Trudeau Supports Syria Strike After Long Silence

REUTERS/Chris Wattie

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief

After a long silence, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he “fully supports” what he called President Donald Trump’s “limited and focused action” in using cruise missiles to punish Syria for its use of chemical weapons.

The statement came after the Canadian government offered no immediate response to the action in Syria. A statement from the government’s global affairs department promised “more to come” on Friday. It said no Canadian military personnel were involved in the attack, Canada “continues to condemn in the strongest of terms chemical weapons attacks against Syrian civilians” and that Canadian officials have “been in touch” with their U.S. counterparts.

The statement added that Canada supports efforts “to stop these atrocities.”

Trudeau was urging world leaders to get to the bottom of the atrocity on Thursday and apparently had no inkling that Trump wasn’t going to wait for a United Nations investigation to issue a report before taking decisive action.

On Thursday, Trudeau commented on Syria’s use of chemical weapons against its own citizens, and urged the international community to “find out what’s going on” with the brutal attack, but offering no hint of how that might be done and suggesting no reprisals to deter it from happening again.

“We’re all shocked and horrified by the terrible images and actions that just happened in Syria with chemical weapons,” Trudeau said during a one-on-one interview with media executive Tina Brown.

He said the federal government “obviously, unequivocally” condemned that attack and is “pushing the international community to do more to condemn, to find out what’s going on.”

He added, “This is a war crime and the international community must stand firmly against such things,” without defining firmly.

Trudeau was in New York City to attend an international feminist gathering. He was a guest speaker at the Women in the World Summit, held at the Lincoln Center. The prime minister, who repeatedly characterizes himself as a male feminist, basked in the adulation of his admirers, sharing the stage at one point with failed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Media reports gushed over Trudeau’s charm, suggesting “even in these deeply partisan times, it seems there is one thing that can still unite many Americans: a mutual love of Justin Trudeau.”

In his element, Trudeau described Canada as kinder, gentler place than America, emphasizing its universal health care, paid family leave and stricter gun control laws. He said it takes commitment to set such an example for the world.

“A lot of people know you can’t fix things with a Band-Aid,” he said.

“Is someone going to stand up for what they truly believe in, and not just the way the wind is blowing?” Trudeau asked the cheering crowd.

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