In his first public remarks on the increasingly fractious debate over diversity in this country, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Maxime Bernier’s tweets on “extreme multiculturalism” are just the latest display of the Conservative Party’s penchant for the “politics of division.”
Asked about Bernier’s condemnation of the Liberals for embracing ever more diversity, Trudeau said the Conservative party “hasn’t changed much since the time of Stephen Harper.”
The remark was an apparent reference to the party’s electioneering on the niqab face covering and a barbaric cultural practices hotline in the last election.
“They still look at the politics of division as a way of drawing political advantage, by pitting Canadians against each other,” Trudeau told reporters at an event in Saint-Eustache, Que.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke to reporters in St Eustache Quebec on Thursday 0:58
“The politics of division, yes, can work in the short term to help you get elected but it doesn’t help you govern and mostly it doesn’t help you solve the challenges that we are facing together as a society.”
In a series of tweets posted Sunday, Bernier said promoting too much diversity could have the effect of dividing Canada into “little tribes” that cause division and erode Canada’s social cohesion. He also criticized the city of Winnipeg’s decision to rename a park there after Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of the modern state of Pakistan.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer issued a statement late Wednesday amid the Bernier fracas saying he doesn’t agree with “politicians on the left and the right when they use identity politics to divide Canadians,” adding he will not personally engage in that sort of politics.
Scheer said Conservatives celebrate Canada’s diversity.
He also said Bernier holds no official role — he was booted from the party’s “shadow cabinet” after sparring with Scheer over supply management — and does not speak for the party “on any issue.”
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