10 things we learned from PM Trudeau's interview with Lisa LaFlamme
Published Friday, December 29, 2017 9:00PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, December 31, 2017 8:34PM EST
OTTAWA – If you had to describe Donald Trump in one word, what would it be?
"Consistent," was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's answer, after taking a lengthy pause to consider his response.
This was one of the highlights from CTV Chief News Anchor and Senior Editor Lisa LaFlamme's sit-down interview with Canada’s leader, which aired Friday evening on CTV News.
The pair discussed the top 10 defining issues of 2017, based on thousands of questions from CTV viewers.
In no particular order, here are 10 key takeaways from their conversation.
1) Trudeau thinks Trump is a 'disruptive force'
When asked whether he thought U.S. President Donald Trump's exchange of rhetoric with North Korea's Kim Jong Un was dangerous, Trudeau said Trump "has demonstrated that he's a bit of a disruptive force."
"He does unpredictable things and sometimes they have positive impacts, sometimes they have negative impacts," he said.
The prime minister acknowledged they disagree on a number of issues -- but that’s what makes it important to have a strong, but frank, relationship.
His one word to describe Trump? "Consistent. He's the same person in private as he is in public," Trudeau said.
2) Revoking Aung San Suu Kyi’s honorary citizenship would be little more than 'symbolic'
Since August, more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims fled their homes amid violence in Myanmar to seek refuge in Bangladesh, resulting in a humanitarian crisis. The United Nations has called it a case of "textbook ethnic cleansing."
Trudeau said deciding not to revoke Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s honorary Canadian citizenship doesn't mean that all is forgiven. Rather, Canada is opting for a more "productive" approach than the "grand symbolic gestures that might make people feel a little better."
He questioned whether revoking her honorary Canadian citizenship would mean anything to a Rohingya family in a Bangladesh refugee camp.
"If Canada is helpful in getting them to return home, or get an education, or feel safe, then that's what they care about and that's what I'm focused on," he said.
3) Finance Minister Morneau isn’t going anywhere
Throughout much of the fall, questions to Trudeau and Bill Morneau over tax reform proposals, the finance minister’s personal assets and related potential conflict of interest, dominated daily question period in the House of Commons.
When asked if he had a conversation with Bill Morneau about resigning throughout these months, Trudeau said: "God… he is delivering on exactly what we promised to Canadians we'd do. The work that Bill and our entire team has done has stayed focused on that."
Though he did say the entire cloud of controversy surrounding Morneau wasn’t without regrets.
"Woulda coulda shoulda... Were there things that in hindsight he might have done differently? I think he certainly is the first to admit that there would have been, but there’s no 'there, there' for… in terms of ethics," Trudeau said.
4) The PM is 'frustrated and outraged' for having to settle with Khadr
This past summer, news broke that the federal government was issuing former Guantanamo Bay inmate Omar Khadr a $10.5 million settlement. When asked why he deserved such an amount, Trudeau said people are right for being frustrated and outraged by it.
"I am frustrated and outraged about having to make that settlement. People should remain frustrated and outraged because then perhaps future governments will never again think that it would be easier to allow for someone's rights to be violated because they are politically unpopular, rather than standing up for what is right, which is: we defend people's rights. And the anger that people feel about having had to make that settlement should prevent our government or any future government from ever doing that again," Trudeau said.
He downplayed that the deal was done in secret, and that the U.S. administration knew about it before Canadians did.
5) 'I'm an emotional person'
Trudeau got emotional when asked about the death of Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie.
"He challenged me and thanked me at the same time… He made me feel that he was watching me and he would be watching me, but he was also really hopeful that we were going to be able to do this. And when I say we, it's not just about the government and First Nation, Metis and Inuit peoples. It's about non-Indigenous Canadians as well," said Trudeau.
He said he found his dedication to the issue during a personally difficult time inspiring and said it continues to touch him.
"I'm an emotional person and that's who I am. I am passionate about things about life and I will always be," he said.
6) Legal pot won't be his thing, PM prefers bourbon or beer
Despite being framed as a "pothead" by the opposition, Trudeau said he’s far from it.
"I don't drink coffee. I don't drink much alcohol. I’m sort of… bourbon or beer. But I don't smoke. I don't do drugs. I never really have. I've tried them, but ... the whole thing is it's not my thing. It’s never been my thing," he said.
Trudeau has no plans to smoke marijuana once it becomes legal, a pursuit he still thinks is an "urgent" matter, despite many stakeholders calling for the rollout to be slowed down.
"Let's not try and hide our heads in the sand and say, 'Oh if we don't legalize it there won't be any problems with marijuana,'" he said.
7) Some returning ISIS fighters 'definitely can't' be rehabilitated
Trudeau said that some of the ISIS fighters returning to Canada "definitely can't" be rehabilitated and it’s something Canadian security agencies have to be "very alert to."
He said they are being monitored, but there is also community outreach that the government thinks will help.
"We know that someone who has engaged and turned away from that hateful ideology can be an extraordinarily powerful voice for preventing radicalization in future generations and younger, younger people within the community."
8) Calls the patriarchy 'toxic'
When questioned about why he has remained silent on Trump's record with women, despite calling himself a feminist, Trudeau said it's about choosing to find "tangible" solutions that are more than crossing his arms and hurling insults.
He said that while at McGill University he was part of the Student Society Sexual Assault Centre and had an "awakening" around issues of harassment and consent.
"I kind of despair that in the 25 years since I was doing that, we haven't seen nearly as much progress as we should," Trudeau said.
He acknowledged Parliament Hill can still have an old boys' club atmosphere at times.
"No workplace anywhere is exempt from that and all we can do is try and bring in the processes and eventually get to a place where behaviors are fundamentally changed in people who are working now, but more importantly that next wave of people entering the workforce will never have to face the kind of patriarchy or power dynamics that are so toxic," Trudeau said.
9) The importance of taking responsibility for past ills
Since becoming prime minister, Trudeau has apologized on behalf of the government for three historical wrongs: the Komagata Maru incident, Newfoundland and Labrador residential school abuses, and discrimination of LGBTQ federal employees.
He said that having two of his children, Xavier and Ella Grace, watch the LGBTQ apology in the House of Commons was particularly special.
"They were there when we did something that was, in itself, fundamentally important. Taking responsibility for ills of the past. And having them be able to see the impact on Canadians and all the House coming together of that apology was I think for me a.... I was glad to have them there as a dad because I want them to grow up in a country where those kinds of things matter and I was happy to bring them there for that," Trudeau said.
He also got emotional when reflecting on the residential school apology he made in Goose Bay, N.L.
10) 2018 about gauging if policies are working
Asked about his 2018 predictions, Trudeau said heading into year three of his mandate will be about seeing more get done, and making sure that what they are doing is "having the right impact on people."
According to the federal mandate letter tracker, the vast majority of the Liberals’ promises -- over 200 of them -- have yet to be fully met.