#CanadaPM; #JustinTrudeau; #21SecondSilence; #DonaldTrump; #Violence
Ottawa, Jun 5 (Canadian-Media): Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's 21-second pause June 2 before replying to a reporter's question about how U.S. President Donald Trump was handling nationwide protests against police violence, was criticized June 4 by the Civil rights leader Al Sharpton, media reports said.
Justin Trudeau. Image credit: Official site
Trudeau's 21-second pause June 2 was widely watched in the U.S. and profiled in the New York Times.
After a long and uncomfortable pause, Trudeau replied to the reporter by not criticizing Trump by name. He only said that Canada is watching in "horror" the recent events in the U.S.
He avoided answering questions about whether his answer was meant to avoid a diplomatic rift with Trump.
Sharpton, a Baptist minister, and TV talk show host has been applauded for his civil rights activism but also been accused of his controversial remarks, including anti-Semitic comments.
At a press conference earlier June 4, Trudeau was asked repeatedly why he took so long to answer a question about Trump's threat to use military force against protesters demonstrating against Floyd's death in police custody, Trudeau said he was defending Canada's interests.
"My job as prime minister is to stand up for Canadians' values, to express those values, and to ensure that I'm standing up for Canadians' interests as well," he said. "And I'm defending those interests" and said his job is to stand up for Canadians' values and interests.
George Floyd, who met with death by a cruel policeman, was mourned and celebrated at Minneapolis memorial service on June 4.
"How many funerals do we have to have before we change the laws and we have accountability? I'm going to preach to this family that we're going to make sure that George Floyd did not die in vain," Sharpton said in an interview with Radio-Canada in Minneapolis.
"The time has made the moment of change in America. And I'm going to express that in my eulogy. And since you're from Canada, I won't have a 21-second gap before I say what I have to say."
Trudeau said systemic racism is not a uniquely American problem and Canada has its own sordid history of discrimination. He vowed to do more to fight anti-black racism in Canada.
"We have done much, hand in hand, with the black community over these past years on supporting them, on reducing barriers, but we realize there is much more to do here in Canada, right across the country. We will continue to do that work," Trudeau said during the conference on June 4.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet have both criticized Trudeau's response to Trump.
While speaking to the reporters on June 3, Singh said that many times when he was bullied as a child, he did not get any support and witnessed bystanders passing by silently.
This silence, said Singh had a long-lasting effect on him.
He does not want people to be silent or passive bystanders.
Singh said for too long people have been "passive bystanders," which had lead to hate and racism to flourish. People in positions of power, such as the prime minister, must lead by example, he said.