Progressive Views Column – Trudeau Pain

tristan headshotIn an interview on the Feb. 23rd edition of the hit Quebec TV show ‘Tout le monde en parle’, Justin Trudeau made a controversial comment that lead to a somber apology. On the program, Justin made his comments while he was speaking about the ongoing political crisis in the Ukraine, where former President Viktor Yanukovych was recently disposed by parliamentary order and clashes between Pro-Russian and Pro-Euro groups – as well as police – has lead to the deaths of many demonstrators and officers alike over the past few weeks. Speaking in French about these events, Trudeau said that he was concerned about Russia getting involved militarily in the situation, especially now that they’re “mad” about losing out on an Olympic Medal in Men’s Hockey.

Shortly after making the flippant comment, the show’s host Guy Lepage asked him if Russia would respond “Just because of hockey?” to which Trudeau immediately corrected by saying “No. That’s trying to bring a light view in a situation that’s extremely serious”.

After news of the comments spread, other Liberal MPs were quick to come to Justin’s defence, saying that it was unnecessary for him to make an apology for a comment that was not malicious. While the severity of the comments can be debated, it is true that the Ukrainian Ambassador to Canada, Vadym Prystaiko, said that he was insulted by the comments, saying on CBC’s Power and Politics that “jokes are inappropriate these days when we have hundreds [of] people [dead].” Mr. Prystaiko went on to say that he would request an apology from Trudeau for his insensitivity.

Trudeau apologized for his comments by personally visiting the Ukrainian Embassy in Ottawa to speak with Vadym Prystaiko. The ambassador was “pleased” with Justin’s apology, and appreciated that Trudeau became the first MP to sign the book of condolences for those who have lost their lives in the chaos.

Trudeau’s response was poignant, and it is clear that he meant no ill will with his comments, though they may have been inappropriate. However, it is more troubling for Justin that this will remain as yet another reminder to Canadians that he is incompetent in his duties, and exposes his knack for making ludicrously ignorant comments. This is yet another in a long line of ‘bozo eruptions’ from the Liberal leader, who has said in the past that he had admiration for China and their “basic Dictatorship”, and who didn’t know that Yukon had political parties.

With this, and his comments in the past, Justin has done little to convince Canadians that he has any sort of substance as a candidate for Prime Minister in 2015. With attacks coming from New Democrats and Conservatives alike, Liberals will have to work hard to keep Trudeau talking as little as possible if they want a chance of bringing their embattled party back into government.

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