PRIME Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday issued the following statement to mark the fourth anniversary of the fatal shooting at the Centre culturel islamique de Québec: “Four years ago tonight, a terrorist attack at the Centre culturel islamique de Québec in Ste-Foy claimed the lives of six people and seriously injured nineteen others.
“On this sombre anniversary, we honour the memory of the victims of this hateful act of Islamophobia and racism. Our hearts go out to their families and loved ones who continue to suffer, and to all the residents of Quebec City whose community has been forever changed by this tragedy.
“Today, we also remember the first responders who did everything they could, with courage and dedication, to save congregants and ease their pain. And we recognize the solidarity that Quebecers and all Canadians showed with Muslim communities across the country in denouncing this senseless act of violence.
“To honour the victims of this tragedy and continue the fight against Islamophobia, hatred, and discrimination, we announced yesterday our intent to declare January 29 as ‘National Day of Remembrance of the Quebec City Mosque Attack and Action against Islamophobia.’
“Eliminating Islamophobia is a key pillar of Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy. In 2019, we launched the Digital Citizen Initiative, which aims to combat online hate and help Canadians better understand disinformation and its impacts on our society. In addition, we are continuing to ensure that Canadians feel safe in their places of worship and in their communities, through investments from the Communities at Risk: Security Infrastructure Program. Our government also continues to protect communities from gun violence. For example, we strengthened gun control last year by prohibiting over 1,500 models and variants of assault-style firearms and some of their components. These and several other measures are part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to fight Islamophobia, intolerance, extremist groups, and hatred, including online hate.
“Today, on behalf of the Government of Canada, I invite all Canadians to remember the victims of this heinous act. We will stand united against division and violence, neither of which have any place in Quebec and in Canada. We will always defend our values of respect for diversity, openness, and inclusion, regardless of our beliefs, background, and religion. Together, we will also continue to fight against Islamophobia and all other forms of discrimination, to make our country and this world fairer, stronger, and more inclusive for all.”
B.C. Premier John Horgan said in a statement: “Four years ago in Quebec City, Ibrahima Barry, Mamadou Tanou Barry, Khaled Belkacemi, Abdelkrim Hassane, Azzedine Soufiane and Aboubaker Thabti were murdered, and many others injured, in a place of safety and worship.
“The lives of their families, friends and communities were changed forever. Our nation mourned. A holy place was violated.
“At a time when hate and bigotry are on the rise here at home and around the world, it takes all our voices to challenge racist acts, condemn hate speech and stand up for a more equitable society that promotes respect for all.
“We grow as a society when we get to know each other and understand the culture, beliefs and ancestry of people in our communities. At a time when we need each other the most, we must come together to build a stronger province and stronger communities.
“Today, we stand with the Muslim community and pledge to keep fighting against hate, bigotry and Islamophobia.”
FEDERAL NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said in a statement: “Today is a painful day for the Canadian Muslim Community across Canada and Québec. Four years ago, today, a gunman opened fire in the Centre culturel islamique de Québec – killing six innocent men and wounding nineteen others.
“This senseless act of violence left the families of the victims shattered – the Canadian Muslim community feeling vulnerable and scared.
“Unfortunately, hate speech and violence driven by islamophobia and racism is still present in our communities. We must shut it down whenever and wherever we see it.
“New Democrats have and will continue to push all parties to adopt a motion calling on the federal government to use all available tools to address the proliferation of white supremacist and hate groups.
“It is our responsibility as parliamentarians to not resort to whistle dog rhetoric and refrain from peddling the politics of fear. We must continue to fight intolerance and hate and the conditions that create it, at home and around the world. We must always advocate for everyone’s right to be who they are without being subject to hate or violence.
“Today, on behalf of all New Democrats, I extend my deepest sympathies to the families who lost loved ones that day. We stand in solidarity with the survivors and recommit ourselves to fighting Islamophobia and hatred in all its forms.”