Transcript: Trudeau's "joke" about Ukraine + apology

Last Thursday, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau taped an appearance on the popular television program Tout le monde en parle and that interview aired Sunday night.

You can watch the 15-minute segment here.

At around the 11-minute mark, an exchange takes place in which Trudeau is asked his views of the situation in the Ukraine.

The following transcript was provided late Monday night to members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery by Trudeau’s communications director, Mylène Dupéré :

Good evening,

We are sharing the transcription (translated into English) of the “Tout le monde en parle” segment on Ukraine. Please feel free to use this to give the full picture to your viewers, readers or listeners.

Dominique Arel : Then, there are those tragic murderous events that took place in Ukraine this week. Do you think that the policy of the Conservative Canadian Government is appropriate, and do you think Canada could do more?

Justin Trudeau: Canada should do more. For several weeks, we have been trying to encourage the Government to take the leadership to impose personal sanctions against the President and his allies. I think President Yanukovych is now illegitimate, and it is even more worrying now that Russia lost in hockey and will be in a bad mood. We fear some involvement of the Russian government in Ukraine.

Guy A. Lepage: Just because of hockey?

Justin Trudeau: No, I was just trying to bring a bit of humour in a situation that is extremely serious and extremely troubling.

Dan Bigras: Yes, because we’re talking now, we think it can degenerate into a massacre, and in fact it is started.

Justin Trudeau: Yes, the on-going violence happening there is horrible, encouraged by a President who does not have the interest of his people in mind. Personal sanctions on him and his allies will perhaps have some effect. Because it has such a large Ukrainian diaspora, Canada needs to do more.



Nous partageons avec vous la transcription de la section sur l’Ukraine de Tout le monde en parle. N’hésitez pas à l’utiliser afin d’offrir un portrait complet à vos lecteurs ou auditeurs.

Dominique Arel: Il y a les événements tragiques meurtriers en Ukraine cette semaine, croyez-vous que la politique du gouvernement Canadien, conservateur est appropriée, croyez-vous que le Canada pourrait en faire plus?

Justin Trudeau : Le Canada devrait en faire plus. Ça fait plusieurs semaines qu’on est en train d’essayer d’encourager le gouvernement de prendre le leadership pour l’imposition de sanctions personnelles contre le président et ses alliés pour moi le président Ianoukovitch est rendu illégitime et c’est très inquiétant, surtout plus que la Russie a perdu au hockey et ils vont être de mauvaise humeur, on craint l’implication Russe en Ukraine là.

Guy A. Lepage : Juste à cause du hockey?

Justin Trudeau : Non, c’est d’essayer d’amener une optique un peu légère dans une situation qui est extrêmement sérieuse et extrêmement troublante.

Dan Bigras : oui parce que l’on parle, on pense que ça peut dégénérer en massacre en fait c’est commencé.

Justin Trudeau : oui, c’est horrible la violence qui se passe. Encouragé par un président qui n’a pas l’intérêt de son peuple en tête et des sanctions personnelles sur lui et ses alliées vont peut-être avoir effet, mais surtout avec une grande diaspora ukrainienne au Canada. Le Canada se doit d’en faire plus.

So, asked a serious question about the “tragic, murderous events that took place in Ukraine”, Trudeau responds with an answer that, he admits seconds later, was “trying to bring a bit of humour in a situation that is extremely serious and extremely troubling.”

For his efforts to “bring a bit of humour” to this situation, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Canada has asked Trudeau to apologize for his remarks.

Trudeau was not in the House of Commons today but did have two tweets today on the subject:



Meanwhile, after Question Period, Liberal MP Marc Garneau was gracious enough to take some questions from reporters on this subject:

M. Garneau: He didn’t misspeak. If you look at everything that he said there, it was very clear to me and it was very clear to the people who were watching the show that this was our leader taking the situation in Ukraine — which is no laughing matter, it’s a very serious situation — that he was taking it seriously.  I look at the entire context of the program and what he said and my conclusion is that the leader, who has  been involved with this since the beginning, since December when we asked for a take-note debate, takes it very seriously.

Reporter: Are you suggesting that the NDP and the Conservatives are taking him out of context?

M. Garneau: Absolutely taking him out of context. They’re playing cheap political partisan politics, and you know, the answer is that I think they’re getting a little bit desperate. I smell fear.

Reporter: Trudeau [was] sitting down talking about a very serious situation and making a joke about hockey. Is that poor judgment?

M. Garneau: It wasn’t a joke about hockey. It was talking about the context that exists at the moment with respect to Ukraine. And if you look again, as I say, at everything he said from beginning to end, it is very clear to me that Justin Trudeau takes Ukraine extremely seriously, as we all do as Liberals. And I again remind you that on Sunday morning we put forward an emergency resolution on Ukraine. We take the situation extremely seriously. Thank you.

UPDATE: Just before noon ET on Tuesday, a Tweet appeared on Trudeau’s timeline:

4 thoughts on “Transcript: Trudeau's "joke" about Ukraine + apology”

  1. As Mr Garneau rightly puts it, you have to look at the context of the comment & the actions of the Party vis-a-vis the Sunday resolution. The only people that will make a ruckus out of this coment will be the “distortionists” from the extreme right-wing Reform/Conservatives, aided & abetted by Mulcair!!!!!!!!!!

  2. I can’t believe we getting ready to ‘ratch-up’ another delicate situation by putting on our ‘oh, it’s ok, I’m a Canadian’ boots, and just wade right in there …
    does our superiority (which, at times appears questionable)know absolutely no bounds ??

    we are doing the exact same thing our neighbours used to do –
    and look where all that concern got them /
    perhaps are getting them even now (generations removed)
    they’re adults (not children), let ’em sort it out by themselves

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