Chris Selley: Trudeau’s ‘watch your tongues’ advice is offensive on many levels

National Post
Justin Trudeau National Post | James Alexander Michie

In this file photo taken Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada. PHOTO BY DAVE CHAN/AFP

Disturbing news and one that is in fact causing a stir has been the beheading of a teacher for some cartoons. In reference to this, you could say that it seems, on many levels, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s advice is really offensive.

Apparently, Trudeau didn’t need to go any further during his press conference on Friday. And it is that nobody does if that is his answer to a question about fundamental freedom.

Notably, a French-speaking journalist had asked Trudeau what he thought about the October 16 public beheading of high school teacher Samuel Paty near Paris, an act of revenge by an angry Islamist fanatic. Paty had shown his class some of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons that inspired the 2015 Massacre of much of the satirical magazine staff, as well as a fatal attack on a kosher supermarket two days later. The theme of the class had been in freedom of expression. Related to this, it is known that fourteen people were recently tried for these attacks. Meanwhile, Charlie Hebdo republished the controversial cartoons in his honor.

A wrong answer that seeks to deceive the public

The prime minister’s response was, “Freedom of expression is not without limits. We do not have the right, for example, to shout ‘fire!’ In a movie theater crowded with people. There are always limits” added to this Trudeau added, “We owe it to ourselves to act with respect for others and to seek not to arbitrarily or unnecessarily injure those with whom we are sharing a society and a planet”

This has unquestionably been seen as an egregiously wrong answer that the leader of any free country, especially Canada, can offer. This view is held that, firstly, by suggesting that rude drawings of Muhammad such as Charlie Hebdo’s violate the legal limits of freedom of expression, he is clearly misleading the public. Certainly, the act of drawing the prophet naked or in a careless kiss with one of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, objectively it is not even in the same universe. The only hatred it incites is obviously against artists.

Now, Trudeau’s advice to “watch our tongues” isn’t just offensive from a civil liberties point of view. And it is that it implies that there are people out there in Canada polishing their weapons and sharpening their machetes, waiting for someone to say the wrong thing, at which point they will launch the attack. In some ways, some complain that we are too often asked to tolerate intolerance, yet intolerance takes many forms in Canadians, both old and new.

Source: Chris Selley | National Post

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