In court documents, Trudeau defends decision to call out Quebec heckler for ‘racism’
At the event, Blain called out multiple times from the crowd, asking, ‘When will you give us back the $146 million that we paid for your illegal immigrants?’
In the wake of Justin Trudeau’s blackface scandal, his comments in a recent lawsuit give an illuminating insight into how the prime minister thinks about racism.
In August 2018, Trudeau made headlines when he called out a woman for “intolerance” and “racism” after she heckled him at a rally in Quebec and asked him about “illegal immigrants.”
That incident led to an ongoing lawsuit that has received little public attention since it was filed by the heckler last December. In July, Trudeau was questioned in Montreal as part of the lawsuit.
In the court documents, obtained by the National Post this week, Trudeau said he believed the intolerance had to be addressed clearly and also pointed to a particular brand of Quebec nationalism he found troubling.
In videos that circulated widely of the altercation — during a speech Trudeau gave to Liberal supporters at an event in Sabrevois, Que. — the prime minister can be seen telling the heckler that “this intolerance regarding immigrants does not have a place in Canada,” and later that “your racism has no place here.”
At the time, commentators and Conservative politicians were quick to accuse the prime minister of berating an elderly woman without justification, a narrative that changed somewhat after it was revealed that the woman, Diane Blain, had connections to far-right nationalist groups.
In December, Blain filed a defamation lawsuit against Trudeau, demanding $90,000 for psychological distress and damage to her reputation and her right to freedom of expression.
Trudeau’s defence argues that it was “perfectly legitimate” for the prime minister to “note the intolerance expressed by the terms used by Ms. Blain.”
During his examination, Trudeau told Blain’s lawyer the context of her comments made it clear she was intolerant. But he also said he doesn’t believe Blain was a racist, despite having accused her multiple times of racism.
At the event, Blain called out multiple times from the crowd, asking, “When will you give us back the $146 million that we paid for your illegal immigrants?” Her question was in reference to the Quebec government’s demand at the time to be reimbursed for costs incurred by the influx of asylum seekers entering Quebec at Roxham Road, between official entry points.Canadian conservatives, Canadian news, Canadian politics, Conservative Canadians, conservatives, In court documents, pipelines, right for Canada, Trudeau defends decision to call out Quebec heckler for 'racism'
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