“Justin Trudeau Not Ready . . .”

The Vancouver Sun and other Canadian media report

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he isn’t planning for the moment to call Saudi Arabian authorities to ask that jailed blogger Raif Badawi be freed.

Trudeau himself says

“It’s not in my immediate plans.”

“Raif Badawi has a family who are here in Canada, which gives a certain connection,” Trudeau said. “It’s a humanitarian case on which we continue to express ourselves in a clear fashion.”

Although Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion met with his Saudi counterpart, Adel Al Jubeir and “expressed the government’s hope that clemency will be granted in [Badawi’s] case,” Trudeau is the person Badawi’s spouse, Ensaf Haidar, is depending on. It is to Trudeau that Ensaf Haidar’s petition is addressed.

It’s seems that Trudeau is unable or unwilling to express himself “in a clear fashion.” CBC News says

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he will seek a formal apology from Pope Francis for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in residential schools . . . he couldn’t guarantee the Pope would issue an apology, but was prepared to raise it directly with him, given the opportunity.

Trudeau is quoted as saying

“different churches, including the Catholic Church, are very much engaged with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and I am certainly intending to work with the Catholic Church, including with the Holy See, to move forward with implementing that recommendation — to ask him directly to engage with this issue, yes . . . I look forward to having a conversation with His Holiness about this.”

There is a difference between what the CBC says and what Trudeau says: “seeking a formal apology from Pope Francis” is different than asking the pope “to engage with this issue.” Engage is a weasel word, and “having a conversation” with “His Holiness” is different than asking him “directly.”

Trudeau is getting lots of media coverage for his feely-touchy greetings to Syrian refugees, and one Jordanian news site calls Justin Trudeau “Superman,” but it’s time for Trudeau to act like a prime minister. It’s time for Trudeau to make it very clear to Pope Francis that residential school survivors and their families are waiting for him to apologize for the Catholic Church’s role “in the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children in Catholic-run residential schools.” It is time for Trudeau to act like a humanitarian and decide now whether he is going to keep his promise to Ensaf Haidar and exert real pressure on the Saudi government to free Raif Badawi.

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