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Justin Trudeau
Photo by Rhonda Spivak


Photo by Rhonda Spivak

 
M.P. JUSTIN TRUDEAU - HIS VIEWS ON ISRAEL AND THE MOSQUE AT GROUND ZERO

THE SON OF FORMER PRIME MINISTER PIERRE TRUDEAU GIVES AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW TO THE WINNIPEG JEWISH REVIEW

by Rhonda Spivak, November 3, 2010 reposted April 20, 2011

“EVERYONE LOSES IN POLITICS WHEN EVERYTHING BECOMES BLACK AND WHITE.”

 

“THERE’S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MOSQUE AND AN AL-QAIDA TRAINING CAMP.”

 

Justin Trudeau, the son of former Prime Minister Pierre  Elliot Trudeau was in Winnipeg recently at an event in support of Terry Duguid, Liberal candidate for Winnipeg South.

 

While in town, the thirty-eight year old Trudeau gave an exclusive interview to the Winnipeg Jewish Review.  Trudeau, a former teacher, is a Member of  Parliament for the Papineau riding of  Quebec, a riding where there is virtually no Jewish population. There is, however, a large Jewish population in the neighborhood Mount Royal riding, which is represented by Liberal MP and Former Minister of Justice Irwin Cotler. [ Prior to Cotler, the  former  MP for Mount Royal was the late Sheila Finestone and prior to her Justin's father Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, represented the riding from 1965 to 1984.]

 

Justin Trudeau is married to Sophie Gregoire, a former model and Quebec television host, and has two children, one of which was “born on my father’s birthday.” As Trudeau told the Winnipeg Jewish Review smiling, “I just bought a house in Irwin Cotler’s riding. He just got himself  more votes.”

 

 The following are two questions and answers from the interview [more of the interview will follow in a subsequent article].

 

SPIVAK: There are some who say the Harper government is too pro-Israel. How do you respond to that?

 

TRUDEAU:...There’s a distinction there that hasn’t been properly understood. There is being a friend to Israel and supporting Israel and.. being an ally and believing in Israel and defending Israel.

 

And then there is being Pro-Israel. Pro-Israel is a political statement and my biggest criticism of  the Harper government around this issue is that they have managed to make supporting Israel a Canadian political football, something to use to pressure other parties, when to my mind, no  political party should ever be considered anti-Israel. There are some parties that aren’t as good friends to Israel as others. But to try and use it as a wedge issue in Canada and a factor in Canadian politicking, saying that we’re better than you in our support of Israel, and dividing people that way, is for me not a way to really give service. Because what happens is even though you have plenty of people who are good Israelis who have criticisms and legitimate criticisms within a democracy to make of the current government in Israel... We’ve removed the possibility of even having a discussion around some of the strengths and perhaps some of the mistakes that the Israeli government does as a democracy that represents a number of people but there is an opposition always… We’ve managed to polarize the debate so much that we can’t actually have rational or reasonable conversations about it anymore. And I think that everyone loses in politics when everything becomes black and white.”

 

 SPIVAK: What do you think of controversy about building of the mosque near ground zero—what are your views on that? 

 

TRUDEAU: Listen, I haven’t been  following the debate except for very superficially and one of the things I abhor on this is it’s… been a question of massive polarization and it’s a question of people taking extreme positions and promoting fear and intolerance on that. I think if everyone were to take a serious reflection…There’s a difference between a mosque and an Al- Qaida Training Camp, and they are not proposing to set up an Al- Qaida Training camp… I think the American Constitution defending the freedom of religion is something, and I say this about the Canadian Charter of Rights all the time - it’s  not  a buffet, you don’t get to pick and choose  which ones you like and where you want to apply it to.

 

I think that there are sensitivities that are legitimate and need to be taken into account, but ..I know that the venom in this conservation, in the debate going on in the States  has done a disservice not just to Moslem Americans who are not extremists  but to Americans in general who are looking less like the great nation open and respectful of each other and their differences that they very much have aspired to be for a long time.

 

SPIVAK: You think the debate is showing some of the uglier aspects of…

 

TRUDEAU: Absolutely. It’s important to h

 
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.


Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.