A woman places a candle at a memorial site near a sign saying "no violence" and "terrorism has no religion or identity" following a vigil held in honour of the victims of a shooting in a Quebec mosque in Quebec City, Quebec Jan. 30, 2017. (Photo: Christinne Muschi/Reuters)
To deny that racism and prejudice and hatred don't exist, to some degree, everywhere in the world -- even here in tolerant, welcoming, peace-loving Canada -- is both naive and foolish. I see evidence of it myself, in the growing number of ugly comments left on my Huff Post blogs by Canadian Trump supporters.
But I don't think anyone can deny the negative impact that almost two years' worth of Donald Trump's anti-Mexican and Islamophobic comments, promises and threats has had on all those who are susceptible to his kind of reprehensible rhetoric.
And, of course, the cherry on top of the cake came last Friday when the most hateful man ever to take office closed U.S. borders to refugees from seven Muslim countries, an action that stranded even those with green cards. An action that, while it resulted in global condemnation, met with approval from all but 20 GOP lawmakers.
Maybe we asked for it.
So I suppose it was just a matter of time before the anger and discrimination sweeping across the United States would begin to rear its ugly head north of the border.
Maybe we asked for it, considering how sanctimonious we've been throughout the presidential race and election, complacently looking down our noses as one of the world's greatest super powers lost its way, basking in the glory of how "different" we are.
Sadly, not any more.
All I know is this past Sunday night at approximately 7:50 p.m. police in Quebec received several phone calls saying that shots had been fired in a mosque at the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Centre.
All I know is six people lost their lives, eight were wounded and 39 were unharmed.
Police officers are seen near a mosque after a shooting in Quebec City, Jan. 29, 2017. (Photo: Mathieu Belanger/Reuters)
Initially it was originally reported that two young men (in their 20s or early 30s) wearing masks were responsible. Both were arrested but it now turns out that only one (Alexandre Bissonnette) of the two is a suspect -- the other, it seems, was a witness.
A Quebec City Facebook group called Bienvenue aux refugie said Bissonnette "is unfortunately known to many activists in Quebec City for his positions on identity and his pro-Le Pen and anti-feminist stances at University Laval and on social networks." He's also a Trump fan apparently.
Ironically after President Donald Trump's ban on refugees went into effect, Prime Minister Trudeau took to social media to re-state our country's open-door policy -- since he's been in office we've welcomed almost 40,0000 Syrian refugees.
This is not who we are.
And then this happened. Shots fired for no reason, at innocent people in a mosque for evening prayers.
It matters not a whit whether or not Donald Trump influenced Alexandre Bissonnette. What matters is that neither Donald Trump or Alexandre Bissonnette reflect Canada's beliefs or values. Which is why Prime Minister Trudeau and, in fact, all Canadians must condemn this act; and we must also stand up to Donald Trump and condemn his actions.
Not a proud day for Canada or Canadians, that's for damn sure. Let's hope and pray we never see another like it. This is not who we are.
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