All Eyes on You Canada

By: Laura Steiner

The world’s gaze has turned to Canada now.  Arguably it’s been that way since November 9, 2016 and Donald Trump took office.   Questions surrounded the relationship between the two countries.  How are these two men going to get along on a personal level? What do their government agendas have in common?  Could Canada survive without NAFTA if they needed to? It’s been a case of “so-far, so good” on all of these counts at least until last weekend.

Friday, Trump signed an executive order banning Muslims from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya and Yemen.  Approximately 35,000 Canadians hold dual citizenship in one of those countries, and by Saturday their fates were in question.  The answer came late Saturday night that dual citizens from Canada would not affected, and that our government was seeking clarification.

Sunday afternoon the Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen gave a press conference.  Hussen came to Canada as a refugee from Somalia when he was 16 years old.  He is a proud Canadian telling the group of reporters “I’m a Canadian Citizen.  I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t be able to travel to the US.”  It wasn’t so much what he said, it was his tone.   It was as if he was daring someone to try and stop him.

Then Sunday night’s events took over.  A shooter attacked a Quebec City mosque killing five people, wounding 11 more.  A sixth person has died, and several injured are in critical condition.  It’s being treated as a terrorist attack by both police, and politicians.  In Parliament was a show of unity; statements from all party leaders condemning the attack.  All vowed to keep Canada an open society.  All voiced support for Canada’s Muslim community.

The differences between Canada and the USA have never been more stark.  Canadians have admitted that our country has been built on immigration.  We are wise enough to realize what riches we have.  Why not share them?  We have the right to worship, and speak how we will, why not introduce it to others, and allow them the same freedoms?  This country takes a lot of work, but it’s definitely worth it.

Donald Trump has only capitalized on growing divisions within America.  He promised to introduce a “Muslim ban” on the campaign trail, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that he’s done it.  The total ignorance of how such an action would impact the rest of the world is surprising,, as is the use of the incident in Quebec City to justify it.

Eyes turn back to Canada.  What would Justin Trudeau say to the use of a terrorist attack in his country as justification for the travel ban?  He’s allowed his actions to do the talking.  He’s the one who shuffled a Somali-Canadian into the role of Immigration Minister.  He’s the one who shuffled a Ukrainian-Canadian woman barred from entering Russia into the role at Foreign Affairs.  The compassionate attitude Canadians are known for starts at the top.