Jagmeet Singh, the leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party, has accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of hypocrisy for failing to condemn US President Donald Trump’s response on the mass protests over the death of African-American man, George Floyd in police cutody.
“His (Trudeau) silence reveals hypocrisy,” Singh, a turbaned Sikh who is the first visible minority to lead a major national Canadian political party, said at a news conference here on Wednesday.
Trudeau fell silent for more than 20 seconds at a press conference on Tuesday when a reporter asked for his views on the US protests, reports Xinhua news agency.
He eventually said that Canadians were watching in horror what was going on in the US, but did not mention Trump directly.
Singh called Trump’s actions reprehensible, accusing the President of inflaming hatred and divisions, fuelling racism and putting people’s lives at risk.
Trump has lashed out at the protesters marching against Floyd’s death, calling them thugs and anarchists.
He also has threatened to use military forces to quell the demonstrations.
Singh said that “the Prime Minister of Canada has to call out the hatred and racism happening just south of the border, and if the Prime Minister can’t do that, how can everyday people be expected to stand up?”
Meanwhile, Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet said Trudeau should show more courage in the face of aggressive actions by a US leader, which are fuelling chaos on the country’s streets.
Blanchet said Trudeau was more inclined to accuse Canadians of being racist than to accuse Trump of being incendiary and provoking serious social tensions.
“Trudeau is much more inclined to accuse us collectively of all the vices,” he said.
“He didn’t have the courage to say the President of the US is once again throwing oil on a dangerous fire against people, most of them in a peaceful fashion, who express sadness, indignation, sorrow, anger, all of that being entirely legitimate,” Blanchet said.
In Trudeau’s defence, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said the Prime Minister’s answer to the Trump question was “excellent and eloquent”.
“I think that most important response of any Canadian political leader has to be to understand our own responsibility for what happens here in our own country,” she said.