Did Justin Trudeau really say he would support Quebec separating from Canada? Maybe, in the most hypothetical of hypothetical situations.
During a 16 minute radio interview in French with Radio-Canada broadcast Sunday, the Montreal Liberal MP was asked if he currently recognizes Canada under Stephen Harper. Mr. Trudeau’s answer clearly caught the host off guard.
“I always say, if at a certain point, I believe that Canada was really the Canada of Stephen Harper – that we were going against abortion, and we were going against gay marriage and we were going backwards in 10,000 different ways – maybe I would think about wanting to make Quebec a country.”
The blogsphere and Twitterverse are exploding with shocked comments, with many wondering how the Liberal MP could go against his father Pierre Trudeau’s vision of federalism.
Although he refused an interview with The Globe, he tweeted Tuesday that “Canada needs Qc to balance out Harper's vision that I (and many) just don't support.”
Earlier in the interview, Mr. Trudeau restated his view that he is not interested in the Liberal leadership at this point in his life because he isn’t sure if he could balance his leadership duties with being a good father to his two children.
He also bristled at questions comparing him to his father, the former prime minister.
“We’ll see when I’m 80, maybe then we can do comparisons,” he said. “He was an intellectual. Me, I’m a bit less intellectual. I’m still a person who has very strong opinions.”
UPDATE: After listening to Conservative MPs take a few shots at him in the House of Commons over his comments, Mr. Trudeau went to the pool microphones after Question Period to deliver a forceful, theatric – and at times angry - explanation of what he was trying to say.
“The question is not ‘Why does Justin Trudeau suddenly not love his country?’ Because the question is ridiculous. I live this country in my bones in every breath I take and I’m not going to stand here and somehow defend that I actually do love Canada because we know, I love Canada,” he said, before outlining his objections of the Conservative government.
“Canadians shouldn’t be asking ‘Who does Justin Trudeau actually want to separate?’ Of course not. But will Justin Trudeau fight with his very last breath to make sure that this Canada stays the Canada that we collectively know it can be? Absolutely.”
In spite of all the drama surrounding the Montreal MP, Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae said: “Mr. Trudeau is always my valentine, every day.”
In a more serious vein, though, he defended his remarks. “Mr. Trudeau is a strong believer in a united Canada. He always has been, he always will be,” Mr. Rae said.
And the Bloc Quebecois couldn’t have been more gleeful in response to questions about whether Mr. Trudeau is joining their ranks.
“We will accept him with open arms and we are very pleased,” Bloc MP Maria Mourani said, adding that maybe it’s time for Mr. Trudeau to "come out of the closet," so to speak.