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Trudeau condemns ‘deplorable’ Brussels attacks

Conservatives reignite criticisms of Liberals for pulling Canadian fighter jets out of campaign against Islamic extremists


 
Half-masted European Union flag is seen on the roof of the European Parliament information office in Helsinki, Finalnd 22 March, 2016. Police in Denmark, Sweden and Finland have stepped up security at airports and public places following the explosions in Brussels on Tuesday. REUTERS/Aku Hayrynen/Lehtikuva ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. FINLAND OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN FINLAND. - RTSBORE

Half-masted European Union flag is seen on the roof of the European Parliament information office in Helsinki, Finalnd 22 March, 2016. Police in Denmark, Sweden and Finland have stepped up security at airports and public places following the explosions in Brussels on Tuesday. REUTERS/Aku Hayrynen/Lehtikuva

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned Tuesday’s attacks in Brussels, as his cabinet said they see no imminent threats to Canadians on their soil.

“I was outraged when I woke up to the news that so many innocent citizens had been killed and injured — shocked and profoundly saddened,” Trudeau said after a cabinet meeting on Parliament Hill.

“This cannot and will not be tolerated.”

But in the Commons, Conservative MPs took the opportunity to reignite criticisms of the Liberal government for pulling Canadian fighter jets out of the bombing campaign against Islamic extremists in Iraq and Syria and for promising to repeal sections of the Tory anti-terrorism law giving security forces more power to disrupt and prevent terrorist networks.

Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose noted that the new anti-terror tools have been used by authorities and called on Trudeau to reverse his position so that “security forces can keep Canadians safe from terrorism.”

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the government intends to follow through on its election campaign commitment to “do everything in our power to make sure that our security and police services were effective in keeping Canadians safe and, at the same time, that Canadian rights and values and freedoms were thoroughly and properly respected.”

“There is no contradiction between those positions,” he said.

Trudeau, Goodale and Foreign Minister Stephane Dion also pledged solidarity with Belgium and the European Union and the victims of the attack.

Dion called it a “black Tuesday” for Belgium, as support reverberated across Canada with the premiers of Alberta and Saskatchewan pledging their support and resolve.

“Hearing the screams of children in the smoke of the Brussels metro only strengthens our resolve to combat terrorism in all its forms, and increases our solidarity with the people of Belgium and the whole of Europe,” Dion said.

Goodale said the threat level will not be changed in wake of the attacks, which remains at medium, where its been since October 2014, when two Canadian soldiers were killed in separate attacks at the National War Memorial in Ottawa and in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.

“There is no information available to RCMP or CSIS that would lead us to any change in threat levels,” he said.

A visiting European politician called for a moment of silence on Parliament Hill at the start of a press conference at the main press theatre.

“Today is not really a happy day for the European Union and I think for many people worldwide,” said German Social Democrat Bernd Lange, the chair of the European Parliament’s trade committee.

Lange was leading a delegation to Ottawa to study the effects of the massive Canada-EU free trade deal, which is expected to be ratified early next year.

Artis Pabriks, the EU’s rapporteur on the deal, said while good intelligence and co-operation between allies is essential for preventing terrorist attacks, Europe, Canada and the United States need to do more on that front.

“Violence and naked power should not be, and will not be the thing which will determine how we will live,” added Pabriks, also Latvia’s former defence minister.

“So we have to stand up to this — and we have to stand up together.”

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks in Brussels, saying its extremists opened fire in the airport and “several of them” detonated suicide belts.

Global Affairs said Tuesday that while there was no nationwide advisory in effect for Belgium, Canadians should exercise a “high degree of caution due to the current elevated threat of terrorism.”

Air Canada also warned that flights to the Belgian city may be cancelled and security was beefed up at one of Toronto’s main transportation hubs. At least one Twitter post indicated the cancellation of a Canadian school trip to the European capital.

More than 200 flights to Brussels were diverted or cancelled, according to flight tracking service Flightradar24.

The Paris airport authority said security was tightened at all local airports soon after the Brussels explosions on Tuesday morning. Airports in London, Prague, Amsterdam, Vienna, and many others, also saw increased security.

The explosions came just days after the main suspect in the deadly Nov. 13 Paris attacks was arrested Friday in the city.

After his arrest, 26-year-old Salah Abdeslam told authorities he had created a new network and was planning new attacks.

Belgium has raised its terror alert to its highest level, diverting arriving planes and trains and ordering people to stay where they were.

Airports across Europe immediately tightened security as a fleet of emergency vehicles roared in to handle the carnage at the Brussels airport.

— With files Mike Blanchfield and Jim Bronskill in Ottawa and the Associated Press


 

Trudeau condemns ‘deplorable’ Brussels attacks

  1. Is it too much to ask that our Prime Minister get off twitter and address the Canadian public in person when frightening tragedies like this occur? I know he has multiple personal meetings but parts of the Europe are being bombed. I think he could make the effort to address the Canadian people in a press conference. I believe that is his job.

    • It is too much to ask of our Prime Minister anything on such things. He can’t even bring himself to condemn the persons responsible. I’m sure, however, such events will become a thing of the past once he gets Canada back on the UN security council – it’s the power of sunny ways and growing things from the heart. Meantime, parties responsible would be well advised to get their Canadian citizenship while the gettings good.

  2. I wonder how long it will be before we see Trudeau visiting another mosque, and denoucing Islamaphobia; proclaiming that what happened in Paris and Belgium were NOT a reflection of Islam.

    Of course, we all know that this is a lie, as ISLAM is incompatible with a civilized society. We’ve been letting in barbarians with a 7th century ideology of violence, mayhem, and murder. People who hate everything about us. People who have absolutely no qualms about slaughtering innocent people.

    And then we wonder why we get attacked.

    • I know many good Muslims. I am Irish and Northern Ireland was at war forever for stupid reasons. Yet one could not have called either Protestant nor Catholic Irish evil. The ones who fought were highly misguided. I believe anyone who is joining this war is deeply misguided or psychopathic in nature and given the great harm they can do by strapping a bomb on themselves, we cannot ignore that the leaders are reaching them via social network. Many of the vulnerable are Canadian citizens. There is no keeping them out. At the same time, our Prime Minister is foolish to believe we can somehow negotiate with people who throw children off of buildings and behead aid workers. What one’s to believe is not what is reality.

      • What one wants to believe is not what is reality.

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