Justin Trudeau vs Justin Trudeau: a brief history of a prime minister and his (epic) gaffes

The frank, open format of town halls has revealed several things about Trudeau, including, perhaps, that he doesn’t always think before he speaks

Joe O'Connor
Joe O’Connor

Justin Trudeau, one-time dramatic arts teacher and current Canadian Prime Minister, has been on a cross-country odyssey of late, holding town halls and fielding questions from Joe Public. The frank, open, and revealing format has revealed several things about Trudeau, including, perhaps, that he doesn’t always think before he speaks, or if he does, he would be wise (smart?) to think again. Below, we offer a brief history of the handsome Liberal politician whose foot is never far removed from his mouth.

Context: The federal government is in a protracted legal battle with certain veterans advocacy groups over just compensation for years of military service. Brock Blaszczyk, who lost a leg to a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in 2009, takes the microphone.

Location: Trudeau town hall, Edmonton, AB

Question: I was prepared to be killed in action, what I wasn’t prepared for, Mr. Prime Minister, is Canada turning its back on me.

And Trudeau says…
Thank you sir, thank you. Thank you for being here today to share your justifiable passion and frustration and anger with me…On a couple elements you brought up. First of all, why are we still fighting against certain veterans groups in court? Because they are asking for more than we are able to give right now.


Context: Omar Khadr, notorious terrorist, receives $10-million compensation settlement from Canadian government; dozens of Canadian citizens who joined, or supported ISIL in some capacity, are reported to have returned to Canada.

Location: Trudeau town hall, Edmonton, AB

Question: I need to know how you’re going to protect future Canadians, like my young daughter, 10, 15, 20 years from now, when you’re letting people in with an ideology that just doesn’t conform to what we are doing here.

And Trudeau says…
Well, I can tell you when Italian families settled in Montreal in the postwar years, they faced terrible discrimination, and people who pushed back at them and said, “No, no, no, you don’t belong here, you don’t speak English or French. Every wave of immigration has faced push-back, because of how they dressed or how they sounded or what their belief or religion was….


Context: Justin Trudeau is the bi-lingual prime minister of a bilingual country. He is asked a question in English.

Location: Trudeau town hall, Sherbrooke, QC, 2017

Question: Of particular concern in this area are services to minority populations. Most of the public services in this area are available in French only…I would really appreciate your comment on this subject.

And Trudeau says…
Merci. Thank you. (And switches to French). If you’ll allow me, I’ll respond in French, so everyone can understand. Thank you for using our country’s two official languages, but we’re in Quebec, so I’ll answer in French.


Context: Trudeau, in his pre-prime minister years as Liberal leader, launches a charm offensive, hosting a ladies only event dubbed: “Justin Unplugged.”

Location: Toronto

Question: Event host lobs Trudeau a softie about what country (besides Canada) he admires most.

And Trudeau says….
There is a level of admiration I actually have for China, because their basic dictatorship is actually allowing them to turn their economy around on a dime. (Side note: A straight-faced Tom Mulcair, former NDP leader, later responds to Trudeau comment. “I’m not a big fan of dictatorships, I rather prefer democracy.”)

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