In an interview with The National, a news site based out of the United Arab Emirates, Stephen Harper defended Donald Trump’s stance on nationalism saying “I don’t think you can fault Trump” for supporting it.

Harper’s comment came in response to French President Emmanuel’s Macron’s critique of Donald Trump’s nationalism. Macron made his comments during a speech on Remembrance Day:

“Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. By saying, ‘Our interests first, who cares about the others,’ we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what gives it grace and what is essential: its moral values.”

Harper responded to Macron’s by calling his statement elitist:

That’s an example of disconnected elitism. Populations are naturally nationalistic and proud of their country, as they are in France by the way. So, you know, I mean this is the big reason why Trump is president

Harper then defended criticism that right-wing nationalist movements around the world are racist and intolerant.

Is there some anger, is there some demagoguery in some of the populist movements? Yes. But traditional movements are not immune from that,

Experts say Trump’s nationalistic comments have stoked the rise of white nationalism around the country, increasing hate crimes and attacks on minorities. In America, much like Canada, hate crimes have risen over the past three years.

The rise of right wing nationalism around the world has been coupled with a rise in attacks on minorities, immigrants and refugees. Harper himself praised Hungary’s Viktor Orban and Austria’s Sebastien Kurtz, leaders who both have embraced far-right nationalism and attacks on refugees and asylum seekers.


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