Justin Trudeau held himself a town hall in Regina this week and, as usual, it didn’t go all that well.
In a room at the University of Regina on Thursday, Trudeau hosted the second town hall in as many days (the first was in Kamloops, B.C.) and faced a litany of questions from the Saskatchewanians.
Heading into this years election the anger in the air is palpable, especially in the West. Whether it be over the actions taken at the Wet’suwet’ en Nation protest, inaction over pipeline construction, the carbon tax file, the Saudi arms deal, or whatever, it seems that one of the few things most western Canadians can agree on is there is something to dislike the prime minister over—if it’s deserved or not is a whole separate discussion.
Now, if we get that prime minister into a university room and give those people a chance to ask a question, it’s no shock that it’s going to go poorly. Whether it be a man asking him “what year are you going to remove your dad's microphones and cameras out of our electronics that are all throughout our homes, our offices, and our bedrooms?” or another taking him to task for his stance on pipe and steel tarrifs and the TransCanada pipeline, there was plenty to write about from the evening. As usual, though, the one question that caught people’s eye was focused on immigration.
This was true at the previous night’s townhall in Kamloops as well. Here Trudeau was asked about Syrian refugees policy in connection to the murder of a young girl by a Syrian refugee in 2017. Trudeau responded by saying “to set up a false dichotomy that says, well part of everything we need to do to keep Canadians safe is to keep people from away out of this country, is simply not the way we are as Canadians.”
In Regina though, the man, at first, seemed to attempt to kinda walk around his point as he rambled on about freedom, Europe and those who fought tyranny for a while but eventually got to the point when Trudeau asked him to clarify. “The people are saying ‘no,’ because these two cultures will not mix,” the man responded. Trudeau than asked what cultures he was talking about and received “Islam and Christianity” as an answer.
Obviously, I don’t need to write a long response in regards to why this notion is wrong but know that hate crimes have been going up against Muslims steadily and immigrants/refugees commit crimes at a lower rate than “old-stock” Canadians."
After he finished his comment the crowd began booing the man but Trudeau sharply quieted them by saying “democracy only works in a country like Canada if people are free to express their fears, their concerns, their opinions, and we get an opportunity to respond to them.” To this, the man responded by adding that “they’ve openly stated they want to kill us. And you’re letting them in.
In his response, Trudeau gave a lengthy talk in which he touched on post-war Italian immigrants to Montreal, the Syrian refugee program, and how immigrants are needed and wanted in Canada. The prime minister also said that one of the reasons Canadians are more accepting of refugees than other places in the world is the people’s belief in the country's immigration system but he understands that some are concerned.
“There are always reasons to be concerned and reasons to be worried about someone different arriving in your neighbourhood, but what Canadians know is that it’s better for all of us if we’re good neighbours,” Trudeau said. “It’s better for all of us if you’re looking out for your neighbour if you’re understanding that we all build this success together.”
He added that he believes the Canadian immigration and refugee system works through “security checks and screenings when people come in. Whether they arrive in the regularly through an airport or whether they cross through the border at the United States in an irregular way as is happening more often these days than ever before.” Trudeau then adamantly stated that Canada does not have an “open door policy” and concluded by saying Canada benefits from immigration and “it will continue to.”
You know, Trudeau probably wouldn’t get these kinds of questions if he did one-on-one sit-downs from journalists. But then again, he probably wouldn’t get the chance to look good shooting down anti-immigrant questions unless we gave those one-on-ones to Sun Media columnists.
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