OTTAWA – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has defended individual rights and freedoms in donning burkini, adding that Canadians value ‘acceptance, openness, friendship, understanding’.
“We should be past tolerance in Canada,” Trudeau said after meeting with his ministers to plan the government’s legislative agenda.
“In Canada, can we speak of acceptance, openness, friendship, understanding? It is about where we are going and what we are going through every day in our diverse and rich communities,” he added, dismissing the idea of a burkini ban in Canada.
Trudeau’s comments followed recent controversy on burkini following the French authorities’ decision to ban the swimsuit in Cannes, Corsica and Le Touquet.
The decision was criticized by many commentators who granted the burkini for giving so many women access to sports and experiences they would have otherwise avoided because of health, body or religious concerns.
Following the French bans, some lawmakers in Canada’s Quebec province have called for outlawing “burkinis”.
Ruling out similar ban, Trudeau called for “the respect of individual rights and choices.”
This should be “at the top of public discourse and debate,” he added.
Trudeau bemoaned instances where governments preached tolerance but acted to undermine individual rights.
“Tolerating someone means accepting their right to exist on the condition that they don’t disturb us too, too much,” he said with irony.