PM’s answer to question, “Do you practice what you preach?” reveals he’s inclined to fault others for behaviours he himself exhibits.
No 2404 Posted by fw, December 14, 2018
“Earlier this week, the federal government published a bombshell report on carbon pricing, predicting that a nationwide price of $50 per tonne by 2022 will cut emissions by 80 to 90 million tonnes of carbon pollution. The research that Ottawa went and produced isn’t really evidenced-based at all. According to an analysis by Simon Fraser University energy economist Mark Jaccard, the federal carbon pricing policy will only reduce emissions by 10 to 15 million tonnes below 2005 levels — but it will take until 2030 to get there. … So the federal government’s claim of a 80 to 90 million tonnes reduction by 2022 is raising some eyebrows. ‘When I see that, I’m like ‘oh come on guys, you’re trying to pull a fast one on us,’ Marc Lee, senior economist at the Canadian Centre of Policy Alternatives, told DeSmog Canada.” —James Wilt, DeSmog Canada, May 4, 2018
“When it comes to the defining issue of our day, climate change, [Trudeau’s] a brother to the old orange guy in Washington [Trump]. Not rhetorically: Trudeau says all the right things, over and over. … But those words are meaningless if you keep digging up more carbon and selling it to people to burn, and that’s exactly what Trudeau is doing.” —Bill McKibben, The Guardian, April 17, 2017
“In the context of the accumulating evidence that effectively rebuts Trudeau’s oft-repeated ‘environment and economy’ mantra, I find it ironic for him to publicly ridicule those voicing opposing viewpoints: ‘politics is about a two-way conversation,’ he scolds, demanding ‘a broad range of voices, to build a strong future.’ Surely Trudeau is the one who is not listening, not responding to the ‘broad range of voices’ on the other side of what should be a debate, rather than a unilateral declaration by the PM.” —My Comment, April 8, 2018
In a televised interview, broadcast December 9, 2018 on the CBC’s flagship National News, anchor Rosemary Barton interviewed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for 18+ minutes.
Below is an embedded video of the interview accompanied by my full transcript.
But first, here is a list of the topics Barton chose to discuss with the PM. The list details — the start time of each topic (measured from the beginning of the interview); the topic discussed; and the length of the conversation (in minutes & seconds).
“Shallow.” That’s the word that popped into mind as I scanned the amount of time spent on each of the 10 topics discussed. How could an 18+ minute interview, with this many topics, be anything other than shallow? No time here for penetrating discourse.
As you can plainly see, each of three climate- economy-related topics — Paris riots; Paris targets; and Alberta’s laid off oil workers — lasted less than one minute. As for the fourth — “selling a carbon price” — what promised to be an interesting discussion, was also given relatively short shrift.
In contrast, Barton’s final question to the PM: “Do you practice what you preach?” lasted 5+ minutes. What was so important about this question to warrant notably more time than, say, the increasingly grave, global concerns about the impact on the economy and the environment of the climate crisis? Curiously enough, the “practice what you preach” question turned out to be the most negatively revealing one about Trudeau’s level of self-deception.
Below, I present a brief commentary on Trudeau’s response to a selection of the discussion topics. But I will preface that commentary with this admission — I am not a fan of the PM. For a decade or more, I have been reposting articles about the federal Canadian political scene on my website, Citizen Action Monitor. As a result, I have acquired, what I believe to be, a responsibly informed knowledge base of the main parties, leaders, and policies. My critical opinion of PM Trudeau and his government is reflected in my opening three passages above. (As an aside, I am even more critical of the previous and current Conservative leaders).
My critical opinion of Trudeau is informed by, and a reflection of, the many authoritative sources that I have come across during the past decade. Just to reinforce the negative opinions of Trudeau expressed in my three opening excerpts, in May of this year, I posted a piece listing 79 articles exposing the Trudeau government’s dangerously ill-informed thinking about the economy, environment and climate. The thinking and actions reflected — broken promises; lies; failure to cite science and math evidence to support rhetorical declarations; duplicitous question-dodging; use of last century’s economics; rush to pipeline decision; bias favouring political and business elites; blaming Harper for current pipeline delays; gap between climate policy and emission targets; using disputed figures to justify pro-pipeline decisions; wilful or real ignorance of the meaning of “absolute decoupling” when promising the impossible — to grow the economy AND reduce emissions; failure to recognize the tarsands can no longer compete in the oil game; failing grade on First Nation pledges – And on and on the list goes. Just browsing the titles will be an eye-opener. (Source: 79 articles expose risks of trusting Ottawa’s handling of the economy/environment/climate file : Read ‘em and weep! — broken promises, lies, question-dodging, blaming, ignorance, cooking the books, and much, much more. Posted May 23, 2018).
Turning to my commentary about the Trudeau interview —
1/ Re pressing Trump over NAFTA and US steel and aluminum tariffs — I found these words telling: “I think, first of all, investors and businesses are extremely happy that we have settled the question of NAFTA.” More to the point, NAFTA and other global trade agreements are designed to grow capitalist-based economies, which in turn accelerate unsustainable material and energy resource consumption on our finite planet, pumping more CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. In addition, Trudeau’s remark reinforces the public’s perception that the interests of Big Business and the ruling class trump the interests of those Canadian citizens increasingly alarmed by the existential threat of climate change.
2/ Re discussing Jamal Khashoggi’s murder with Saudi Prince – Given his environmentally harmful, pro-NAFTA answer, are we supposed to believe the PM when he states: “My frame in all cases on the world stage is Canada wants to be helpful in moving us towards a better place as a planet.”? Furthermore, on the question — Isn’t it a contradiction for Canada to tell the Crown Prince that Canada “stands up for human rights” while selling the Saudis light armoured vehicles? — Trudeau sidestepped a direct answer to the part about “selling armoured vehicles” by reframing the issue as the pragmatic need to “look for constructive ways to be frank on human rights without shaking your fist at someone” and demanding change. Barton did not call out Trudeau on this shift.
3/ Re selling a “carbon price” to resistant provincial leaders – The PM’s mantra used to be we can have a strong economy AND a healthy environment. However, of late, his new mantra appears to be a “carbon price” on pollution. He claims: “We know that if you make pollution free, people are going to give out more of it. We say no. If you want to pollute, there should be a cost associated.” The PM’s answer reflects his oversimplified understanding of the extremely complex nature of the global climate system. And in subsequent remarks about the Paris riots, and about Canada not being on track to meet the Paris targets, the PM returns to his one-size-fits-all solution – put a price on pollution. He goes so far as to boast: “A lot of countries around the world are looking with a lot of interest at how Canada is moving forward on putting a price on pollution and supporting ordinary citizens through this transition. It is a model that is going to set us on a path to reach our Paris targets [2°C]. But Dr. Nathan Hagens, professor at the University of Minnesota where he teaches a systems synthesis Honors seminar called Reality 101, A Survey of Human Predicament would beg to differ with the PM. In a 2015 article titled Carbon Fee and Dividend: It Won’t Work Hagens noted: “Proponents of carbon fee and dividend policies believe that it will drive consumption towards renewable energy but do not understand that renewable energy cannot generate the same level of wealth as fossil carbon. So the policy will cause an economic decline and risks a public backlash when it becomes clear that the policy was falsely advertised.” (Incidentally, the article was published on Canadian Rob Mielcarski’s website, which features articles on “the damage we are doing to a very special planet, and the high probability of collapse in the not too distant future.” Trudeau’s advisers, including Catherine McKenna, would be wise to make Rob’s website a “must visit” source.
4/ Regarding Trudeau’s trip to India doing more harm than good – With all the critical issues currently facing Canada and the world, why did Rosemary Barton decide to revisit Trudeau’s admittedly disastrous visit way back in February? And she made a point of asking “Would you wear the outfits?” “No, I probably would not,” he quickly responded. A much better question would have been “Why did you wear the outfits?” She might have even drawn a comparison between Justin’s selfies and the antics of his flamboyant father, Pierre, with his pirouette and sliding down a banister antics. Now that would have made for an interesting 30 seconds. Could it be that flamboyance is a genetically inherited character trait?
5/ “Do you practice what you preach?”, asks Barton – This exchange between Barton and Trudeau – lasting 5+ minutes – turned out to be the most negatively revealing one about the PM. When the question was first posed, Trudeau replied “I certainly try to,” prompting Barton to counter with: “Do you admit there are times when you don’t?” Trudeau side-stepped that question by admitting that occasionally he is “critical” and that he “looks for ways to be fierce about distinctions in policy.” That’s an evasive answer, which leaves one wondering just what he means. That doesn’t make any sense in the context of the question he was asked. And saying he “looks for ways to be fierce” also fails to answer the question.
At this point, Barton presents a video of a specific incident where Trudeau called the Conservatives “Ambulance-chasing politicians,” asking “Does it reflect who you are as a politician?” Trudeau defends his name-calling as appropriate, blaming the Conservatives for using “the basest kinds of politics and fears.” One could logically infer from Trudeau’s answer that, depending on the situation, name calling is acceptable and is a true reflection of who he is as a politician. And again he blames the Conservatives for “exploiting a horrific tragedy to a family.”
Barton then points out that the Conservatives were merely trying to call attention to an issue that needed to be changed, and was subsequently changed. And once again Trudeau defends himself – “I will not apologize” – and accuses the Conservatives for practicing the “politics of cynicism, of fear, of division, of anger, of hatred.”
By now, the discourse between Barton and Trudeau is becoming heated.
Barton responds: “You called them a name back — ‘ambulance-chasing politicians.’ I wonder whether you think you should have said something different now?”
While agreeing that it’s the opposition’s job to challenge, Trudeau objects to the manner in which they did it – “by exacerbating the polarization, the anger, the fear within an electorate.” And once again, as if to draw a contrast between himself and the opposition, he portrays himself as “always being very firm and unequivocal about calling out nastiness and negativity to that level in politics.”
At this point Barton asks: “Have you learned anything about your temperament in this job?” And once again Trudeau characterizes himself as being “extremely passionate about standing up for what I believe to be the truth and believe in my values.” As for the opposition, he admits he gets “offended when people rely on falsehoods. And I get irritated when people try and play fast and loose with facts or ignore facts entirely. I think that is weakening not just to our governance but to our institutions and to our democracy.”
Did Rosemary Barton really think she could get the PM to see himself as others may see him? As evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers explains, self-deception “plays a significant part in human behavior. … One deceives oneself to trust something that is not true as to better convince others of that truth. When a person convinces himself of this untrue thing, they better mask the signs of deception.”
We all deceive ourselves. Why should PM Trudeau be any different? Clearly, he has a self-confirming bias. As he said in this part of the interview, he sees himself as “extremely passionate about standing up for what I believe to be the truth and believe in my values.”
David Suzuki, for one, has challenged Trudeau over his “political doublespeak.” When Trudeau said “We’ve got to keep burning more oil, more fossil fuels, in order to meet our reduction targets – Suzuki’s reaction was — What are you talking about? That’s such a crock of shit!” And when Suzuki sent Trudeau an email criticizing his approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, Suzuki subsequently reported – “And you know what his answer was? He didn’t answer. Up to that point he always answered my emails but he stopped answering them.”
So much for Trudeau “standing up for the truth,” and for being “irritated when people play fast and loose with the truth or ignore the facts” – Trudeau clearly does NOT practice what he preaches. For additional evidence of this contradiction, browse the list of 79 articles cited above, chronicling broken promises, lies, question-dodging, blaming, ignorance, fudging the facts, and much, much more.
Given his cognitive self-confirming bias, and self-deception, Trudeau is inclined to believe those versions of the truth and values that correspond with his own. Whether unconsciously or wilfully, the PM seemingly manages to insulate himself from opposing viewpoints. In other words, he’s just like most of us — with one significant difference — the PM’s self-deception and self-serving bias can have long-lasting, negative consequences.
Below is the embedded video of the CBC interview along with my full transcript.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discusses the economy, trade, foreign policy and the 2019 federal election in a wide-ranging interview with The National’s Rosemary Barton.
Rosemary Barton (RB) – Justin Trudeau (JT)
[Conversation begins outside on a snow-covered corner in Montreal]
[Being mindful of what life’s all about]
00:28 – RB – Do you have moments where you wake up and you think “Ah, I just want to hang out with the kids today?”
JT – Yeah, pretty much every morning. But you do a pretty good job of making time for the kids on many weekends – hoping for the ice to freeze, so we can get out on the lake. Just times where I remember what life’s all about and why I’m doing the rest of it is to try and build a better life for them, and spending time with them is part and parcel of that.
RB – Does that remind you of any sentiments you had?
JT – A little bit. A lot of … (Crosstalk)
RB – You had mostly just your job, right?
JT – A lot of what I’m trying to do is articulate to them in a way that my father never did. What they’re going through because he hadn’t gone through it, but I have gone through it and I can sort of relate to them on that. I try to get my kids the tools to appreciate the positive sides of this life and handle the negative side.
[Pressing Trump over NAFTA and US steel and aluminum tariffs]
01:36 – RB – I’m going to start with where you were around this time last week, with the G20, and the signing of the new NAFTA. I know you might argue that tariffs and a trade deal are not the same thing, that they’re two separate things. But, it seems to me that you had some leverage there with the United States and you won’t get it again. So why did you sign it even with those tariffs still in place?
JT – I think, first of all, investors and businesses are extremely happy that we have settled the question of NAFTA. The question of leverage is one to reflect on. I mean we obviously want to get rid of those steel and aluminum tariffs. We need to. We’re going to continue to stand up for our workers, but we also see the path towards ratification as a place where there are continued conversations from members of Congress, from business or associations in the United States, from governors, who also want to see these tariffs gone, and we’re going to come back to that.
02:28 – RB – Back to leverage then? Trying to press on people around him or people in Washington?
JT – Every step of the way there continue to be levers to pull on and we’re going to continue to do what Canadians expect us to do, which is look at every opportunity to stand up for our interests.
RB – You have said that the president [Trump] is unpredictable. You’ve said that he doesn’t play by the rules. Can you give me an example of how that has affected your job as prime minister? – having someone who is so unpredictable?
JT – I think that as Canadians have seen, we’ve continued to stay constructive in our relationship with the United States. It means that we certainly don’t react or overreact when we get a surprise in a tweet or a statement. We continue to say — Look, the relationship is bigger than that between any two individuals at the heads of the country …
03:17 – RB – Has it gotten easier with the president?
JT – Yes. There’s a little more understanding of what our personalities are and how we can work together.
RB – But you’re not going to hang out with him?
03:29 — JT – Canadians expect me to be professional around this and I will continue to.
[Discussing Jamal Khashoggi’s murder with Saudi Prince]
03:37 — RB – I want to move to another thing that happened at the G20 when you took some time with the Saudi Prince, the Saudi Crown Prince, MBS [Mohammed bin Salman]. You raised the issue of Raif Badawi, his sister, Jamal Khashoggi and the war in Yemen. How does a leader respond to another leader coming up to him and saying — Listen, we have some problems here? How does he respond to that?
JT – I think that very much depends on the way things are phrased. My frame in all cases on the world stage is Canada wants to be helpful in moving us towards a better place as a planet. It’s never a situation of imagining that we can stand there and tell another country what to do or how to do it. It’s saying – Look, it would be great if you were to do this, and we could be helpful in moving forward in a constructive way.
RB – How do you say it as a crown prince – We’re pretty sure you were involved in the killing of an innocent journalist.
JT – Well, we say we need better answers on that. We need better accountability. The killing of a journalist is something that is extremely serious to Canadians, to me …
04:46 — RB – And his response to you saying that, with you knowing full well what you know about the intelligence behind it?
JT – His response, is look … We’re happy to continue to work and get more information, more proof and if you have proof or information continue to provide it. So that’s exactly what we’re doing.
RB – Did you roll your eyes at that point?
JT – Being a leader on the world stage involves having an ability to engage with all types of people without letting personal feelings overtake one’s involuntary movements.
RB – Have you heard the tape [of Khashoggi’s murder] or have you been briefed on … (Crosstalk)
JT – I have been briefed on what the tape is.
RB – And what was that like?
JT – Obviously it’s something that intelligence communities have taken and listened to and worked with and it’s part of our reflection on getting real answers.
RB – But is it, can you characterize it for me?
JT – I’m not going to characterize it.
RB – Horrific?
JT — I’m not going to characterize it.
RB – You said you also made it clear to the crown prince that Canada stands up for human rights. How can you say that to him knowing that we’re still selling those light armoured vehicles? Is there not a contradiction on that?
5:58 – JT – This is a question that comes up not just in regards to Saudi Arabia, but in regards to a broad array of countries that have different levels of defence of human rights than Canadians have and Canadians expect. We try to look for constructive ways to have relationships that lead us to being able to be very frank on human rights while at the same time look for a way where you’re not sort of shaking your fist at someone and saying – You’ve got to change – in an expectation that that alone will have them change.
RB – Is the contract impossible to break?
JT – There are reflections ongoing around that.
RB – So, the contract could be broken?
JT – As I highlighted, the contract has particular provisions both for confidentiality and around significant penalties in the billions of dollars, and it was a contract that was signed by the previous government and we are looking at it, obviously.
[Selling a carbon ‘price’ (not ‘tax’) to resistant provincial leaders]
7:03 – RB – You’ve got four provinces who have not complied with the carbon tax you’re imposing on them. Is it harder to sell the carbon tax when you have premiers saying that it is the wrong thing to do?
JT – I think the fact that there are a bunch of conservatives out there who have decided that pollution should be free is not that difficult to counter. We’re putting a price on pollution because we want less pollution. And the fact that conservatives in this country don’t want to move forward on either fighting climate change or helping people ensure that we can get the good jobs in the future is a conversation I’m willing to have any time. What we’re doing with the climate action incentive is making sure that a family that will have extra costs because of putting a price on pollution will be more than equivalently compensated for it.
RB – And what is your hope in terms of how those people change their behaviour? And do you have a sense of how quickly that would happen?
JT – I think we know that when you put a price on something you don’t want, like pollution … (Crosstalk)
RB – A tax. A tax.
JT –… well we’re putting a price on pollution, right? (Crosstalk)
RB – A tax. But okay.
JT – Actually, the money is going straight back to the jurisdiction. This isn’t going into federal coffers. This isn’t something we’re going to spend on something else. We’re actually giving that money back to citizens in the province in which it was raised. Because we know that if you make pollution free, people are going to give out more of it. We say no. If you want to pollute, there should be a cost associated.
[What have you learned from the Paris riots?]
08:43 – RB – We saw a political ally of yours in Emmanuel Macron faced with the very question over the past couple of weeks. He put a surtax on fuel. Riots in the streets, and he had to back down. What lesson did you learn from watching that?
JT – Well he didn’t ensure that the second part of – you put a price on pollution – because we want less pollution – but you also make sure that ordinary Canadians are going to be able to afford this transition towards a lower carbon economy.
RB – So it’s the rebate that makes the difference?
JT – The rebate, the support for families, and making sure that we are supporting families through this transition time is a fundamental responsibility for every government.
[How do you respond to UN report that says Canada is not on track to meet Paris targets?]
9:26 – RB – And yet, the United Nations says that most of the large emitting countries, including Canada, are not on track to meet Paris targets. They are calling for more urgency. So how do you respond in the face of that – do you speed up what you’re doing? Do you change what you’re doing?
JT – Actually a lot of countries around the world are looking with a lot of interest at how Canada is moving forward on putting a price on pollution and supporting ordinary citizens through this transition. It is a model that is going to set us on a path to reach our Paris targets [2°C]. We are going to be able … (Crosstalk)
RB – Well the UN says “No.” The UN says it’s not going to happen.
JT – We are going to be able to reach those commitments.
RB – How?
JT – By having a price on pollution, people will look for ways to innovate, to pollute less that will effectively reduce our climate change emissions and improve the outcome.
RB – So, you will reach the Paris…?
JT – We’re going to reach our Paris targets, yes.
[Given falling oil prices, what can be done to help Alberta’s laid off oil workers?]
10:23 – RB – Okay. The Alberta premier announced a reduction on oil production to deal with these historic low prices in Alberta. She’s also buying rail cars to try and find more ways out. What have you offered to her? What can you do for the tens of thousands of people laid off in that sector now? Is there anything you can do?
JT – We are absolutely looking at the tools we have around UI (Unemployment Insurance). We are looking at the tools we have around income support, and I’m also willing, of course, to sit down with premier Notley and hear about how the federal government can be a partner in solving this (unintelligible) right away. … (Crosstalk)
RB – But she told you. She wanted you to buy rail cars for instance.
JT – That’s something we’re happy to look at if that’s a proposal that she thinks is going to make a significant difference then we’re happy to look at how it works. I mean we’re there to be a partner to help.
[And what can you do for Oshawa’s GM auto workers, soon to be out of a job?]
11:07 — RB — When GM announced its future shut down of the Oshawa auto plant you said you’re going to help to get those workers back on their feet. What would you say to those people who are, you know, concerned that their jobs are sort of evolving away, you know, that the jobs are not maybe the jobs of the future and so, you know, what could you do for them?
JT – It is a devastating piece of news that GM has put forward, and we’re continuing to work both with GM and with folks to try and see if there isn’t a path forward, whether it’s new technologies that are coming in or improvements on old technologies. And that focus is something we’re continuing to invest in. And that’s why our investments in skills and university and stem research and bringing women into the workforce, these are the kinds of things that we’re trying to help Canadians in that transition.
11:50 — RB – I get that. So then why don’t you just say to them take that giant plant you have and make cars of the future. Why won’t they consider … (Crosstalk)
12:16 — JT – That’s part of the conversation ongoing. Obviously president Trump and I had commiserated about this so there are real questions about what we can do to try and make sure that we’re giving every possible support to those workers.
[Did trip to India do more harm than good?]
12:22 — RB – Did that trip to India do more harm than good?
JT – There is a number of things that came out that were very positive about that trip in terms of … (Crosstalk)
RB – Like what?
JT – … in terms of investments, in terms of jobs. But, yeah, if we had to redo that trip I would do it very differently.
RB – Would you wear the outfits?
JT – No, I probably would not. I think that was a clear – I mean I had more suits on that trip than I had outfits, but the pictures of the outfits dominated, and certainly it was a lesson learned.
RB – And the whole attempted murderer showing up at a dinner. What – I know the report has come out and you’re not willing to say much about what was redacted, but it seems to me, you at least have a lesson here about how you do these things.
JT – Absolutely. On every trip there are lessons to learn, ways to improve how we do things. I mean one of the lessons on this is just how important it is that we have a national security committee of parliamentarians that actually come together – all parties together – and weigh in on these issues.
[Do you practice what you preach?]
13:22 — RB – You’ve said that Canadians should expect the next election to be the nastiest yet. Okay. What are you going to do to prevent that?
JT – I’m going to continue to demonstrates that positive politics that bring people together, that not engaging in personal attacks – Canadians deserve better than politicians who play that fear and division card every time they can.
RB – Do you practice what you preach?
JT – I certainly try to.
RB – Yeah, you try to?
JT – I’m… (Crosstalk)
RB – Do you admit there are times when you don’t?
JT – I will admit that I have occasion to be critical in ways – I always look for ways to be very fierce about distinctions in policy and calling out the politics of division and fear whenever I see it.
14:03 — Video clip of Trudeau – “The Conservatives are terribly upset that I referred to them as practicing ambulance-chasing politics. But if they’re upset, it’s probably because it stings.” [Trudeau turns and heads up the stairs].
RB – I’m thinking back to a moment at the beginning of October when we were talking about the Terri Lynn McClintock news – she with the healing lodge. Inside the House of Commons you called the Conservatives “ambulance-chasing politicians” and it wasn’t just in the heat of the moment because then you came right back out and you said it again. How do you feel about that comment now? Does it reflect who you are as a politician?
JT – I think it does because I won’t make any apologies for calling out people who use the basest kinds of politics and fears to torque a situation.
RB – You’ve changed the policy subsequent to that.
JT – Yes we did. But they didn’t recognize that they had done exactly the same thing 14 times while they were in office. And the fact that Terri Lynn McClintock was transferred to a medium-security institution under the Conservative government, and she remained in a medium-security institution throughout the time that they were criticizing me, so that they were willing to exploit a horrific tragedy to a family, to a little girl, to try and score cheap political points … (Crosstalk)
RB – Well, they were trying to call attention to an issue that needed to be changed [that was] subsequently changed.
JT – That was a change that they very much could have made if they were so outraged about it while they were busy doing it. I will not apologize for calling out the politics of cynicism, of fear, of division, of anger, of hatred … (Crosstalk)
RB – But that’s not what you did. You called them a name back “ambulance-chasing politicians”. I wonder whether you think you should have said something different now?
JT – I think it’s extremely important to point out when people are playing the basest kinds of politics. Their decision to move forward and to make this an issue on the back of a terrible tragedy was something that would change the politics … (Crosstalk)
RB – But they changed the policy. Like it worked. And in that way the opposition was doing its job, whether you like the language they used is beside the point.
JT – I think there’s two things. First of all, yes, it is an opposition’s job and responsibility to challenge, to call out, to have to say you should do things differently. You can do things differently. That’s really important. But if they do it by exacerbating the polarization, the anger, the fear within an electorate, we start to walk down a very, very dangerous path. And I am always going to be very firm and unequivocal about calling out nastiness and negativity to that level in politics.
RB — 16:39 – Have you learned anything about your temperament in this job?
JT – I have some … (Crosstalk)
RB – I have some observations but I’ll let you go first.
16:46 — JT – Yeah, I am extremely passionate about standing up for what I believe to be the truth and believe in my values. And I get offended when people rely on falsehoods. And I get irritated when people try and play fast and loose with facts or ignore facts entirely. I think that is weakening not just to our governance but to our institutions and to our democracy.
RB – You’re scrappy, would you say?
JT – Yeah. I’m not going to sit by meekly as people weaken our institutions and our democracy.
RB — And what is the difference between being scrappy and being full of “sunny ways”? Can you be scrappy and still positive?
JT – Absolutely. I think I can and I think I do. I mean I always look for ways to bring people together. But I’m always going to be ready to argue a given point.
RB — I was in New York last week and I wandered into a store and there was cups with your name on it and socks and all sorts of things. Do you ever worry that brand ‘Trudeau” sort of overtakes what you’re trying to say and do, which I think, to you, is more important?
JT – I think I what we’re seeing around interest in Canada on the world stage doesn’t have as much to do with me as it does to do with what Canadians have been doing on the world stage for years, and for generations. … (Crosstalk) …
RB – But your face is attached to it; it’s not the flag, or it’s not, you know ….
JT — There’s a mix of things associated with it. And if we can do a better job of highlighting of what Canada is doing on the world stage, and how we’re – and what we’re doing at home with things like the Canada child benefit that’s making such a big difference, then people will look and say – Okay, they’ve got a solution to some of the really sticky problems that we’re facing all around the world.
RB – Thank you. Thank you for your time. Appreciate it.
18:44 — END OF INTERVIEW
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