Address by Foreign Affairs Minister at UNSC Debate on Terrorism Financing


March 28, 2019 – New York, United States

Check against delivery. This speech has been translated in accordance with the Government of Canada’s official languages policy and edited for posting and distribution in accordance with its communications policy.

Thank you to France for organizing this public debate. Canada is proud to have co-sponsored the resolution adopted today.

We believe it will help to strengthen our collective efforts to combat terrorism in all its forms.

Today, I would like to highlight one of the gravest threats facing our world: white supremacy.

White supremacism and Islamophobia are among the gravest terrorist threats that the world is facing today.

We were all reminded of this tragic reality on the 15th of March, when a white supremacist terrorist killed 50 Muslims gathered in two mosques for Friday prayers in Christchurch, New Zealand.

As a Canadian, this attack was all too familiar. Two years ago, a terrorist killed six people in a Quebec City mosque.

Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, “incels,” nativists and radical anti-globalists who resort to violent acts are a threat to the stability of my country and countries around the world.

These attacks need to be at the top of our agenda when we talk about confronting terrorism.

And when violence like this occurs in mosques, churches, synagogues or on the streets of our major cities, we must not be afraid to specifically condemn it for what it is: Neo-nazism, white supremacism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, terrorism.

We can’t hide behind euphemisms that distract from the truth. In fact, doing so puts our citizens, especially those from religious minorities and racialized communities in greater danger.

In the wake of acts of terrorism carried out by Muslims extremists, Western countries often call upon Muslim countries and Muslim leaders to condemn those attacks in the name of their people and their faith.

It should follow that, as the Foreign Minister of a majority-white and majority-Christian country, I feel a specific and personal responsibility to denounce white supremacist attacks in the same way.

As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in Canada’s House of Commons following the Christchurch attack: “When we fail to denounce hatred with total conviction, we empower those people and legitimize their violence.”

Hatred, unfortunately, is eternal. But the ways in which it spreads change.

Today, hatred is increasingly spread through the internet; in online forums and on social media.

We must be aware of this and work to stop it.

Our work cannot be undertaken in isolation. Each of our countries will, of course, address this issue in different ways. But we need to recognize that this is ultimately an international problem, and we need to act collectively to address it.

The internet and social media know no borders and so we must work together to find ways to address online radicalization.

On a final note, I would like to offer, on behalf of Canada and Canadians, our support and compassion for the people of New Zealand.

As fellow members of the Commonwealth, Canada and New Zealand have a close and historical relationship. We are more than friends, we are family.

Canadians felt great compassion following the terrible attacks in Christchurch.

In particular, I would like to salute the moral leadership of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who has distinguished herself not only to the people of New Zealand, but to the whole world.

Thank you.

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