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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Trudeau echoes Trump in equating "far-left" and far-right

Updated: Oct 16, 2021

It is utterly ridiculous to claim, as Trudeau did, that the "far-left" spreads fear, hate and white supremacy.

Remember when former US president Donald Trump infamously said that there were "very fine people on both sides" when asked about the Charlottesville protests that ended with the killing of anti-racist activist Heather Heyer by a far right white nationalist?

To avoid being accused of misrepresenting the remarks as USA Today reported:

According to a transcript from the White House, the Trump quote in question was in response to a reporter who asked, "Mr. President, are you putting what you’re calling the alt-left and white supremacists on the same moral plane?"
Trump responded: "Excuse me, excuse me. They didn’t put themselves — and you had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides."
After further questioning from the reporter, and responses from Trump about people who were at the Charlottesville rally to support keeping the Lee statue, the president said, "You’re changing history. You’re changing culture. And you had people — and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists — because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists."

Here is a video:

These comments were rightly and widely denounced and rejected by liberals and even many conservatives as dangerous and as equating anti-racist activists and protestors with those "on the other side" and despite Trump's attempts at clarification most of those rallying "on the other side" in Charlottesville were on the far right and many were, of course, neo-Nazis and white nationalists.

Now president Joe Biden said of the comments in April 2019 "With those words, the president of the United States assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it".

No doubt Canadian PM Justin Trudeau would have agreed with Biden.

Flash forward to just this week and we find Trudeau echoing Trump except referring only to bad people without referencing the "fine" ones.

In comments to an anti-racist conference in Sweden Trudeau said:

We see the organizations of extremist groups on the far-right and the far-left that are pushing white supremacy, intolerance, radicalization, promoting hatred, fear and mistrust across borders but within borders, as well.

This is an utterly ridiculous thing to say and the notion that the "far left" spreads fear, hate and white supremacy is not simply false it is a repulsive and repugnant attack on the most stalwart anti-racists in the country. There are no "far left" groups "pushing white supremacy" in Canada or anywhere else for that matter.

This is not an abstract issue. Trudeau's comments are very dangerous and play to the far right fiction that leftists, anti-capitalists and communists are the moral equivalent of neo-Nazis and right wing extremists.

This false idea is used by the far right to engage in historical revisionism that seeks to justify things like collaborating with the Nazis during World War II as deputy PM Chrystia Freeland's grandfather did. It panders to an agenda that legitimizes support for fascists in places like Ukraine, Venezuela, Bolivia, Honduras and right here at home.

What Trudeau said is irresponsible, clearly wrong and should be widely denounced.


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