Canada's Diversity a Global Lesson in Fighting Terrorism

By Chretien, Jean | Canadian Speeches, September-October 2003 | Go to article overview

Canada's Diversity a Global Lesson in Fighting Terrorism


Chretien, Jean, Canadian Speeches


AS one of the world's most culturally diverse nations, Canada's success of peace and prosperity is seen as a lesson in the global fight against terrorism. It is a lesson of inclusiveness, good governance, and shared prosperity. Speech at the Fighting Terrorism for Humanity Conference, New York, September 22, 2003.

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I am very pleased to have an opportunity to be part of this conference and I would like to thank Prime Minister Bondevik [Kjell Magne Bondevik, prime minister of Norway] for his efforts and capable stewardship in bringing us all together today.

This event, and the presence of so many world leaders, is a testament to our collective sense of duty to fight terrorism and our growing awareness that such a fight must address the issues that foster and sustain extremism and violence.

We must remember that our success in the struggle against terrorism will be determined not by what we are fighting against, but rather, by what we are fighting for. We must fight for a global community united in safety and security, prosperity and opportunity, openness and respect, dialogue and democracy.

No one country, no matter how powerful, has either the wisdom or the ability to defeat terrorism on its own. We must work together to devise a lasting and effective response that respects international law. A response that combats organizations dedicated to terror and attacks the roots of terrorism.

Let me be very clear. Terrorists are criminals that must be held accountable for their acts of hate. Individuals have free will and we are all responsible for our actions.

By speaking of addressing the roots of terrorism, we are not excusing it.

By engaging in dialogue about issues that create the conditions of terrorism, we are not justifying it. We are acknowledging that terrorist acts emerge from a complex web of hatred and extremism.

Our work lies in identifying the various elements that create the conditions of terrorism and taking appropriate action in the medium and long-term. A comprehensive approach to eliminating terrorism will be made up of far-reaching and diverse policies.

As a country founded on diversity, Canada has adopted policies of inclusiveness. We are intimately aware of the challenges associated with facilitating dialogue between different groups--and we have learned that differences do not have to be divisive. Canada has much to share with respect to its rich and peaceful heritage of multiculturalism.

But there is a critical link--that we must never take for granted--between democracy, good governance, and the ability of people to live free from threats to their personal security.

In the absence of inclusive and responsive political institutions, discontent, destabilisation and violence find room to grow.

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