Canada's Justin Trudeau defends the burkini

Trudeau called for "the respect of individual rights and choices."

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Sama Wareh wears a Burkini on a beach in Newport California. File Photo

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday dismissed the idea of a burkini ban in Canada, instead he called for the respect of individual rights and freedoms while touting cultural diversity and tolerance.

When asked about a controversy swirling in France over a burkini ban, Trudeau said, "we should be past tolerance in Canada”.

Some lawmakers in Canada's Quebec province have called for outlawing "burkinis", modest body-concealing swimsuits used by Muslims, following bans in at least 15 towns in France's southeast.

This picture taken on August 19, 2016 shows the bylaw forbidding women to wear Burkini at the main beach of Saint-Jean Cap Ferrat near Nice, southeastern France on August 19, 2016.

They include the French Riviera resort town of Nice, the target of extremist’s attack on July 14, with the proponents citing the need to prevent public disorder.

Trudeau called for "the respect of individual rights and choices."

This, he said, should be "at the top of public discourse and debate."

Trudeau said Canadians should rise above the controversy.

"In Canada, can we speak of acceptance, openness, friendship, understanding? It is about where we are going and what we are going through every day in our diverse and rich communities," he said.

Trudeau bemoaned instances where governments preach tolerance but act to undermine individual rights, saying with irony: "Tolerating someone means accepting their right to exist on the condition that they don't disturb us too, too much."