PM Trudeau, other leaders condemn white supremacy in wake of Trump's refusal to do so
OTTAWA -- U.S. President Donald Trump refused to condemn white supremacy during his debate against former U.S. vice-president Joe Biden on Tuesday.
Now, Canada's political leaders are all speaking out against the issue of white supremacy — one that many acknowledged is present in Canada too.
"The Prime Minister has condemned and will continue to condemn right-wing extremism, white supremacy and racism in all its forms," read a statement from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office, sent to CTVNews.ca Wednesday.
"In Canada, we’re not immune to extremism that not only divides our communities, but threatens the safety of Canadians."
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole echoed the clear condemnation of white supremacy.
"I categorically condemn white supremacy and all forms of hate. In the military, I served all Canadians. Now as Leader, I continue to serve all Canadians," he said in a statement sent to CTVNews.ca.
"Hatred, including white supremacy, has no place in Canada."
The comments come in sharp contrast to the ones Trump made during Tuesday’s debate.
During the debate, Trump was asked whether he condemns white supremacist groups and the violence they participated in during summer protests. He refused to do so, opting instead to brand it solely a "left-wing" problem and even telling one far-right hate group to "stand back and stand by."
Trump walked back the remarks on Wednesday, telling the group to "stand down."
The far-right group Trump refused to condemn was first founded in Canada and has since taken root in the United States — which is something Interim Green Party Leader Jo-Ann Roberts made a point to mention in the statement she sent to CTVNews.ca.
"Canada is not immune to this kind of hate and we must urgently examine and combat the rise of violent hate groups within our own borders," Roberts said.
"Canadian leaders have a responsibility to condemn hate, bigotry and white supremacy and, as Interim Leader of the Green Party of Canada, I do so unequivocally."
Meanwhile, some other party leaders took aim at Trump directly. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh blasted the U.S. president during a Wednesday press conference.
"He was so dismissive about the idea of white supremacy, something that should be obvious that yes, it's a massive problem and it divides people and it hurts people," Singh said.
"The fact that he couldn't say that and on top of that, he effectively endorsed a right wing, violent group…is appalling. His behaviour's appalling."
Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet also took aim at Trump in a statement emailed to CTVNews.ca, saying Trump was being "divisive" and fed into racism.
"Racism, in all its forms, is vile and dangerous, especially white supremacy. It leads to violence, hatred and pain," Blanchet said.
"We have the sacred duty to fight it with information and education, not to feed it as did President Trump during the debate. By [his] divisive attitude, the American president reminded us that equality is a value that we should never take for granted."
With files from The Associated Press