Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paused for what seemed like an eternity-- a long 21 seconds to be precise when asked for his reaction on US President Donald Trump with regard to violence following the killing of African-American George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis.
Following his long pause at the daily media briefing on the COVID-19 crisis, Trudeau refused to directly name Trump in his response and instead focused on race relations in Canada.
Trudeau said that everyone was watching with “horror and consternation at what is going on in the United States.” He went on to add that this was a time to “pull people together” and to “listen and learn” when injustices continue despite progress over years and decades.”
The Canadian prime minister was once again prompted about Trump, but he did not name the US president. He said that there was a need to look at Canadian institutions and “ensure that those barriers that may be invisible to many of us but are far too present for black Canadians and racialized Canadians, are addressed.”
Trudeau said, “I’m not here today to describe a reality I do not know or speak to a pain I have not felt. I want you to know that our government is listening.” However, he acknowledged that there was systematic discrimination against minorities in Canada.
After protests erupted in the United States, Canada also witnessed protests in cities like Toronto and Montreal.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump on Monday threatened to deploy US military troops in towns and cities where local authorities failed to stop the violence, looting and vandalism that have accompanied protests, which he described as “terror."
George Floyd's murder in America is not an isolated case. The police are known to be discriminatory against people of colour. Racial hate crimes are rampant and the internet is flooded with videos of open racism in subways, restaurants, and the streets.
The first response to COVID-19 in the US was not wearing masks, it was calling people of Asian descent "virus."