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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told media yesterday that he condemned vandalism and violence, but did not condemn the sentiments of Canadians who wanted to remove the statue.
Rather, the prime minister acknowledged the urge for Canadians to push for progress and their impatience.
"Like Minister Steven Guilbeault, I was deeply disappointed by the vandalism that took place over the weekend," the prime minister said.
"I understand the impatience and frustration of Canadians who have faced systemic discrimination and racism throughout their lives, and their concern that we act quickly on that, and their impatience. Because I, myself, am impatient. We need to move forward quickly and on the right ways on countering systemic discrimination, and out government will do just that," said Trudeau.
"We are a country of laws, and we are a country that needs to respect those laws, even as we seek to improve and change them and that those kinds of acts of vandalism are not advancing the path towards greater justice and equality in this country," the prime minister said.
Trudeau continued by saying that people "on either sides of the spectrum" were using the statue's destruction as a way of "furthering debate," saying that he is more interested in using "the real frustrations that people have as motivations to continue to make the big changes necessary."
"We've seen, following that, people on either side of the spectrum trying to use these elements as a way of furthering debates," the prime minister said, only in French: "I think that we're seeing, particularly on the extreme right, that they're trying to start culture wars and divide Canadians on issues such as that."
"We have an awful lot to do as a country," said Trudeau, noting that mistakes made by previous generations should be recognized.
"Our focus needs to be on how we improve things today, and for the days to come for all Canadians... Choices like this, to rely on vandalism to advance causes is not helping anyone move forward," Trudeau concluded.