The (very) late awakening of Justin Trudeau


We were already in disbelief.

This Friday, several days after the despicable beheading in France of Samuel Paty – a teacher who had shown the Muhammad caricatures of Charlie hebdo in a course on free speech – canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau made a big mistake.

“We will always stand up for freedom of expression,” he said, “but freedom of expression is not without limits.”

And to add: “In a pluralist, diverse and respectful society like ours, we must be aware of the impact of our words, of our actions, on others, particularly these communities, these populations who live. a lot of discrimination again ”.

Technically, strictly speaking, the question of possible limits on freedom of expression, he is right. The criminal code provides for it. The Canadian Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, also:

However, in a very specific context like the sordid murder of Samuel Paty, perpetrated in the name of violent Islamism, Justin Trudeau’s refusal to condemn this heinous act without the slightest “but” was devastating.

First, the Prime Minister speaks for all of Canada. In doing so, he severely dissociated himself from France and its President, Emmanuel Macron.

Deuxio, with his “but” he created the impression that the real victim would somehow be responsible for his own tragic fate.

It almost makes you wonder if he really understood the gravity of his own words as prime minister of a democratic state and ally of France.

A national disgrace. On the international scene, a major embarrassment.

Spectacular turn of events

This Tuesday, drama.

President Macron telephones Prime Minister François Legault to thank him for “Quebec’s support in the defense of freedom of expression”.

It should be remembered that Mr. Legault did not hesitate to condemn the murder of Samuel Paty without the slightest “but”. And in doing so, to stand up for free speech without anyone being the object of a reaction, intimidation, threats or worse.

Dixit M. Legault:

“In a democratic society like ours, we must not bow to the intimidation and violence of those who disagree with freedom of expression. If we start to compromise on this, we shake the foundations of our society. The French nation is our ally and even a little more than that. She can count on us. Quebec is alongside France to defend freedom of expression. “

A masterful diplomatic slap

In political terms, this phone call from the President of the Republic is a real diplomatic slap to Prime Minister Trudeau. Obviously, deserved.

That the head of a national state goes through the premier of Quebec to send a roundabout criticism to the one who, in fact, is his real hierarchical counterpart – the Prime Minister of Canada – only adds humiliation by slapping.

Questioned then at a press briefing, Justin Trudeau changed his refrain completely.

Clear and precise proof that Macron’s blow had struck quickly and precisely where he wanted it.

One day, in political science classes, this very particular event will be taught and finely analyzed, I’m sure. A masterful lesson in politically incorrect diplomacy and formidably effective.

Justin Trudeau was then questioned by our colleague Raymond Fillion: “Do you condemn the publication of the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad?”

Response from Justin Trudeau:

“No. I think it’s important that we continue to stand up for freedom of expression. It’s still important. Our artists, our columnists, make us think, challenge us, have an extremely important contribution to our society. We will always stand up for freedom of expression. “

Pouf! By magic, his disturbing “but” has just disappeared.

The problem is, Justin Trudeau’s awakening to such a fundamental issue is woefully late.

All the more so as he follows the humiliation that the President of France has just inflicted on him.

Will the Canadian Prime Minister learn the lesson, however painful and public it may be?

Only time will tell.


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