Freedom of speech has its limits, says Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau does not follow his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron who maintains that, terrorism or not, we must continue to be able to caricature the religious fact, including the Muslim prophet Mohammed. According to Trudeau, there is no point in doing things that unnecessarily hurt others.

The holding these days of the trial of the accomplices of the attack against Charlie Hebdo was the pretext in France to publish again the cartoons of Muhammad which had shocked and urged the terrorists to act in 2015. Some believe that this gesture is at the origin of the knife attacks which have multiplied in France during the last few weeks. The beheading of teacher Samuel Paty also occurred after he showed caricatures of the prophet to his students.

All this led Emmanuel Macron to say that France will not renounce “caricatures, drawings”. But Justin Trudeau really does not side with his camp.

Asked again on Friday on this subject, Mr. Trudeau first argued that he would “always defend freedom of expression”. “But freedom of expression is not without limits,” added the Prime Minister. We don’t have the right, for example, to shout “fire” in a crowded cinema; there are always limits. In a pluralistic, diverse and respectful society like ours, we must be aware of the impact of our words, of our actions on others, particularly these communities and populations who still experience enormous discrimination. “

According to Mr. Trudeau, freedom of expression must be exercised with “respect for others” and with the concern “not to injure in an arbitrary or unnecessary manner”.

The Prime Minister adds that the intention of the caricature, however good it may be, is not necessarily relevant in the debate. “It’s a matter of respect, not to seek to dehumanize or deliberately hurt. There is always an extremely important debate, a sensitive debate to be had on possible exceptions on issues where we do not want to hurt, but often the intention is less important and the fact can still hurt, so in a society based on respect each other and listening and learning, let’s have these complex conversations responsibly. “

In a pluralistic, diverse and respectful society like ours, we must be aware of the impact of our words, our actions on others.

Earlier this week, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh made similar comments, arguing that “the freedom to express our thoughts is not the freedom to deliberately create divisions. [et de] the clothes ».

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, who still has not made himself available for questioning by reporters, only released a video this week. “Another Islamist attack, another attack on our values ​​and our freedom,” he said. If France is attacked, all democracies are attacked. I want to express my solidarity with the French allies. Terrorists will not make us bow. Here in Canada, we will fight to create a country proud of its principles, its openness and its freedom of expression. “

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