Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the Canadian government is facing an “unruly neighbour” south of the border.
Speaking at local high school in Sackville, N.S., Tuesday evening Trudeau said he knew some people attending the public town hall were feeling concerned about Canada’s place in the world and “you know, dealing with a somewhat unruly neighbour these days…
“Maybe, not unruly, maybe unpredictable sometimes,” the prime minister quickly added, catching himself while the crowd laughed.
Trudeau may not have intended to call the United States or its president Donald Trump disorderly, disruptive and undisciplined, but his audience seemed to appreciate the candour.
Earlier: Trudeau meets with U.S. secretary of state
The prime minister made the quip on the same day that his his foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland met with U.S. officials in Washington to prepare for the next round of NAFTA negotiations in Montreal this month.
The prime minister did not get an easy ride during his first of six town halls across Canada. He fielded questions from a mother struggling with a severely autistic child who said she had no access to any financial assistance, to a man suffering from ALS who noted the government gives him the right to physician-assisted dying but not to experimental medication, and to the sister of man who came to Canada as a child refugee and now awaits deportation to Somalia, a country he does not really know.
Trudeau was also asked about how he feels about “being the first prime minister ever found guilty of a federal crime.” The prime minister responded swiftly: “What crime is that?”
The woman, who was referencing Trudeau’s visit to the Aga Khan’s private island in the Bahamas and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson’s scathing report, went on to say she believes he should not have “taken bribes” from the Aga Khan or given money to his longtime family friend’s foundation.
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While some in the crowd cheered, Trudeau said Dawson’s report showed the system works.
“We have an ethics commissioner who is there to ensure parliamentarians, all elected officials, including the prime minister, follow the rules and make sure they are exercising the responsibilities to serve their country in the right way and the responsible way,” he said.
Trudeau went on to say that he agreed with Dawson and would vet all his future trips with the new ethics commissioner.
The prime minister was also questioned about his government’s record on Indigenous issues, over legalizing marijuana, and his government’s $10.5-million payment to Omar Khadr.
He is scheduled to hold another public town hall in Hamilton Wednesday.
The full town hall video from Trudeau’s Facebook page can be seen below:
LIVE – town hall in Lower Sackville, NS! Not at Sackville High? Ask your questions below and I’ll answer as many as I can after the Q&A session. 🇨🇦 EN DIRECT – discussion publique à Lower Sackville, en N.-É.! Vous n’êtes pas à l’école secondaire de Sackville? Posez vos questions ci-dessous et je répondrai au plus grand nombre possible d’entre elles après la séance de Q et R.
Posted by Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, 9 January 2018