On Sunday night, a young white nationalist named Alexandre Bissonette entered a Quebec City mosque during prayer service and unleashed a hail of gunfire killing six people and injuring eight. Our nation is shocked, horrified, and saddened. These kinds of things aren’t supposed to happen here. This is not our country.
In 1982 Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau signed the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms into law. It was a piece of legislation that will forever be regarded as the hallmark of his legacy. It was entirely his idea. He created the political will and momentum to put things in motion, negotiating with the premiers and party leaders. Because of this charter, Pierre Trudeau will always be regarded as one of our greatest PMs.
The charter ensures that all citizens of this country regardless of their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or physical ability are afforded the same fundamental human rights and that they are enforced to the highest standard of the law. It’s why Canada is a world leader when it comes to personal rights and freedoms. We are a true mosaic society whereas The United States is a melting pot; you go to the US and become an American, but if you come to Canada you become a Canadian and you can still be a Muslim and speak Arabic, and no one can ever tell you differently because our charter protects you from discrimination and harm. In this county, diversity is our strength.
The events that happened in Quebec City on January 29 are not our country. There is a sickness growing within us. It’s a malicious disease that prays on fear and hatred, and although we are a beacon of acceptance and social progression we’re not immune to it.
It comes from the south, from the vile administration of Donald Trump and his Islamaphobic, protectionist, fascist, xenophobic, bigoted administration. Now that someone of such a sick mind has attained the highest office of power, the disease of hate has spread into the minds of the people causing those with hateful attitudes to feel that now it’s okay to be openly racist and finally act on their heinous opinions. In Canada, the charter should inoculate us against this plague, but hate and fear can live inside the heart of anyone and in the heart of young Alexandre it thrived.
We across Canada condemn this senseless act of violence as an act of terror wholly contrary to our way of life. We take great pride in accepting people from all races and creeds into our nation, giving them a safer and more prosperous place to build their lives. Whether they’re seeking refugee status from war-torn nations like Syria, or if they’re coming from stable superpowers like Japan, we welcome them all. It’s our single greatest strength.
We also condemn any attempt to pin this violence onto the Muslim community. They are the victims, gunned down in their time of worship when they are most vulnerable. Make no mistake, white nationalism caused this violence and not Islam.
We blame this on the disease of fear and hatred that has grown so quickly since Fuhrer Trump set foot on the campaign trail. We will not stand for this. We will fight it at every turn. We will not let the disease win because that is not our country.