Tue, Jun 20, 2006 at 8:39:23 am
Unbelievable. And this was Canada’s “extreme right-wing” candidate for Prime Minister in the last election.
Stephen Harper says the answer to the threat of unassimilated immigrants who preach hatred and plot murder is ... lots more immigration. (Hat tip: mich-again.)
VANCOUVER — Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a ringing defence of cultural diversity yesterday, rejecting calls for Canada to be less open to immigration as a way of curbing terrorism.
“I believe, actually, the opposite is true,” Mr. Harper told the opening session of the United Nations’ World Urban Forum here. “Canada’s diversity, properly nurtured, is our greatest strength.”
Mr. Harper made it clear to the thousands of delegates who crowded into the city’s convention centre that his pointed remarks were a direct result of the alleged terrorist plot uncovered in Toronto. Noting that Canada has so far been “spared the horror visited on London, New York and Madrid,” the Prime Minister said this month’s arrest of 17 suspected terrorists “reminded us that the potential for hate-fuelled violence in Canada is very real.” The threat of terrorism, he said, is “sadly, the most serious challenge” modern policy-makers face. “It casts a shadow over cities in the world.”
Some commentators have blamed Canada’s open, multicultural society for spawning the alleged terrorist network, Mr. Harper added. “They have said it makes us a more vulnerable target for terrorist activity.”
But rather than shutting out those from other countries with different ethnic backgrounds and religions, Canada should maintain its long-standing, open-door policy, he said. “It is true that somewhere, in some communities, we will find . . . apostles of terror, who use the symbols of culture and faith to justify crimes of violence. They hate open, diverse, democratic societies like ours, because they want the exact opposite,” Mr. Harper declared. “[They want] societies that are closed, homogeneous and dogmatic.”
Yet the terrorists and their vision will be rejected “by men and women of good will and generosity in all communities,” Mr. Harper affirmed to loud applause.
“And they will be rejected most strongly by those men and women living in the very communities that the terrorists claim to represent, as we have already seen in Canada since those arrests.”
But not before the arrests.