad-minded West — with optics to match. He went personally to receive Syrian refugees, named a gender-balanced and ethnically diverse cabinet, agreed to have his country do its part to tackle climate change and has been seen in mosques, temples and gurdwaras — always appropriately dressed. He has danced both the bhangra and the garba, and been often photographed balancing babies and doing yoga. In a pre-Trump world, Trudeau was the subject of GIFs, memes and “listicles” — the feel-good formats of the social media age. Now, he has the opportunity to raise Canada to a position of global moral authority and provide an alternative, liberal model in opposition to an increasingly insular US state.
After Britain’s exit from the European Union and with Angela Merkel under pressure from the far-right opposition in Germany and the prospect of an anti-migrant Marine Le Pen government in France, Trudeau’s Canada may well end up being one of the last bastions of Western multiculturalism. So far, his tenure has been encouraging. He must continue to back up symbolic gestures with political and policy initiatives.
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