Asked what country he most admires, Trudeau’s answer is no longer China

It was the answer that left many of even his most ardent admirers scratching their heads.

Justin Trudeau,  then running for the leadership of his party in 2013, was given a lob-ball question from a supporter at a “Ladies Night” meet-and-greet in Toronto: “Which nation, besides Canada, which nation’s administration do you most admire, and why?”

The future prime minister’s odd answer: “You know, there’s a level of admiration I actually have for China ….”

 China? Why China?

“Because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime and say ‘we need to go green  fastest…we need to start investing in solar.’”

One general election and two trips as prime minister of Canada to China later, Trudeau stood before Canadian reporters at a press conference in Beijing Tuesday and was asked if he would like a do-over on the same question. “Do you still admire China more than any other country?” I asked. “And if not, what is the country you most admire other than Canada?”

Trudeau took a big sigh.

Mine was the 14th and last question in a 30-minute press conference in which Canadian reporters had grilled him mostly about the state of discussions with Chinese leaders about the potential for formal negotiations on a Canada-China free trade deal. A couple of questions as to how he was advancing the cause of freedom of expression, human rights, and the rule of law while he was in China were also in the mix.


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