PM Trudeau marks the anniversary of the fatal shooting at the Centre culturel islamique de Québec
One year ago today, the Quebec City mosque was targeted by an act of terror.
One year ago today, wives and children, friends and neighbours lost their loved ones.
One year ago today, Canada mourned the loss of six of our own.
Khaled Belkacemi. Azzedine Soufiane. Abdelkrim Hassane. Aboubaker Thabti. Mamadou Tanou Barry. Ibrahima Barry.
Today, we know that these six people were shot to death out of ignorance and hatred, because of islamophobia and racism, which will never have a place in our society.
This type of violence is not only inexcusable, but also unacceptable.
In the days and weeks following this tragedy, Canadians were united. Strengthened by their differences, proud of the diversity that enriches their country.
Together, we chose love over hatred; compassion over violence; solidarity over division.
Together, we demonstrated the values that are at the heart of the Canadian identity, we showed ourselves at our best on a very dark day.
One year ago today, we honoured the memory of those who left us too soon. We demonstrated our solidarity with the Muslim community, which too often is targeted by hatred.
As we mark this sombre anniversary and remember the extraordinary courage of ordinary people, I believe we must ask ourselves:
Have we done right by the men who lost their lives on this day, one year ago?
When the dust began to settle and it began to be business as usual once again, did we stand with neighbours and strangers who were targeted by hate?
Mr. Speaker, I ask not only the members of this House but all Canadians, have we regularly condemned everyday acts of racism like we so forcefully did just one year ago? Have we defended the freedom of others, whether it be to pray, to love or to simply be, like we would our own?
Mr. Speaker, these attacks sought to divide this country and its citizens, drive wedges between neighbours and make enemies of strangers.
Sadly, the same can be said of hate crimes and other isolated incidents of discrimination that far too often go unnoticed or unreported.
Things like graffiti and slurs have become commonplace, normalized and even tolerated.
The loss of life should not and cannot be a necessary condition for acts of hatred to merit our attention.
Tragedy should not and cannot become a prerequisite for us to have important conversations in our homes and in our schools.
It should never have to come to this point for attitudes to be changed and for changes to be made.
We cannot bring back those who perished, but we owe it to them to fight the very sentiments that led to their loss. We owe it to them to speak up and stand tall and explicitly against islamophobia and discrimination in all its forms.
Each day, we should and we must honour those who left us too soon, as well as their values.
In the face of ignorance, we must choose compassion.
In the face of hatred, we must choose love.
Together, we must stand against islamophobia and all forms of discrimination.
We cannot let fear take hold of our hearts. We cannot allow racism to take root in our society.
Together, we must continue to make diversity our strength and be proud of our differences.
Each day, remember Khaled Belkacemi, Azzedine Soufiane, Abdelkrim Hassane, Aboubaker Thabti, Mamadou Tanou Barry, Ibrahima Barry.
Let’s show the world that Canadians will not be intimidated by violence or hatred.
Not today, not tomorrow, not ever.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.