PM defends fundraisers, blames media and opposition for arousing criticism
Published Friday, December 16, 2016 10:04PM EST
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government has followed all the rules for party fundraisers, and blames media and opposition leaders for creating any concern among the public.
The prime minister spoke to Lisa LaFlamme, CTV’s senior editor and chief anchor, in his Quebec riding of Papineau for a wide-ranging interview to be broadcast on Dec. 28.
- Watch “A Conversation with the Prime Minister" on December 28 at 8 p.m. ET on CTV
The Liberals have been under fire in the House of Commons for weeks over appearances by Trudeau and some cabinet ministers at so-called cash-for-access fundraising events, raising concerns those who can afford the $1,500 ticket prices can buy better access than most Canadians have.
Trudeau repeated his assertion, made frequently in question period, that his government follows all fundraising rules.
"That's the thing -- that comments that media and that oppositions make are causing people concerns," he told LaFlamme.
When his government took office, Trudeau instructed his cabinet ministers to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest, proposing a stricter line than the one set down in the federal Conflict of Interest Act.
Trudeau on Trump’s win
Trudeau seems to have found some common ground with U.S. president-elect Donald Trump: despite their political differences, Trudeau says Trump's rise reminds him of his own surprise win in the 2015 election.
In the interview, Trudeau compared the strategies that took both men to power.
"When you connect with voters, when you connect with citizens and show that you’ve listened to them and, you know, are in alignment with how they’re feeling, this is what happens," Trudeau said.
Trudeau won the election after starting out in third place in public opinion polls. Then-prime minister Stephen Harper called the election 78 days before the fixed voting date of Oct. 19, giving the Liberals more than two months for Trudeau to travel the country and meet with Canadians. While Trudeau's opponents said he wasn't ready to govern, he connected with the voters who sent him to power.
Trump spent months in the Republican primary, eventually defeating all other contenders. Polls suggested he didn't have the support to win the presidential race, but he managed more electoral college votes than Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Trudeau has invited Trump to visit Canada following his inauguration. American presidents generally make Canada their first foreign visit, although George W. Bush broke with that tradition and visited Mexico when he was first elected.