Bad advice: Think Justin Trudeau’s instincts are scary? Take a look at what two of his advisers have
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What are Justin Trudeau’s foreign policy views, especially about the threat of Islamic terrorism?
Two years ago, Trudeau criticized the new citizenship guide for new immigrants, called Discover Canada. One passage in that guide book said, “Canada’s openness and generosity do not extend to barbaric cultural practices that tolerate spousal abuse, ‘honour killings,’ female genital mutilation, forced marriage or other gender-based violence.”
Pretty tough to disagree with that. But Trudeau did. He said, “There needs to be a little bit of an attempt at responsible neutrality” by the Canadian government. Honour killings shouldn’t be called “barbaric,” he said.
Same thing nearly two weeks ago, when Peter Mansbridge asked Trudeau about the Boston bombings. His thoughts were not with the victims, but rather the perpetrators. “We have to look at the root causes,” he said. “But there is no question that this happened because there is someone who feels completely excluded … We also have to monitor and encourage people to not point fingers at each other.”
Three were dead and close to 200 injured, but Trudeau was more concerned about finger-pointing.
Another worrisome sign came last December, when Trudeau spoke at a Muslim conference in Toronto that was sponsored by IRFAN-Canada. That group had its charitable status stripped by the Canada Revenue Agency in 2011, which claims they used deceptive fundraising to send nearly $15 million to groups with ties to the terrorist group Hamas. In the subsequent media storm, IRFAN quit as a sponsor. But Trudeau accepted the invitation when they were part of it.
If Trudeau lacks foreign policy judgment, who are his advisers? One answer is his brother, Alexandre “Sacha” Trudeau. Sacha once wrote a bizarre column in the Toronto Star praising Fidel Castro, saying, “His intellect is one of the most broad that can be found … Combined with a Herculean physique and extraordinary courage, this monumental intellect makes Fidel the giant that he is.”
Sacha is a filmmaker. He made an anti-American movie, called Embedded in Baghdad. He made an anti-Israel movie called The Fence. And his latest masterpiece is called The New Great Game, about Iran’s courageous decision to defy America and Israel. Sacha made it in co-operation with Press TV, the state-run propaganda agency of Iran.
Sacha is like Justin — a spoiled dilettante. But Trudeau’s more serious adviser is Omar Alghabra, the Saudi-born former president of the Canadian Arab Federation who briefly served as an MP from Mississauga.
This month, Alghabra told Al Jazeera, “On the issue of Iran, Trudeau has clearly stated that he is for engagement.”
But that’s the thing. The world tried engagement for years. Iran played us for fools and kept building nuclear weapons. So now the world’s democracies are done engaging Iran. We’re desperately trying to stop them now with full-blown sanctions. But Trudeau wants to suddenly reverse course? To reward Iran with normalized relations?
Alghabra has extreme views. When he was president of the Canadian Arab Federation in 2004, he denounced Canada’s largest newspaper chain for using the term “terrorist” to describe Muslim terrorist groups like the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. He said that was a mere opinion, not a fact.
Alghabra wrote a letter to Toronto’s police chief in 2005 condemning the chief for participating in a charity walk for Israel, saying Israel was “conducting a brutal and the longest contemporary military occupation in the world.” In a letter to a journalist, he wrote the chief’s visit to Israel was comparable to visiting Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship.
When arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat died, Alghabra put out a press release announcing he was mourning for him. When Canada was setting up a no-fly list for passengers considered security threats, Alghabra opposed it.
And when Ontario narrowly rejected adopting shariah law for Muslim divorces, Alghabra was disappointed, calling it “unfortunate.”
Justin Trudeau’s instincts are wrong — on terrorism, on honour killings, on extremist groups.
But even scarier than his own instincts are those of his advisers.