POLITICS

Canada's Federal Leaders Slow To Condemn Trump's Latest Anti-Muslim Tweets

2017 is weird.

11/30/2017 20:51 EST | Updated 11/30/2017 20:51 EST
Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump participate in the National Christmas Tree Lighting and Pageant of Peace ceremony on the Ellipse near the White House on Nov. 30, 2017.

OTTAWA — U.S. President Donald Trump retweeted a series of inflammatory anti-Muslim videos on Wednesday, an action that's apparently become so normalized, no federal Canadian party leader immediately responded.

Trump's decision to retweet videos shared by Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of the U.K.'s ultranational Britain First party, prompted that country's prime minister to make a rare rebuke.

"It is wrong for the president to have done this," Theresa May said in a statement.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office did not reference Trump by name on Thursday in its response to a question about the president's latest incendiary endorsement of a controversial figure.

"As the prime minister has always said, we are made stronger because of our diversity," spokesman Cameron Ahmad told HuffPost Canada.

"We have been clear with Canadians that our government will always promote the values of openness, diversity and inclusion here in Canada and around the world. These values are not only enshrined in our Charter of Rights: They are fundamental to who we are as a country."

'Facts do matter'

Trump courted backlash after retweeting three videos from Fransen, all depicting Muslims committing acts of violence. Other countries have waded in.

The Netherlands embassy in the U.S. responded to one of the videos titled "Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!" with some terse words.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May told HuffPost Canada that Trump should have known better.

"When PM Theresa May is forced to rebuke Donald Trump for inciting hatred, even Trump should know he has gone too far. President Trump should apologize," May said. "It will serve him well to learn how."

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh also weighed in a day later, and was the only federal leader to proactively do so.

The Bloc Québécois did not have an official statement about the videos. And Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer did not respond to HuffPost Canada's request for comment before publication.

With NAFTA renegotiations underway and North Korea's advancing missile program, the prime minister has been careful with his approach to Trump and U.S.-Canada relations.

Trudeau, who has visited the president at the White House twice this year, has tempered his criticism of Trump over the years.

At a town hall hosted by Maclean's Magazine after the 2015 election, Trudeau was asked what he'd say to Trump ― who had just called for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S.

The Washington Post via Getty Images
President Donald Trump listens to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Oval Office of the White House on Oct. 11, 2017.

Trudeau said at the time, without referring to Trump by name, "If we allow politicians to succeed by scaring people, we don't actually end up any safer. Fear doesn't make us safer. It makes us weaker."

This past June, the topic was brought up again to the prime minister who was asked about the reality TV star-turned president's fondness for tweeting.

"There's no question that the way the president chooses to speak directly to people through social media is a new wrinkle in international diplomacy," he said at the time.

On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders doubled down and defended the president by saying the videos show how the president is bringing renewed discussion about extreme violence and terrorism.

She explained during a press briefing, "I think what he's done is elevate the conversation to talk about a real issue and threat."

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