Justin Trudeau said that, back in July, when he was asked about his government paying $10 million to Omar Khadr. It’s a quote: “The Charter protects all Canadians, everyone of us, even when it is uncomfortable.”
And here’s what Justin Trudeau said three months later, when the Quebec Legislature passed a racist law, a “law” that everyone agrees targets Muslim women: “It’s not up to the federal government to challenge this.” That’s a quote, too.
Stirring words about the Charter back then, mealy-mouth cowardice now. What’s changed?
Well, time has gone by. To be sure. In that time, the planet’s leading Islamophobe, Donald Trump, has made serial attempts to pass similarly anti-Muslim laws. During that time, however, Justin Trudeau has made clear he disagrees with Trump. “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada,” he tweeted, the first time Trump tried to bar refugees from Muslim countries.
In recent months, too, expressions of hatred targeting Muslims (and Jews, and others) has surged in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. Right around the time Trudeau was giving everyone a civics lesson about the Constitution, in fact, Statistics Canada revealed that hate crimes against Muslims had exploded by 60 per cent, when compared to previous years. The problem has gotten worse, not better.
So, Trudeau’s whiplash-inducing reversal on the applicability of the Charter to difficult cases isn’t because of (a) the passage of time, or (b) because things have gotten any easier for Muslims. No, it has to be something else.
All it can be, of course, is this: seats. Quebec has 78, and Justin Trudeau won 40 of them in 2015. He thinks that, if his government challenges the National Assembly’s indisputably racist law, he’ll lose some or all of those seats. That’s the only reason he isn’t matching his previously-inspiring words with action.
Talk minus action equals zero, one of my Canadian punk rock friends like to say, and that is what Justin Trudeau and his government presently amount to: zero.
Either you believe in the Constitution, or you don’t. Either you believe people have an inalienable right to peacefully express their deepest religious views, or you don’t. Either you are against hatred, or you aren’t.
You know what makes me want to puke about all this? It’s that, in the months he has been in power, not even a racist like Donald Trump has dared to pass a law telling women what they can wear. Not even him.
I am so disgusted by the federal Liberal Party – by its gutlessness, by its venality, by its dishonesty – that words (almost) fail me.
Oh, and for you Liberals who are moved to write in, and defend what Justin Trudeau has done because of politics: don’t bother. Because, when a veil-wearing Muslim Mom with two little kids is kicked off a Quebec City bus in January, when it is forty below, your fucking bullshit about “politics” isn’t going to keep her and her kids very warm, is it? No, it isn’t.
Somewhere, this morning, Donald Trump is reading his clippings, and nodding.
“Attaboy, Justin,” he’s saying. “Attaboy.”