PM Trudeau doesn't understand Philippines, Duterte says
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, talks to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte before the opening ceremony of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Manila, Philippines Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. (Mark Cristino/Pool Photo via AP)
Published Wednesday, August 22, 2018 4:37PM EDT
OTTAWA -- The Philippines president widely criticized for human rights abuses says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau doesn't deserve his office if he can't understand the situation in the Southeast Asian country.
Rodrigo Duterte launched a verbal attack against Trudeau on Tuesday over a dispute about a cancelled deal to sell 16 Canadian-made helicopters. Duterte cancelled the deal last February after the Canadian government ordered the contract reviewed over human rights concerns.
In a speech Tuesday, first reported in Canada by Global News, Duterte asked the audience to picture "the internal and external forces that are making it hard" for Filipinos.
"I'll tell you why. What ails this country," he said in English, before switching languages.
"You will use it against your own citizens. For God's sake, Mr. Trudeau, my own citizens are rebelling against us. Killing my soldiers and policemen and civilians," Duterte continued.
"And I cannot use the helicopter because they are citizens, but they are out to overthrow my government. If you cannot understand, you should not be there in that mighty post of yours. Because you do not know the history of the world and geopolitics."
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have strongly criticized Duterte, citing his violent campaign against drugs. Human Rights Watch says Duterte "has plunged the Philippines into its worst human rights crisis since the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos in the 1970s and 1980s." Amnesty calls Duterte "a human rights nightmare."
A spokesman for International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr said Canada will continue to support and defend its values.
"The statements made (earlier this year) by the Filipino government about the end use of what were intended to be civilian aircraft were then and remain deeply troubling," Joe Pickerill wrote in an email to CTV News.
"Human rights are an integral part of our trade agenda and launching a review of the proposed helicopter deal was the right thing to do."
Former trade minister Francois-Philippe Champagne ordered the review after a senior member of the Filipino military said the helicopters would be used for "internal security operations," not just search-and-rescue missions or disaster relief.
A spokeswoman for Trudeau said the prime minister had nothing to add to the comments from Carr's office.