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Canada's Justin Trudeau defends the burkini

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has defended individual rights and freedoms while  touting cultural diversity and tolerance when asked about a controversy swirling in France over a burkini ban. 

Published: 23rd August 2016 09:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd August 2016 09:20 AM   |  A+A-

Justin Trudeau_AP

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. |AP

By PTI

OTTAWA: Canadian Prime Minister Justin  Trudeau has defended individual rights and freedoms while  touting cultural diversity and tolerance when asked about a  controversy swirling in France over a burkini ban. 

"We should be past tolerance in Canada," Trudeau told  reporters after meeting with his ministers to plan the  government's legislative agenda yesterday.          

Some lawmakers in Canada's Quebec province have called  for outlawing "burkinis" -- body-concealing Islamic swimsuits following bans in at least 15 towns in France's southeast.    

They include the French Riviera resort town of Nice, the  target of a jihadist attack on July 14, with the proponents  citing the need to prevent public disorder.           

Trudeau called for "the respect of individual rights and  choices."   

This, he said, should be "at the top of public discourse  and debate."         

Trudeau dismissed the idea of a burkini ban in Canada,  saying Canadians should rise above the controversy.             

"In Canada, can we speak of acceptance, openness,  friendship, understanding? It is about where we are going and  what we are going through every day in our diverse and rich  communities," he said. 

Trudeau bemoaned instances where governments preach  tolerance but act to undermine individual rights, saying with  irony: "Tolerating someone means accepting their right to  exist on the condition that they don't disturb us too, too  much."



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