Canadians from different backgrounds should get involved in politics so that “no party gets to run against Muslim Canadians or any other group,” says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Trudeau made the comment during a roundtable discussion with Syrian refugees, sponsors and Matt Galloway, the host of CBC Toronto’s Metro Morning, to air on Monday.
Galloway asked the prime minister for his reaction to the proposal to screen immigrants for “anti-Canadian values” put forward by federal Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch.
Trudeau did not address Leitch by name. He said he told a group of Muslim-Canadians during a recent meeting that he was happy to have them as supporters. However, he said he suggested they encourage family members and friends to also get involved in politics, whether on behalf of the Liberals or another party that aligns with their values.
“The other two political parties have leadership races on now. I’d like to see more Canadians of diverse backgrounds engaging with parties that line up with their convictions and ideologies to make sure that no party gets to run against Muslim Canadians or any other group of Canadians and demonize them,” Trudeau said.
“And I think the way we do that is getting involved in the whole breadth of the political spectrum in Canada. I’m happy when people decide they are more aligned with me and my party, but they should also think about being active and aligned with parties that disagree with me on certain issues.”
Galloway also asked the prime minister about how his policy, which has brought more than 35,000 Syrian refugees to Canada in just over a year, contrasts with that of U.S. president-elect Donald Trump and some politicians across Europe, who advocate for a more closed approach on refugees.
“I’m not going to answer whys,” he said. “I’m just going to continue to point out the facts that the way Canada is benefiting from welcoming in people who are so deeply committed to living up to the opportunity given to them.”
He added, “I challenge any one of those governments or those citizens to sit down around a table like this and break bread and not be afraid of the other.”