Bowing to right-wing campaign, Canada’s Trudeau apologizes to Macron for being “too soft” on Islamist terrorism

Bowing to an attack from the right, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called French President

Bowing to an attack from the right, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called French President Emmanuel Macron last week to offer his apologies for supposedly not being sufficiently supportive of the French government’s struggle against Islamist terrorism and its defence of “free speech.”

Macron has exploited the two terrorist atrocities that took place in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine and Nice last month to intensify his efforts to scapegoat France’s Muslim minority and attack democratic rights. In the process, he and leading figures in his government have advocated positions previously associated with the far-right.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to reporters from the roof of the Canadian Embassy in Washington [Credit: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite]

Trudeau was denounced by the French government and media as well as by his political opponents in Canada, especially the federal Conservatives and Quebec nationalists, for not personally condemning the barbaric attacks swiftly and strongly enough. They objected to his claim that he wanted to reach out to “leaders of the Muslim community in Canada” before elaborating on his government’s position. Trudeau’s response was in line with the multiculturalism policy his Liberal government employs to provide phony “progressive” cover for its ruthless pursuit of Canadian imperialist interests at home and abroad.

While pursuing their rival right-wing agendas, Canada’s political elite and corporate media are doing everything possible to obscure the context in which the high school teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded by a young Islamist Chechen immigrant on October 16, after Paty had used sexually-explicit Charlie Hebdo cartoons of the prophet Mohammed in a class-room discussion on free speech.

In the months prior to the attack, the Macron government had whipped up hostility against France’s Muslim minority, which is overwhelmingly comprised of poor working-class people, many of them immigrants from North Africa. The adoption of fascist positions within the French ruling elite is so far advanced that Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin recently denounced the display of halal and kosher products in France’s supermarkets, echoing the anti-Semitic and Islamophobic rhetoric of Marine Le Pen and the far right.

In the name of the “war on terror” and the defence of state “secularism,” Macron has pursued the French ruling class’ longstanding chauvinist, anti-democratic campaign against immigrants and Muslims with the aim of promoting reaction, amid an ever-deepening social crisis, and splitting the working class. Less than two weeks before Paty’s grotesque murder, Macron unveiled his government’s “anti-separatist” law. It will establish state control over the Muslim religion, ban Muslim (but not Roman Catholic) schools, require that all associations pledge to adhere to “Republican values” as defined by the Interior Ministry, and further bolster the surveillance powers of the police and intelligence agencies.

Paty’s brutal murder and the knife attack that left three people dead 13 days later at Nice’s Notre-Dame basilica have been seized upon by Macron to further this vicious right-wing agenda. He has reiterated his determination to enact the “anti-separatism” law, ordered the expulsion of Muslims labelled as Islamist extremists, and banned social and political groups deemed “hostile to the Republic.”

Macron, who has spearheaded the assault on workers’ rights in Europe, similarly exploited the 2015 Paris terror attack to make permanent “state of emergency measures” invoked in its aftermath. Showing the true class interests he serves, the former investment banker and “president of the rich” subsequently used these powers to suppress working class opposition, and ordered police to brutally repress the “Yellow Vest” agitation against social inequality. In 2018, he moved to rehabilitate Marshal Philippe Pétain, the head of the Nazi collaborationist Vichy regime.

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