In a holding room at the Ottawa airport with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the evening of November 13, 2015, watching live coverage of the terrorist attacks in Paris. (Photo credit: Adam Scotti)
One of the tests of political leaders today is how they respond to the threat of terrorism. There are dangers in both under-reacting and over-reacting.
Failure to treat terrorism as a genuine threat would raise doubts about any leader’s commitment to public safety. But over-reacting by creating permanent states of emergency, eroding fundamental freedoms, or exploiting public fears for political gain – a trend we have seen in some Western countries – poses its own threat to open societies.
So how is Justin Trudeau doing so far?
Let’s begin by dispensing with the fiction, trafficked by some conservative commentators, that Trudeau does not take terrorism seriously. I know from personal experience that this is untrue. He is committed to keeping Canadians safe.