Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to Washington came just weeks after a Canadian man shot dead six people at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City. The shooter, Alexandre Bissonnette, was a supporter of Donald Trump and far-right-wing French politician Marine Le Pen. Trudeau condemned the massacre as an act of terrorism. Donald Trump, however, made no comment about the attack. We speak to Clayton Thomas-Muller about the rise of racism in Canada.
AMY GOODMAN: As we begin to wrap up, there was a very interesting question asked by a Canadian journalist to Trudeau and Trump. She said, “President Trump, you seem to suggest that Syrian refugees are a Trojan horse for potential terrorism, while the prime minister hugs refugees and welcomes them with open arms. So I’d like to know, are you confident the northern border is secure?” Clayton Thomas-Muller, your response? As President Trump talks about building a wall on the southern border, she’s saying, “What are you going to do about the northern border, if we accept refugees, and you call them terrorists, and they’re coming into the United States?”
CLAYTON THOMAS-MULLER: Look, I think Canada is no different than any other country in the world dealing with radicalism. You know, we just had a radical Christian fundamentalist terrorist attack in Quebec City against a mosque just the other day. The Trump administration, Sean Spicer, quoted it as being a suspect of Moroccan descent, when really—the reality of it was that it was white Christian fundamentalism responsible for this terror attack. I think that, you know, Canada, just like any other country in the world, has its own challenges to deal with, as far as security. However, I think that exacerbating tensions in the Middle East, perpetuating hatred against Islam, you know, these are all textbook ways of how not to address the problem of radicalism, may it be Islamic, Christian or Zionist or any other form of it. [inaudible] that, you know, again, like I said, our prime minister has a chance to be a hero in the rise of tyranny, and he needs to do better, and Canadians expect him to do better. Certainly, First Nations expect the most of him, you know, in how he conducts himself, especially on the Keystone XL pipeline and the issues in Standing Rock.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And finally, Clayton, I wanted to ask you, you mentioned the attack in the mosque in Quebec. We’ve seen in many European countries the rise of right-wing populist movements, a lot of them anti-immigrant in nature. What is happening among Canadians? Is there the—are you seeing the rise of a populist right-wing movement in that country, which has always had a tolerant viewpoint toward immigration?
CLAYTON THOMAS-MULLER: No, I think that, you know, one plus one equals two. You know, the rise of fascism, the rise of Islamophobia and blatant white supremacy and patriarchy in the United States, in the president of the United States, has had a dramatic impact on emboldening racists here in Canada, emboldening radical white Christians here in Canada. You know, this is—this is one and one make two. And that’s why, you know, for us, we continue to hammer on the prime minister that, you know, on matters of climate denialism, on matters of xenophobia, Canadians expect more of our government. And our government and Canada’s international image has always been one of human rights defender, even when they haven’t even done a good job at that, but, you know, they’ve always perpetuated that image. And I think that it’s important that Justin Trudeau, you know, walk lightly as he moves forward in how deep he decides to get in bed with Donald Trump.
AMY GOODMAN: Clayton Thomas-Muller, we want to thank you for joining us, leading organizer and writer on environmental justice, indigenous rights, with the “Stop It at the Source” campaigner at 350.org. He’s a member of the Mathias Colomb Cree Nation in Northern Manitoba, Canada—Treaty 6 territory.
This is Democracy Now! When we come back, a story you may not hear very much about in the mainstream media, because it’s about the media and laws around the internet. Stay with us.