Given the chance, what would you want to ask Prime Minister Justin Trudeau?

This year, CTV News collected thousands of questions for the prime minister from viewers across the country who wanted to know about everything from NAFTA to cannabis legalization to what Trudeau really thinks about U.S. President Donald Trump.

Trudeau recently sat down with CTV National News Chief Anchor and Senior Editor Lisa LaFlamme to answer some of those questions and talk about the year that was.

Here’s a full transcript of that conversation.


1. Milestones

This was a year for both celebration and commemoration in Canada. It marked the centennial of the Battles of Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele, in which thousands of Canadians perished. And, of course, it also marked Canada’s 150th birthday.

Canada 150

People take part in the living flag on the lawn of the Legislature to help celebrate Canada's 150th birthday in Victoria, B.C., on July 1, 2017. (Chad Hipolito/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Lisa LaFlamme:   Forty-eight hours before Canada Day events and a 15 foot teepee goes up on Parliament Hill. What were your immediate mental calculations?

Justin Trudeau:  Uh, they were, ‘Okay, let's make sure we have a room to see them and engage with them.’ Let's make sure that they're accommodated in some way we can because there is a real important element in recognizing that not everyone will celebrate the 150 years of our country the same way. We have to acknowledge those mistakes and do what we can to not repeat them in the future and build together and respect and reconciliation is at the heart of that.

Lisa LaFlamme: The teepee is gone and now there's a $5.6 million skating rink in its place. A lot of the questions really did revolve around the fact that there is the Rideau Canal right next door and that they felt the cost was a crazy amount of money. Did you approve those costs?

Justin Trudeau: Oh there’s thousands upon thousands of Canadians who have already enjoyed that skating rink and once it’s done at the end of February it’ll be shipped off to a community that needs it. 

Lisa LaFlamme: One of the most powerful images of the year was the Vimy Memorial. A hundred years since the battle. You were there. Your overriding vision of that, those few days.

Justin Trudeau: Just a sense of the sacrifice that has been made over generations. There's been a lot of discussion with Canada as a peaceful peacekeeping nation and that's sort of the more recent history, but we stepped up as warriors showing that we weren't just about talking about our values. We were there to fight for them as well.


2. Global Conflict

The Trudeau government vowed to forge a new path for peacekeeping in 2017 with promises of 600 troops and $500 million for UN missions. But with no deployment to date, it turned out to be more talk than action. Meanwhile, countries like Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen found themselves in constant conflict this year while in Myanmar, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims were driven from their homes in a violent campaign that has been called “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing,” leading many to call for Mynamar’s Nobel prize-winning leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, to be stripped of her honorary Canadian citizenship. And from declaring Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital to his escalating war of words with North Korea -- a country that may now have the technology to strike Canada with a nuclear weapon -- Canada has also been forced to respond to U.S. President Donald Trump’s international provocations.


A Rohingya ethnic minority from Myanmar carries an elderly woman as they alight from a local boat on which they crossed a river, after crossing over to the Bangladesh side of the border near Cox's Bazar's Dakhinpara area, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Lisa LaFlamme: Here we are with the threat of nuclear war again. Just want your thoughts as you, like all of us, watch the back and forth between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. It seems so personal.

Justin Trudeau: Well, I mean, that's one of the dynamics, but of course it's not just about the two of them. It’s also very much about China, um, about Russia, a lot about Japan, a lot about South Korea and Canada has been engaging constantly with leaders in the region and indeed around the world to try and make sure that there is a path forward here that doesn't result in the kind of calamities that we experience too often in the twentieth century.

Lisa LaFlamme: So when you see Donald Trump stand up and say, refer to him as ‘Little Rocket Man.’ Does it further endanger the world, this sort of poking the bear?

Justin Trudeau: Donald Trump has demonstrated that he's a bit of a disruptive force. He does unpredictable things and sometimes they have positive impact, sometimes they have negative impacts. It's not my job to opine on, you know, what it is he chooses to do. My job is to keep Canadians safe and to keep us moving towards a safer world and that's what I'm going to stay focused on.

Lisa LaFlamme: You seem very different on the decision this month from the Trump administration to move the embassy to Jerusalem. Did you ever convey your concerns to him?

Justin Trudeau: Oh we've... we've expressed our positions very clearly to everyone that the two state solution that needs to be the outcome in the Middle East and with Israel and the Palestinian people needs to be a result of direct negotiations and unilateral actions are unhelpful and we are not going to be moving our embassy and, you know, the president certainly knows that.

Lisa LaFlamme: One of the searing images of 2017 has to be the 600,000 Rohingya Muslims making their way out of Myanmar, into those camps in Bangladesh. So many viewers emailed the question they would ask you, why not revoke Aung San Suu Kyi's honorary citizenship?

Justin Trudeau: It's not really an issue that I that I run into in my thinking because if we can use the fact that she's an honorary citizen as a lever to have conversations with her and perhaps get a different, uh, outcome or better leadership then that's great.

Lisa LaFlamme: So that means all is forgiven on the ethnic cleansing front then? I mean, a lot of people wonder if that doesn't qualify you...

Justin Trudeau: Why... why would you say that?  

Lisa LaFlamme: Well, your move forward. I’m curious to know…

Justin Trudeau: On the contrary, moving forward means talking very clearly and directly to Aung San Suu Kyi, to the leadership in the military that this has to be fixed. That we can be helpful and we are aligned with other countries that are looking very closely to be helpful and this is unacceptable going forward. But to do so in a constructive productive way rather than looking for the grand symbolic gestures that might make people feel a little better. Oh we're doing something, yeah, she's really got to feel bad about not being a Canadian citizen any more when… do you think a family in a refugee camp in… in.. in Bangladesh care much whether Aung San Suu Kyi is an honorary Canadian or not? 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.


3. Terrorism

ISIS may have been officially defeated in Iraq and largely neutralized in Syria this year, but attacks by individual ISIS sympathizers continue to shock the world, with scores of innocent civilians losing their lives in incidents like the nightclub shooting in Istanbul, Turkey and the Ariana Grande concert bombing in Manchester, England. Closer to home, a retired accountant opened fire at a music festival in Las Vegas, killing 58 people, including four Canadians, and injuring 546 more, while in Quebec City, a university student with a history of anti-Muslim views has been charged with shooting six Muslim worshippers to death and injuring 19 others while they prayed in a mosque.

Quebec City mosque shooting funeral services

Mourners file past the caskets of three of the six victims of the Quebec City mosque shooting during funeral services at the Maurice Richard Arena in Montreal on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. (Paul Chiasson / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Lisa LaFlamme: You called (the Quebec mosque shooting) terrorism and yet he's not charged with terrorism.

Justin Trudeau: Terrorism…

Lisa LaFlamme: So much debate over the word terrorism.

Justin Trudeau: And we use the word.

Lisa LaFlamme: You did.

Justin Trudeau: Oh… yeah absolutely. Because it is. And the important thing to reflect on in that is ensuring that we're creating a society in which acts of hatred, acts of violent intolerance meant to strike fear into the hearts of a community are recognized as terrorism, whether they come from the right wing or whether they come from radical returnees,

Lisa LaFlamme: Based on a lot of the questions we received (from viewers), there is a genuine fear about these returning ISIS fighters. Do you really believe they can be rehabilitated?

Justin Trudeau: Oh… some of them definitely can't and that's something that we have to be very, very alert to…

Lisa LaFlamme: People want to know why they aren't immediately put in jail.

Justin Trudeau: Because we have rules and laws in this country. The previous government that was a lot harsher on its rhetoric around terrorism weren't able to do any more. They didn't put any charges against any single one of those returnees and there were, you know, dozens upon dozens who returned in their time as well.

Lisa LaFlamme:  I think now that in Syria and Iraq they've been declared defeated.  There is a question of them coming back to this and they can't possibly monitor all of them, can you?

Justin Trudeau: Yes we have security agencies that are engaged on this file very much, but there's also a lot of community outreach going on. 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. But all this to say, in no way would we ever allow Canadian security, Canadians safety to be compromised.


4. Newcomers

One million new immigrants over the next three years is the target laid out by the Liberal government. But that plan for a steady climb in newcomers has been overshadowed lately by a rush of asylum-seekers. More than 15,000 people have illegally crossed the border into Canada to date, putting their lives at risk to escape a hostile environment in the U.S. and straining Canadian resources in the process. The trigger point for this exodus, it seems, was a January tweet from the prime minister in which he seemed to offer an open invitation into the country when he said, “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada.”

Asylum seeker at Quebec border

A man claiming to be from Yemen is arrested after crossing the border from New York into Canada in Hemmingford, Que. on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. (Ryan Remiorz / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Lisa LaFlamme:  I wonder if you feel you overplayed your hand in that tweet.

Justin Trudeau: No. The words I used. Persecution, terror...

Lisa LaFlamme: But the reaction to the tweet...

Justin Trudeau: Persecution, terror and war. Our system still applies. If you come to our country and claim refugee status because you're fleeing, you know, terrible persecution, conflict, discrimination of a type that makes you stateless and a refugee, well then we will accept you and we have a process for that. But if you're just coming because, um, you're worried you're not going to have the kind of future for your kids… if they are not refugees they will be sent home or… or are asked to leave.

Lisa LaFlamme: But it was only really in August…

Justin Trudeau: That's right.

Lisa LaFlamme:...that you stood up and said, ‘Hey, wait a minute.’

Justin Trudeau: No. There was a big... there was a big spike and we needed to make sure that the resources were there to keep them within our immigration system. Yes we're an open and welcoming country but we have a system that will apply to everyone to determine whether or not you qualify as a refugee or whether you have to try again through a responsible immigration stream that takes a number of years.

Lisa LaFlamme: We're at the halfway point in the top ten and in your mandate and there have been a lot of apologies.


5. Apologies

2017 has been marked by a slew of official apologies. Some have been for historic wrongs, like the persecution of the LGBTQ2 community and horrible legacy of residential schools. Others have come with large payouts, like the $10.5 million handed to Omar Khadr and the $31 million paid to three Canadians who were tortured overseas. Then there were personal apologies, like the one Trudeau made after he was found to be in violation of conflict of interest rules for a luxurious private island getaway. Trudeau’s cabinet even issued apologies of their own for everything from embellishing a role in the Afghan offensive to insensitive comments to the Phoenix pay system debacle to questions around Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s financial holdings.

CTV National News: 'We were wrong. We are sorry'

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wipes his eye while he is applauded while making a formal apology to individuals harmed by federal legislation, policies, and practices that led to the oppression of and discrimination against LGBTQ2 people in Canada, in the House of Commons in Ottawa, Tuesday, Nov.28, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Lisa LaFlamme: In retrospect, do you think there was anything he could have done or should have done to avoid this controversy?

Justin Trudeau: You know what... woulda coulda shoulda. He's been focused on, uh, doing the things that are actually growing our economy. He listened to the ethics commissioner. He followed... her advice. 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 and it really does highlight how the oppositions are in a bit of a, bit of a difficult place in terms of actually criticizing us on what we're delivering on.

Lisa LaFlamme: Well, based on the emails from viewers, it isn't just the opposition. There are a lot of Canadians who also have a problem with the fact…

Justin Trudeau: I get that.

Lisa LaFlamme: …that he didn't put it in a blind trust.

Justin Trudeau: I get that and yes there are people who are frustrated about this or that other things, but overall people appreciate the fact that we're staying focused on the things that really do matter to them.

Lisa LaFlamme: So you never had a conversation with Bill Morneau about possible resignation as people were calling on.

Justin Trudeau: God. He is… 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.

Lisa LaFlamme: Another Cabinet minister who was forced to apologize, Kent Hehr. Several apologies in fact. Why is he still in Cabinet?

Justin Trudeau: The Minister responded to those allegations. He apologized for a number of them. Um…

Lisa LaFlamme: Don't you worry though? I mean this guy's in your cabinet and clearly that shows bad judgment. The things he said to people...

Justin Trudeau: I think these are these are questions that the Minister has dealt with and quite frankly when you do something wrong you take responsibility for it, you apologize and you try and do better.

Lisa LaFlamme: Some of the apologies had big price tags attached. $10.5 million. Omar Khadr. Why did he deserve the money?

Justin Trudeau: That money was about us. People are frustrated and outraged about it. They should be, 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.

Lisa LaFlamme: They're angry though also that it was all done in secret. I mean, no official briefing no statement and it's taxpayers’ money.

Justin Trudeau: But at the same time...

Lisa LaFlamme: The Trump administration knew about the money before Canadians did.

Justin Trudeau: But... but at the same time,  what really does matter is that Canadians know that when a government violates someone's fundamental rights, we all end up paying and that should never happen again. That's what we are being penalized for and that's what, quite rightly, should frustrate Canadians.

Lisa LaFlamme: Righting a huge wrong, in Goose Bay you stood up with that official apology.  What was that like for you to be able to do that that day?

Justin Trudeau: I got to see and really understand… I mean, I knew in an abstract way, but really understand through talking with these survivors, why this apology mattered. Why it was an essential part of their healing to hear that government takes responsibility for the trauma they went through was incredibly important for those survivors. A reminder of the responsibility we have in healing past wrongs. Not just making sure they never happen again but actually, actively healing things that we broke.

Lisa LaFlamme: That morphs into the national inquiry for missing and murdered. Is it discouraging to see that it's sort of off track?

Justin Trudeau: It’s… it's a hard thing. This inquiry. I mean there's reasons why, you know, successive governments never, never moved forward with this inquiry because the expectations, the emotions wrapped up in it are massive. I do know that... that... a lot of the things that the inquiry are doing are incredibly positive in the communities that they are doing [them in] and there's always room to to learn to get a better to improve it.


6. Economy

A growth spurt in the economy this year earned Canada bragging rights among G7 nations, with 350,000 full-time jobs created in 12 months, though many complained that an aging workforce was squeezing out up-and-comers. The TSX also ended the year in record territory, and even though the Bank of Canada raised interest rates twice, that didn’t slow down the borrowing -- for every dollar of disposable income, Canadians now owe $1.71, which is a record high. With home ownership further out of reach for the middle class, Ottawa unveiled an ambitious $40-billion housing strategy that included 100,000 new low-cost homes and a vow to cut homelessness in half over the next decade. Expected tax revenue from legalized cannabis, meanwhile, could top a billion dollars, with provinces getting a cut of 75 cents from every pot tax dollar. And what was supposed to be a revenue generator -- cracking down on tax loopholes -- also generated anger from some business owners. After months of spinning the controversial plan, the government then settled on some small tweaks, starting with the small business tax rate.

CTV National News: Tax reform peace offering?

Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau chat over lunch with Cathy Cassano, Carol Cassano, Joey Rampulla and Charlie Rampulla, the owners of family-run restaurant, Pastaggio Italian Eatery, in Whitchurch-Stouffville, Ont., on Monday, October 16, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Lisa LaFlamme: This was something you had campaigned on. How did the rollout seem to go so wrong? 

Justin Trudeau: Well, we had, as you say, we'd campaigned on lowering the small business tax but making sure that we improve the system so that wealthy people weren't using private corporations as a way to pay lower tax rates than middle class people had per say. People know that if you're wealthy there are techniques you can use with your accountants to, you know, lower your tax rates...

Lisa LaFlamme: Instead you had rooms of people though who weren't wealthy people...

Justin Trudeau: Mmm hmm.

Lisa LaFlamme: They were middle class people...

Justin Trudeau: Yup.

Lisa LaFlamme: Small business owners.

Justin Trudeau: So what we did was we put out a proposal and said give us feedback on this and on how it works. And there are a number of things that we got feedback on that we respectfully disagreed with the feedback and kept moving forward on. But there are other things that we took off the table.

Lisa LaFlamme: One way you're hoping I think for more money in the coffers is with the marijuana legislation in July. Are you committed to that date? Because it seems now there, on several fronts, possible delays.

Justin Trudeau: We always knew this was going to be a difficult thing but we also know that it's, it's an urgent thing. The current system is not protecting our kids and it's giving billions of dollars a year to criminal organizations and street gangs and gunrunners across the country that they're using to continue to fund violent and illicit activities. 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. No there are plenty of problems right now. We're actually just giving ourselves the tools to be able to counter those problems better.

Lisa LaFlamme: When this is legal, will you light up in public?

Justin Trudeau: (laughs) No. I mean this is this is the joke and the whole thing. You know my friends, my buddies from university are looking at me being, you know, decried by the opposition as you know, being this, this pothead or whatever it is and they're like, Justin, they're making you sound way cooler than you are because 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.


7. Trade

On the trade file, Canada’s expectations clashed with reality this year. Five rounds of NAFTA negotiations have taken place, but Canada still finds itself in a stalemate with the U.S. The hunt for new trading partners brought post-Brexit progress with the European Union, but Canada’s role in trade talks with China and The Trans-Pacific Partnership remain uncertain. Ottawa, meanwhile, has also accused the U.S. of sabotaging a crown jewel of Canadian manufacturing. As the year ends, Canada’s state of trade is definitely in a state of flux.


Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland meets for a trilateral meeting with Mexico's Secretary of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal, left, and Ambassador Robert E. Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative, during the final day of the third round of NAFTA negotiations at Global Affairs Canada in Ottawa on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017. (Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Lisa LaFlamme: Let's talk about NAFTA. What's your over under?

Justin Trudeau: We’re not looking for a win-lose for Canada. We're looking for a place where we can all come out with it improved for everyone. This has given us an opportunity to dig in and draw on so many of the relationships that we don't think about but that have been created between Canada and the U.S. over, over the past decades, State Governors who recognize that almost every single state has Canada in its top three export destinations.

Lisa LaFlamme: They’re trying to tell Donald Trump that also. We've seen the outreach from governors. What impact is this having on your relationship with him that this seems like such a battle.

Justin Trudeau: He’s... he's a dealmaker. He's a negotiator. He’s…

Lisa LaFlamme: Or a deal breaker in this case...

Justin Trudeau: Well we'll see. We'll see. But I mean the thing that reassures me fundamentally is he got elected on a commitment to help people.

Lisa LaFlamme: And you want some kind of progressive deal with China, but you talk about our values and there feels like a bit of a double standard with the whole arms deal with Saudi Arabia. We see this humanitarian crisis in Yemen. What does Saudi Arabia have to do for Canada to bail on that deal?

Justin Trudeau: Well first of all, a contract signed by a previous government? We have to honour. Now the one thing we are doing and can do and are doing a much better job of is demanding a level of transparency accountability and reporting to Canadians on it.

Lisa LaFlamme: But we see evidence. I mean, that's the thing. These aren't jeeps we're sending. These are light armoured vehicles.

Justin Trudeau: These are the things we're looking into and we're following up on very very closely.

Lisa LaFlamme: So are you saying that in 2018 as that crisis deepens and starvation and the blockades that there may be a chance in 2018 that that deal may be canceled?

Justin Trudeau: We're going to continue to engage as we must responsibly in ensuring that the rules are followed and that the expectations that Canadians have around exports are obeyed.


8. Trump

2017 has been the year of Donald Trump. The new U.S. president has upended international diplomacy and American politics alike with “alternative facts,” a travel ban targetting Muslims and refugees, a slew of unceremonious White House firings, his comments on the Russia investigation, and picking fights with everyone from NFL players to a Puerto Rican mayor. He regularly posts messages online that range from incendiary to incoherent and his “art of the deal” diplomacy has alienated several allies. Meanwhile, our prime minister continues to tread carefully.

Donald Trump

President Donald Trump turns to talk to the gathered media during a Christmas Eve video teleconference with members of the mIlitary at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Lisa LaFlamme. Donald Trump. One word to describe him.

Justin Trudeau: (long pause)  This will surprise you. Consistent. He's the same person in private as he is in public.

Lisa LaFlamme: I was just going to ask you. You have this amazing vantage point that no, almost no other Canadians have. Which is, to tell me is he different behind closed doors than he is on camera or on Twitter?

Justin Trudeau: Uh… no. He’s someone who has developed through his entire life and career a way of doing things and he, whether he's signing a business deal as a real estate developer or sitting in the White House, he has his way of functioning and uh, he will function that way.

Lisa LaFlamme: He stands for things you fight against though.

Justin Trudeau: Mmm hmm. We had, we had a nice conversation actually in the wings of one of the summits we met where we were talking about gun control and the president sort of made a crack. Oh no. That guy said this and he's a liberal. Well he's not as much of a liberal as you are Justin, but he's a… he knows exactly what I stand for where I come from because I keep telling him. I keep reminding him. But there is there's a frankness to our engagement and we're going to figure out because geography and intertwined economies have thrust us together how to get along, how to work together in a… in a cordial way. Over this past year, someone mentioned that I've actually spent more time engaging with Donald Trump than I did with Barack Obama. I think because there are more issues that we disagree on we do have to engage a little bit more but there is a capacity for us to get along because the kinds of things we want for citizens are similar. We just have very different and unapologetically different approaches to getting there.

Lisa LaFlamme: Do you feel sometimes he is a detriment to world peace? Is he a dangerous man?

Justin Trudeau: My responsibility is to stick up for Canadians is to make sure that in a world that is filled with challenges, dangers but also opportunities and you know, chances, that I'm making sure that everything lines up in Canadians’ favour. Having a good relationship with the president is important even though on a number of irritants or big value-based issues we totally don't agree.

Lisa LaFlamme: A lot of people wrote in saying you identify as a feminist and yet you remain silent on Trump's record with women.

Justin Trudeau: You're always going to be facing a choice do you stand back cross your arms and hurl insults? Or do you work to try and improve a situation in meaningful and tangible ways. I've made my choice. I think Canadians understand that whether or not they agree with it I'm going to continue to be very clear on my belief that the feminist approach to governance to economics to the world is not just the right thing to do but a smart thing to do. I can hope to lead by example and have other people realize oh okay, we should be doing that too or we should have more of that or we should, you know..


9. #MeToo

Before the #MeToo hashtag started trending, an unprecedented wave of women began standing up to decry the rampant sexual misconduct that plagues everything from politics to the entertainment industry. On Donald Trump’s first full day as president, a march against misogyny descended on Washington. Then, the downfall of the most powerful man in Hollywood brought the movement into even sharper focus, leading to a celebrity domino effect that has brought down more than 60 men, including an Oscar-winner, a prominent TV personality and a U.S. senator. The momentum of this movement led to “The Silence Breakers being named as TIME magazine’s 2017 person of the year.

Rose McGowan

Actress Rose McGowan speaks at the inaugural Women's Convention in Detroit, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017. (AP / Paul Sancya)

Justin Trudeau: You know when I was in university I was fortunate enough to be part of the McGill Student Society Sexual Assault Centre and that was an awakening for me around issues of harassment and assault and consent and I have to say, I kind of despair that in the 25 years since I was doing that, um, we haven't seen nearly as much progress as we should. We have to change the climate, the universe in which we live and work. For people who realize that the way they've always been is simply wrong has always been wrong but is starting to be really unacceptable now...

Lisa LaFlamme: Publicly wrong.

Justin Trudeau: Publicly wrong, which is a big step.

Lisa LaFlamme: I mean, it’s even reached into your caucus, your own office. And if there's ever an “old boys club,” you know it has to be Parliament Hill.

Justin Trudeau: Parliament. Yeah.

Lisa LaFlamme: So that's the question. How do you dismantle that for your own daughter and every other boy and girl out there so they don't have to go through this?

Justin Trudeau: I have taken a zero tolerance approach on this and discovered there, we don't really have much in the way of system for dealing with harassment on the Hill. 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.


10. Life and Death

For Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, there often seems to be little separating his personal and professional lives. For starters, his kids -- Xavier, Ella Grace and Hadrien -- make frequent appearances with their father, often upstaging dad on the job. Trudeau’s personal approach to politics has also elevated his celebrity status, though critics have often complained that with Trudeau, there can be more selfies than substance. Still, the prime minster continues to wear his heart on this sleeve, as evident when he publicly wept after the death of his friend, Gord Downie.

PM Trudeau reacts to the passing of Gord Downie

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, reacting to news of Gord Downie's death, on Oct. 18, 2017.

Lisa LaFlamme: The entire country cried the day Gord Downie died. It was very emotional for you.

Justin Trudeau: It still is. You just say that and yeah...

Lisa LaFlamme: Your emotions are so present. Do you feel you ever have to guard against that?

Justin Trudeau:  I'm an emotional person and that's who I am. I am passionate about things about life and I will always be.

Lisa LaFlamme: He challenged you.

Justin Trudeau: Mmm hmm. He challenged me and thanked me at the same time. Uh… he made me feel that he was watching me and he would be watching me, um, 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. It's about how we raise our kids. It's about how we actually started saying, you know what we need to be part of fixing what we collectively as a country have broken. And for Gord to have taken an unbelievably difficult moment for himself of finding out that he just had a few years left and saying well I'm going to dedicate that to making our country better, in a way that is hard but in a way that needs everyone to be involved, and while I have a voice literally and figuratively that resonates, that level of leadership of... inspiring Canadian for me is… is just, it's anyway, just something that really continues, continues to touch me. He was and will always be an extraordinary Canadian.

Lisa LaFlamme: You mentioned about what it is we give our kids moving forward. How is the family. How are the kids now getting used to life in the fishbowl?

Justin Trudeau: They are just now getting to the age where they can start to understand what Daddy's job is. A few weeks ago I got to bring Ella and Xavier to Parliament Hill to watch me deliver the LGBTQ2 apology.  And it was almost a last minute whim. Oh you know what I shall bring you to work today. I think you want to see this, we’ll take you... and they're like, yay! We get to get off school for the afternoon. Great. But 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... and you know... hopefully they don't come to question period too often.


Lisa LaFlamme: We're on the cusp of a new year. Every year I ask you this. Your predictions for 2018

Justin Trudeau: Every year I avoid answering, don't I? (laughs) Well, from a... from a perspective of my job, year three of a mandate is all about continuing to deliver for Canadians. We've got a lot of big things in motion. A lot of big things done. Now we have to really make sure that they're having the right impact on people. One of the things that we're beginning to understand is Canada matters a little more than we suspected did. Part of it's the current context and what's going on around the world and different leadership decisions. But part of it is Canada has always mattered and we've been too modest to notice it.

Lisa LaFlamme: Can I just get you to grab a random question?

Justin Trudeau: Why don't I just grab a whole and take them with me?

Lisa LaFlamme: You will. That's your Christmas present. Thank you so much.

Justin Trudeau: As always.

Lisa LaFlamme: Great to talk to you. generated a word cloud using the text from the more than 2,000 emails sent prior to Lisa LaFlamme's conversation with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Here are the results:

Conversation with PM word cloud