DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 20 – Governments must defend the values of free and open societies against jihadist attacks and not yield to fear, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday.
“I think people are open to not choosing to live in constant fear,” he said at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, where he pitched Canada’s economic strengths to leaders.
“There are terrible things in the world, terrible people who want to attack our free and open society,” he acknowledged.
“We have to make a choice about how much we’re going to close and limit and crack down within our societies in order to protect it, because if you do that too much, you lose part of the free and open nature of society.”
Trudeau repeatedly stressed he felt optimistic about the future despite global conflicts and economic woes that are fostering insecurity.
“I have a tremendous level of confidence in ordinary people who go through their lives, don’t think a lot about politics, don’t think a lot about terrorism, (and instead) think a lot about their families, about their job, about their future and about their community and want to see things work in the right way,” Trudeau said.
Facing growing criticism at home for ordering the withdrawal of Canada’s small contingent of fighter jets from the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, Trudeau insisted Canada still plans to contribute militarily to that fight, in some other way.
But how has yet to be announced.
“Canada recognizes that we need a global concerted response to… terrorists,” Trudeau said.
“Canada has an important role to play, on a humanitarian side, on a refugee side, and yes on the military side as well,” he added, suggesting he would like to see Canada send more military trainers to Iraq “help local troops bring the battle directly to (the enemy).”
In addition to six F18 fighters and other military aircraft, Canada in 2014 deployed some 70 special forces to northern Iraq to train Kurdish forces.
“If there is one thing that recent history has taught us is that ultimately, conflicts like this need to have their resolution on the ground, with people who live (there) and want to take their countries back from terrorists,” Trudeau concluded.