"All of us as political leaders need to do everything we can to get back to bringing people together, to listen to each other," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says as he addresses antisemitism and Islamophobia in Canada amid the Israel-Hamas war.#cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/33wlcc6gPY
— CPAC (@CPAC_TV) November 8, 2023
Justin Trudeau renewed calls for a wider humanitarian pause in the Middle East and raised concerns over increasing anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in Canada as he spoke to reporters in Ottawa on Wednesday.
Trudeau’s comments come after a Jewish community centre in Montreal was hit by Molotov cocktails earlier this week.
Hank Topas, our Quebec Regional Director, spoke on CBC this morning about the Montreal Jewish community’s reaction to the Molotov cocktail thrown at Beth Tikvah synagogue yesterday morning.
“The reaction within the community has been unity,” he said, adding that there is no act… pic.twitter.com/edLPDccGWZ
— B'nai Brith Canada (@bnaibrithcanada) November 8, 2023
“Targeting Jewish businesses, targeting Jewish daycares, with hate. This needs to stop. This is not who we are as Canadians. This is something that is not acceptable in Canada. Period,” said Trudeau emphatically.
The prime minister went on to condemn the rise of hatred towards Muslims across the world and implored Canadian leaders to work on bringing communities together.
“The expressions of hate against Muslims, against Palestinians, against anyone waving a Palestinian flag. This is unacceptable. This is not who we are as Canadians.”
“All of us as political leaders need to do everything we can to get back to bringing people together, to listen, to understand that there are people across this country hurting, scared for themselves, scared for their kids here in Canada, scared for their loved ones on the other side of the world and no sign of it getting better anytime soon,” Trudeau added.
While Trudeau’s concern over the growing division among Canadians given the recent events in Gaza is valid, the lack of intent and action from their government in pushing for an immediate ceasefire is what many Canadians are unable to look past.
A sentiment that resonated in the comments section under the Instagram post by the National Council of Canadian Muslims, who shared a clip from his interview with reporters in Ottawa.
“A lot of talk no action,” commented a user.
“Well if he cares sooooo much, call for a FRIGGIN CEASEFIRE!!!!” added another.
“Why does it sound like a memorized script?” questioned a third.
“No sh*t, Sherlock. Genocide does that. It scares the sh*t out of people. Because when you can allow a nation to do that to humans how is anyone safe? So what are you doing about it?” read another comment.
On Twitter, the calls grew even louder with many urging the Canadian prime minister to take off his politician's hat and think of the crisis as a human.
Trudeau needs to stop thinking in political calculus and start thinking as a humanitarian. Ceasefire now! https://t.co/hSlm13TqSP
— Kyle Anderson (@DrKyle) November 8, 2023
Human rights group @justiceforallcn is calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to support a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.@michaelserapio speaks with the group’s spokesperson, Ahmad Al-Qadi.
Watch the entire interview: https://t.co/2LnVxdkmBL#cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/6JxTF5ea0m
— PrimeTime Politics (@PTP_CPAC) November 8, 2023
Others drew contrasts between Canadian politicians and Belgium leadership, who are calling on their government to adopt sanctions against Israel and investigate the bombings of hospitals and refugee camps in Gaza.
meanwhile Justin Trudeau can't even say "ceasefire" https://t.co/bcfDkGFmzV
— 🍉 (@im_caelli) November 8, 2023
Meanwhile, the City of Burnaby in British Columbia became the first Canadian municipality to pass a motion asking the federal government to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, increasing pressure on the Liberal government to act now.
Tonight, Burnaby council unanimously supported a motion calling on the Canadian government to support a ceasefire in Gaza. I have heard from people in the community who are pleading for elected officials from all levels to speak up and take a stand. Canada must act now.
— Daniel Tetrault (@danieltetrault) November 7, 2023
The discussion around Trudeau’s hesitance to call for a humanitarian pause instead of a ceasefire grew even more intense after a clip showing Trudeau stopping himself from calling for a ceasefire during a press address went viral online.
“We need to see a cease– uh we need to see a humanitarian pause so we can flow. Uh we need ceasing of the level of violence that we are seeing.”
“Cease... humanitarian pause.”
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau backtracks after almost calling for a ceasefire in Israeli-bombarded Gaza — immediately switching his wording to “humanitarian pause” — during a press conference following a meeting with US President Joe Biden on November… pic.twitter.com/mkPcsHFQWZ
— TRT World (@trtworld) November 6, 2023
Why 'humanitarian pauses' doesn't offer much relief
Oxfam Canada Director of Policy and Campaigns Diana Sarosi told Yahoo News Canada "pauses" — as pushed for by different governments — aren't much help.
"The pause is not enough," Sarosi shared emphatically. "Firstly, what does that even mean? A few hours a day? A couple of days? So it's really impossible to prepare for a response when the roads are bombed and there is no water or fuel. We really need a ceasefire.
"There are a lot of civilians who have already died. Many are injured and too many on the brink of starvation. Every day counts. We can't wait any longer."
On the contrary, Trudeau says the humanitarian pauses will de-escalate the situation in the Middle East.
"A humanitarian pause is going to allow all the hostages to be released, allow us to continue doing the world of getting all foreign nationals out of Gaza," the PM told reporters in Ottawa on Wednesday.
"A pause long enough to … begin doing the work of de-escalating the situation," he added.