Recently, the new Prime Minister of Canada, who is a son of another legendary Prime Minister, has banned controversial US Republican candidate, Donald Trump from entering his country. When he was asked whether he would condemn the “hateful rhetoric” of Donald Trump, he replied, “I don’t think it comes as a surprise to anyone that I stand firmly against the politics of division, the politics of fear, the politics of intolerance or hateful rhetoric,” Trudeau said. “If we allow politicians to succeed by scaring people, we don’t actually end up any safer. Fear doesn’t make us safer. It makes us weaker.”
After living six and a half year in Canada to obtain my MSc and PhD degrees from the Western University (previously University of Western Ontario) of London, Ontario and teaching, I have been keeping my Canadian connection and interest alive over the years. The results of the recent general election of Canada has once again has revitalised my attention not just due to a dramatic change in the ruling party and the Prime Minister.
The current, and 23rd, Prime Minister of Canada is the leader of the Liberal Party, and Mr Justin Trudeau was appointed to the position on November 4, 2015 followed by the 42nd Canadian general election held on October 19, 2015 to elect members to the House of Commons of the Canadian parliament.
In the election Mr Trudeau’s party won 184 seats (previously held 36 seats) out of 338 seats, allowing him to form a majority government. The Conservative Party, led by incumbent Prime Minister Stephen Harper, won 99 seats (previously held 159 seats), becoming the Official Opposition after nine years on the government benches.
The 44-year-old Prime Minister has surprised everyone by appointing a cabinet with equal numbers of women and men when he took office last year. When asked why he made gender parity in his cabinet a priority, Trudeau famously said, “Because it’s 2015.” Among its 30 ministers are two aboriginal politicians, two persons with disabilities, one Muslim and three Sikhs.
The Trudeau Government has adopted pragmatic policies related to the Syrian refugee crisis, arguing that those fleeing persecution and war deserved to be resettled in countries that had the resources to accommodate them. Canada plans to accept 25,000 Syrian refugees by February 2016, and thousands have already been welcome.
The greatest challenge of our time in Australian politics is how to unite the nation to include everyone in the nation building activities in the face of spreading of hate and division among the Australians by some ill-informed extremists. Any genuine patriotic political party should be working for national unity and come up with plans for nation building through improving our healthcare, education, social services, security, environment and economic development.
Like Australia, Canada is a multicultural and multi-faith nation. It is also an official bilingual country. Certainly the Canadian Prime Minister has rejected politics of hate and division, and has been leading the nation to unite its diverse people and take everyone on board to work for the country without underplaying its international humanitarian commitment. Let’s hope this will be an example and inspiration for the leaders elsewhere in the world. Unfortunately, Australian media has not covered the vision of Trudeau which could have been very timely to benefit may Australians.