Alistair's Speech on Trump's Muslim Ban
February 1st, 2017 - 12:09pm
Mr. Alistair MacGregor (Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I certainly appreciate that I have the last spot in tonight's emergency debate.
I want to start by thanking my great friend from Vancouver East for bringing forward this debate and all of the Canadians both in the galleries and across this great country who have been listening to us, as well as the pages who have had to stay up with us at this late hour.
Like many Canadian, I was surprised by the meteoric rise of Donald Trump as the Republican nominee and his eventual election as the president of the United States. His campaign was marked by misogyny, racism, xenophobia, and a complete disregard for the most basic of facts. In my opinion he represented the absolute nadir of American politics, a political manifestation of the worst kind of reactionary demagoguery not seen since 1930s Europe.
It was once my hope that the Office of the President of the United States, which is arguably the most powerful and responsibility-filled position in the world, would somehow temper the man and make him reach out to all Americans and indeed the rest of the world and assure them that the campaign was now over and that he was going to try and govern in a more moderate course of action. I now see that that was a false hope.
We are here tonight to bring to light the actions of our neighbours and our friends. We have been listening to Americans, whether they have been lining up in protests at American airports, whether it has been people in positions of power like American governors, senators, or members of congress speak out. These are the people in the United States who have shown the real courage to speak out when they see something is wrong. It is up to us as Canadians and as their neighbour to also do something.
One of my caucus colleagues when he was offering some commentary on the state of politics in Canada offered this bit of wisdom. He said “We've got to stop talking about what we're doing. We have to start talking more about who we represent and why we are here”.
In my opinion the Liberals' tonight have been speaking too much about what they are doing. We on this side of the House are talking about why we are here and who we represent. My phone, as the phones of many of my colleagues across the House, has been ringing off the hook from the weekend on by constituents who are concerned with the actions of our American neighbour. They want us as the people's representatives of this great country to speak up and give voice, to have this country speak with more courage and conviction as world leaders have already done. That is what we are asking for and to back those words up with meaningful action.
We realize that on that side of the House there may be some members of Parliament who are afraid of rocking the boat in the friendship and the relationship we have with the United States. That may be the case.
I will conclude on this point. The measure of a friendship is not how we act during the good times. The real measure, the real test, comes in how our relationship interacts during the tough times, when we see a friend, a valued neighbour taking the wrong course of action. The true measure of a friendship is when we have the courage to speak out against the wrong that we see, the dishonoured people around the world who are being affected by this position that the United States president is taking. That is the true measure of a friendship.
It has been an honour to speak on this tonight. I hope that through the debate that we have heard tonight that the government hears the people's voices and we start to see some action reflect the meaningful debate that we have heard.