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OTTAWA—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he will stand up for openness and diversity, but stopped short Monday of directly criticizing U.S. President Donald Trump’s ban on citizens from seven predominantly Muslim nations.
In the House of Commons Monday, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair asked Trudeau to condemn the practice of banning travellers based on their religion or place of birth.
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Trudeau did not directly address Trump’s ban, which has set off days of protests across the United States and Canada, and instead touted the “Canadian values of openness and diversity.”
“We are a strong, united people, who are generous and open because we have seen how much openness to the world and diversity not only makes us more prosperous, but more safe as a country and as communities,” Trudeau said during Question Period.
“I will continue to stand for Canadian values any chance I get, in this House and everywhere.”
On Friday, Trump temporarily banned citizens of seven nations — Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya — from entering the United States for 90 days. The president’s executive order permanently bans Syrian refugees and puts a temporary halt on accepting refugees from any other nation.
Canada was given no prior warning from our largest security and trading partner. Only on Saturday afternoon could federal officials confirm that Canadian dual nationals and permanent residents will not be banned from the U.S.
But Canadian officials still don’t appear to have those assurances in writing — or many details about how Trump’s executive order will be enforced at the two countries’ shared border.
Joseph Pickerill, a spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, would not say if Canadian officials had written assurances. But Pickerill did say that Canadian officials are “actively seeking clarity on impacts and have updated our travel advice as a result.”
The ban was also the subject of some confusion in the U.K., another crucial security partner to both the U.S. and Canada. Boris Johnson, the British foreign affairs minister, said Sunday that Trump’s ban did not affect British dual citizens. But the U.S. Embassy in London said Monday that dual nationals would not be granted visas “until further notification.”
When contacted by the Star, U.S. Customs and Border Protection referred all calls to the Department of Homeland Security, which was not answering the phone or accepting phone messages on Monday. An email to the department was not answered.
On Monday, protests against Trump’s ban at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa and the U.S. Consulate in Toronto drew hundreds, mirroring Saturday and Sunday’s protests in cities across the United States.
With files from Daniel Dale.