Return to Transcripts main page


Gardner: More "Brexits" Bad for U.S. Interests; Examining the Rise of the Far-Right in Quebec; UK Closing Door on Child Refugees

Aired February 9, 2017 - 14:00:00   ET


[14:00:06] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: You've been listening to the daily White House press briefing.

Tonight, globalization, the EU, easy whipping boy in the season of discontent. Why America's outgoing EU ambassador believes that Donald

Trump's support for more Brexit would be a disaster for the United States.


ANTHONY GARDNER, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE EU: I can't understand which policy. I can't understand in what way it could possibly promote our



AMANPOUR: Also ahead, the Alt Right raises its ugly head in Canada after the Quebec mosque shootings. Paula Newton has our special report.

And imagine Britain slamming the door on child refugees. Lord Alfred Dubs who fled the Nazis aboard the kindertransport sponsored a law to help

thousands of them settle here. He joins me live.

Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christian Amanpour in London.

Finding the facts and figures behind the waves of populism shaking our world. First, there was Brexit, then came Donald Trump and next France and

the Netherlands.

Upcoming elections where populist far right leaders also want to pull out of the EU. Donald Trump supports that plan and those populist, reportedly

getting a lot of his advice on this from Brexit's Nigel Farage and his own nationalist ideologue, Steve Bannon.

But a closer look at some of the numbers suggest their case against globalization and free trade may be trumped by their case against

immigration. Which is why the recently departed U.S. ambassador to the EU Anthony Gardner says supporting a further EU break-up is sheer lunacy for

the United States as well as Europe.

I've been talking to him about these dangerously shifting sands.


AMANPOUR: Ambassador, welcome to the program.

GARDNER: Good to be here.

AMANPOUR: U.S. ambassador to the EU. There's a lot to be said there. Particularly, I want your reaction to what Donald Trump has said many times

that he pretty much supports the break-up of the EU or rather more extractions of nations from the EU. He certainly supported Brexit.

What do you make of that as an American?

GARDNER: It's an extraordinary statement, because it is a departure from 70 years of established policy from both parties, Democratic or Republican

to promote the European integration agenda.

Why? Not only because it's been good for Europe, but it's been good for the United States and particularly for U.S. business and political

interest. So it's a departure established policy. I can't understand in what way it could possibly promote our interest.

AMANPOUR: Why would a Donald Trump wants to make America great again? In other words, the economy and all of that. He says he actually support

something that would nakedly harm America's economic interest. Does he know it? Is he getting advice from the wrong people? I've heard you

potentially suggest that he is, you know, listening to Farage and others.

GARDNER: Well, he's clearly being told by some people that the European Union is like the United Nations, undemocratic, it doesn't deliver, it's

dysfunctional and it's going to fall apart. Those are cartoon strip caricatures of the European Union.

The EU is not about to fall apart and it's delivering in ways that are important to us. He needs to spend more time listening to his business,

very sophisticated business leaders who will join his cabinet who will tell him the opposite.

AMANPOUR: There is what the "New York Times" today calls a robust industry of decline. In other words, people like Donald Trump who portrayed America

frankly like a third world developing nation. Brexiteers. Nigel Farage who said, you know, the UK is on its knees thanks to the EU.

Marine Le Pen who says the same. And I'm going to play something that she told me in an interview just last week.


MARINE LE PEN, PRESIDENT, FRENCH NATIONAL FRONT (through translator): But the Eurozone is the weakest economic zone in the world, with slowest growth

in the world. So what are we talking about?

The Euro and the free trade agreements have destroyed, destroyed our agriculture, destroyed our industry, led to delocalization on a massive

scale. Led to unfair competition. So this is free trade. Unfettered free trade has led to a disaster.


AMANPOUR: I see you shaking your head.

GARDNER: That's not accurate. In fact, the recent economic news show that Euro zone has had 14 consecutive quarters of uninterrupted growth and now

unemployment is down to single digits. So the economy is performing, on the whole, pretty well.

[14:05:00] Certainly in some countries -- Germany, Scandinavia, the Netherlands and UK, it's not a Eurozone country, of course, but it is just

not true that somehow the Eurozone is all performing badly.

AMANPOUR: And yet it is a persistent belief and voters are being pretty much led to vote the way they are, populist, nationalist on this persistent

belief that the economies are collapsing.

And I point that out also because again today there's a story out of the Netherlands that you just referenced that actually their economy is robust,

their growth is robust, their unemployment is low and in any normal circumstance, the current prime minister would win. And yet the far right

Geert Wilders anti-immigrant populist, nationalist party is ahead.

GARDNER: Yes. Well, first of all, the EU has always been an easy whipping boy for all of the ills of Europe. And in fact member states bear a huge

responsibility for this, for a very long time. It's not been recent. For a very long time it's that everything is going wrong is because of the

European Union.

And now when they need the European Union to deliver for example protection of external borders or to enhance prosperity, they see that the EU is

weakened because of these years and years of denigrating it. And globalization, of course, is another whipping boy for all the ills of the

world, when in fact other things are much more important.

AMANPOUR: Like what?

GARDNER: Well, for example, the role of technology; for example, the role of automation. There have been trends and phenomena that are much more

important than globalization.

AMANPOUR: Let me just read you about globalization because as you say it's the whipping boy and we are all accused of being in a bubble that doesn't

recognize the evils and the perils of globalization, particularly that's been a narrative on the Trump campaign trail.

So very interesting, the "Washington Post" just this week has an article in which it is -- look at the graphic here asks "How globalize is the United

States? Well, based on how much goods, services, capital, people and information flow across the nation's border compared with how much inside

the country, the United States ranks 100th out of 140 countries."

In other words, it's fairly low on the globalization scale. And then if you add to that another graphic from IMF, which is showing the origin of

goods and services coming into the United States, mostly are from within the United States, 84 percent. Most of America's trade is within its own

borders. And then three percent from China and a total of 4 percent from its two large neighbors. So, again, this myth that is being perpetrated.

GARDNER: It is. And we have to explain this. But at the same time, you know, the United States has also grown rich through trade with the world.

I'm now living in Bruges, Belgium. And every day I walk to the College of Europe, where I'm now teaching and I see the wealth that was created and

has resulted in this outpouring of cultural wonders and it's known as the Venice of the north. Another city that's very close to my heart.

Both cities grew rich by trade. The United States also has grown rich by trade. Now I do admit that much of what's going on here is a question

about fairness and equity.

These roots of rage that led to the Trump victory is grounded in some real things that have been going on. For example, the division of the wealth

that's been allocated to cities and the periphery. What's happened to the middle class in terms of stagnation of wages. All those things are

legitimate concerns that we need to address.

AMANPOUR: And what will happen to those legitimate areas of concern if this protectionism, this roll back of globalization, this dismissal of free

trade, what happens if they bear the fruit that the perpetrators hope they bear?

GARDNER: That's a great question. How extraordinary was it for the president to say in his inaugural address, we will make America great again

by protection, hire American and buy American. That's exactly contrary to what's made America wealthy.

Imagine if the burgers of Bruges or the traders of Venice have said we're not going to trade with the world, we're not going to embrace the world,

we're going to erect walls and we are to erect protectionism, they would be literally wastelands today.

AMANPOUR: So what's wrong then? Is it because -- certainly the populists have a very, very strong, resonating message. And the people like, you

know, David Cameron and Osborn talks about the economic risks ahead were just dismissed as scare mongers.

GARDNER: Well, I think we have to do a better job. Those of us in politics and those of us in the media. We have to use more passion, not

just facts.

AMANPOUR: Well, this is a long road ahead. Thanks so much, Ambassador Anthony Gardner.

GARDNER: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: And to Canada next. A report from Quebec where Islamophobia is rearing its head on radio and the social media. Did it provoke the recent

mosque shooting? We take a closer look.


[14:11:20] AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

Canada has a much kinder, gentler Syrian refugee program than the United States. And the nation was shocked when a gun toting white man walked into

a mosque and mowed down six Muslim worshippers.

Prime Minister Trudeau immediately called it an act of terrorism. Now Canada's chief police commissioner is warning that an anti-Islamic tone

online and in the media combined with an alt right movement is contributing to this radicalization.

The suspect in the mosque shooting was known to those who monitor far right groups.

Our Paula Newton headed to Quebec to examine this phenomenon.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The call to prayer began on that cold, dark Sunday night just like it did every evening. The shadow of

this historic Quebec church, it is a strikingly modest place of worship, making the audacity of the crime all the more horrific.

Bullet holes and blood soaked walls are now denounced by the touching symbols of grief. By the evening prayer, still so bravely observed



NEWTON (on-camera): Right here in the mosque.

EL REFAI: Right here in the mosque. After prayer.

NEWTON (voice-over): Ahmed El Refai was at the mosque that night just before six of his Muslim friends lost their lives. Six victims who left 17

children behind.

Less than 24 hours later, a city, a province and country honored them with deep felt pain and something more -- regret.

EL REFAI: It's not a crime. You find people, Canadian, people like regular Canadian people, they are crying for us.

NEWTON (on-camera): Did it surprise you?

EL REFAI: You surprised me with your question. I would say yes. I would say yes. I was surprised.

NEWTON (voice-over): The reason for that surprise can be traced back to the accused in this massacre, 27-year-old student Alexandre Bissonnette.

He is charged with six counts of first degree murder. He has not entered a plea. Police will not speculate on the motive, but they are investigating

whether a persistent streak of Islamophobia published in newspapers, debated on radio and online could have provoked him.

EL REFAI: Six amazing men that have lost their life because of this hate speech that has been in the media for years now.

NEWTON (on-camera): Do you blame the hate speech?


NEWTON: No doubt in your mind?

EL REFAI: No doubt.

NEWTON (voice-over): Jean Simon-Bui grew up with Bissonnette.

JEAN SIMON-BUI, QUEBEC JOURNALIST: He would say for instance, and I quote, "Arabs are an inferior race and they must be exterminated."

NEWTON: They went to the same high school and college, grew up in the same neighborhood. Now a journalist, he reported on the mosque attack and finds

Bissonnette's online footprint chilling.

SIMON-BUI: We can't help but see a connection between what he was looking at, what he was tweeting, what he was liking on Facebook.

NEWTON: Maxime Fiset was once a white supremacist and a Neo-Nazi.


NEWTON: He now consults with law enforcement about how to stop extremism. He takes us for an online tour of racism and anti-Islamic sentiment.

FISET: (INAUDIBLE), literally they are bastards.

NEWTON: He said this kind of online culture is obsessed with radical Islamic terrorism.

FISET: But when it's a white shooter, always a lone wolf. Oh, he's troubled; oh, he was depressed. That doesn't help. And of course the

social media allow extreme right groups to, you know, promote Islamophobia.

NEWTON: In a recent poll for the Human Rights Commission here, nearly half of all Quebecers said they disliked the Muslim faith. Fiset says this is

echoed online and on talk radio, so-called Poubelle or trash radio.

FISET: Are you saying that the Muslim's tactics is to integrate and live among us and then strike and it's like textbook Hitler on Jews.

NEWTON: Some, though, point to an ongoing debate here over secularism and Quebec's French identity with its contentious scrutiny of religious

symbols, clothing and accommodations.

Dominic Maurais said it, too, has been destructive. Maurais is a popular talk show host.

(on-camera): So-called trash radio took the blame for this and they shouldn't have been played.


DOMINIC MAURAIS, TALK SHOW HOST: Well, we shouldn't have been blamed. I mean, it's pretty coward. I mean, it's pretty coward. These are complex

issues and these are global issues and this is a gloomy situation right now on the whole planet.

NEWTON (voice-over): Maurais says there has been some contrition.

MAURAIS: We talked a lot about radical Islam. Maybe we should have been clear in my mind and in our words, it has always been very clear that we

condemn and we were condemning radical Islam. But on the other hand, I'm really adamant about it, we need to discuss Islam and the Islamic values in

our western societies. We need to address them.

We have western values, respect of women, equality of women and for me this is sacred.

NEWTON: The premiere of Quebec has called for calm and above all unity. Philippe Couillard has been blunt, too. Words can be used like knives, he


PHILIPPE COUILLARD, QUEBEC PREMIER: Words have to be fought mercilessly with words. So you don't tolerate somebody saying on social media I'm a

racist and it's OK.

NEWTON (on-camera): What's the lesson for rest of the world from what happened here in Quebec?

COUILLARD You don't build an identity or a society by trying to erase another identity and making everybody the same -- looking the same,

dressing the same, eating the same way.

NEWTON (voice-over): Not hard to observe a familiar cultural flashpoint here. One that's no different in other open western societies.

The government has described the accused as a lone wolf, but many here fear he is not a lone wolf.

Paula Newton, CNN, Quebec City.


AMANPOUR: Now remember the Quebec attack took place directly after the U.S. Muslim travel ban was announced. And just a note from our terrorism

expert, Peter Bergen at CNN, of the 90 terrorists on the White House list, at most nine are from travel ban countries. 50 of the terrorists, more

than half, are from Christian majority countries in the West.

And for most vulnerable, fleeing war and terror today, they now find a door shut here in the UK, as the British government ends its Dubs Amendment to

take in refugee children. We speak to Lord Alfred Dubs, next.


[14:20:53] AMANPOUR: Finally tonight, imagine a world shutting its doors to refugee children.

This week, the British government announced that it would stop taking those children from the so called Jungle Camp in Calais. The British Home

Secretary Amber Rudd explained why to parliament.


AMBER RUDD, BRITISH HOME SECRETARY: The government has always been clear that we do not want to incentivize perilous journeys to Europe,

particularly by the most vulnerable children.

I am clear that when working with my French counterparts, they do not want us to indefinitely continue to accept children under the Dubs Amendment

because they specify and I agree with them that it acts as a draw, it acts as a pull. It encourages the people traffickers.


AMANPOUR: So only 350 of a projected 3,000 children managed to make it before the doors closed. The home secretary adding that local authorities

here cannot cope. This scheme was named the Dubs Amendment in honor of Lord Dubs, the Labour MP, who was a child refugee himself and he joins me

now here in the studio.


AMANPOUR: Welcome.


AMANPOUR: So you must be heart broken.

DUBS: That's bitterly disappointing after all the campaigning, all the work, all of public support for the government just to say no just like


AMANPOUR: But why? Why did they?

DUBS: Well, I wish I really knew. But allegedly, local authorities have a responsibility for finding foster parents for the children. Local

authorities can't do anymore, but I know they can. They've said they can. So the government I think, they are using that as an excuse. I think they

want to shut the thing down and find any excuse to do it.

AMANPOUR: And let's just figure out where exactly these kids come from. I said from Calais, the jungle camp, but are there others from other parts of

Europe who had been trying to get across from the war zone?

DUBS: I think most of the unaccompanied child refugees that we are worried about are in -- were in France, and then Greece, and then Italy. And I was

visiting refugee camps in Greece in early January. So I saw for myself the desperate conditions for all people, including unaccompanied children and

they are awful.

AMANPOUR: I said 350 came in of a projected 3,000. You had wanted 3,000. Was that ever locked in stone? Are they technically violating the number

that were promised under your amendment?

DUBS: No. It wasn't locked in stone, because we had to change the amendment for technical reasons, parliamentary reasons. So it just said we

should take them, but there was an understanding. And the government minister said to me, one of the government ministers said to me, we intend

to accept the letter and spirit of your amendment and they simply are not doing that.

AMANPOUR: Again, it does seem so soon because it was almost like yesterday when the amendment passed and everybody was so thrilled. Give us a sense

of the risk that these children are at and we're talking 17 and younger.

DUBS: We're talking much younger. Some of them 14, 13, 12 and so on. Well --

AMANPOUR: They are all alone with no parents and no guardians.

DUBS: Nobody to look after them at all. Pretty desperate. Vulnerable to criminality, to trafficking, to prostitution, to drugs. Terrible things

could be happening to them. In Italy, it was alleged by Interpol that 10,000 of these children just disappeared, children disappearing in a

modern European country.

AMANPOUR: And no investigation into where they may have gone?

DUBS: Well, not much -- not -- presumably they were trafficked or taken into criminality.

AMANPOUR: Well, you use that sort of phenomenon, but Amber Rudd, the home secretary, said that letting them come here was encouraging traffickers and

this was a whole pull or magnet for these kids. What's your reaction to that?

DUBS: Well, first of all, when the amendment went through, the government said they would take them from France, Greece and Italy and they would take

any that's derive in Europe before the 20th of March last year to stop people coming in after --

AMANPOUR: To end the pull factor.

DUBS: Yes. To end the pull factor. So that's not a very good argument on her part either.

AMANPOUR: So what do you really think it is? I mean, if you think, why do you think the local counsels can't cope, couldn't find more foster home?

DUBS: Because some of them stepped up to the mark quite happily. They've said they can cope. They said they are willing.

We argued with the government and I said to government ministers, look, give local authorities another chance, make another appeal, explain to them

what the situation is and you'll find some of them will step up to the mark and will say, yes, we can take more children.

I've even had e-mails from foster parents in the last 24 hours saying we are foster parents, professional foster parents, we would like to take


[14:25:00] AMANPOUR: It is extraordinary. You yourself, as we said, are a survivor of the Nazis and you came here on the famous Kindertransport that

brought so many children out of Europe at that time.

Tell me how it works for you and what would have happened if you hadn't had the welcome here.

DUBS: There were 10,000 children came on Kindertransport from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia. I came on the one from Prague with Nicky,

famous Nicky Winton, who died about a year ago.

Well, I would think I couldn't have escaped the holocaust. I was half Jewish and that was enough for the Nazis. And I think all of us on the

Kindertransport had our lives saved and we had a fantastic welcome in this country.

You know, to take 10,000 when other countries wouldn't take any. But it was very terrific and I say, well, we were terrific then, why can't we be

terrific now.

AMANPOUR: So what is going on? I mean, you see Canada has been pretty terrific. It's had a lot of Syrian refugees. United States has blanket

blocked Syrian refugees and now Britain is shutting the door even on these unaccompanied minors.

What is it? Is everybody afraid of terrorism, of criminality. Are they so afraid that numbers will explode and overwhelm? Is it a post Brexit

phenomenon? What is it?

DUBS: Well, I think it's a bit of each of those, but I don't understand it, because I thought the government were quite sincere. They've said that

we've gone taking them. We've gone and I said please don't forget about Greece and Italy. You've done something in France and they said they

would. And please make the party the most vulnerable children. And I would hoped with that statement yesterday would be about tackling

vulnerability, dealing with vulnerable children.

Instead we've just slammed the door. I think it's a shabby thing to do. They have no legal justification. They have no political justification and

above all there's no moral justification for doing it.

AMANPOUR: Can you fight this battle again? Is there any parliamentary or process that you can continue to try to appeal this?

DUBS: Well, there was special question in the Commons and I had a private notice question in the Lords and even conservative peers said to the

minister we don't support you.

I think there's a lot of parliamentary support for opposing the government on this. I think there's public opinion. I believe he wouldn't have

gotten through in the first instance had the British public not said we want to help child refugees and they lobby their MPs and so the government

conceded because they thought they would lose a vote. That was last year.

Public opinion is on our side and I believe it will go on being on our side.

AMANPOUR: Well, good luck to you. Lord Alfred Dubs, thank you very much.

DUBS: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: And that is it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast and see us online and follow me

on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks for watching and good-bye from London.