Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the attack in Washington, D.C. “an assault on democracy” that was “incited by the current president,” when pro-Donald Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.
“What we witnessed was an assault on democracy by violent rioters, incited by the current president and other politicians,” Trudeau said at a press conference on Friday.
“As shocking, deeply disturbing and, frankly, saddening as that event remains, we’ve also seen this week that democracy is resilient in America, our closest ally and neighbour. Violence has no place in our societies and extremists will not succeed in overruling the will of the people.”
The prime minister spoke about working with the Trump administration, calling it “unpredictable” and that it “posed certain challenges.”
“At the same time we’ve been able to work through, in a responsible way, defending Canadian interests and moving forward in a way that always makes it very clear what our values are,” Trudeau said.
“Obviously, there is going to be much said and written about in the history books over the coming years about this time but my focus has always been and will always be how to make sure Canadians are best represented, best defended and best supported.”
Trudeau added that he is “looking forward” to working with Joe Biden moving forward.
Canadians are deeply disturbed and saddened by the attack on democracy in the United States, our closest ally and neighbour. Violence will never succeed in overruling the will of the people. Democracy in the US must be upheld - and it will be.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 6, 2021
‘We are not immune to that in Canada’
The prime minister went on to say that in light of this week’s attack, Canadians have been “reflecting on our own country.”
“We are not immune to that in Canada,” Trudeau said. “We have a responsibility as Canadians to continue to lead with respect, to engage substantially with different points of view and to never resort to violence as a way of impacting public discourse.”
“The choices we make as leaders, as politicians, have consequences. What we choose to say, what we choose not to say, how we choose to say it does have an impact on Canadians, encourages people to do some things, discourages them to do others.”
The prime minister added that it is extremely important that the principles of democracy are defended.
“Canadian democracy didn’t happen by accident and it won’t continue without work,” he said. “We must always work to secure our democracy and not...give space for hatred of extremism.”
“Canadians expect their political leaders to protect our precious democracy by how we conduct ourselves. Canadians expect debate, debate in service of all Canadians, debate that is grounded in a shared acceptance of the facts.”