Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continues to distance himself from an allegation that he groped a female reporter decades ago. In an interview with Maclean’s magazine, Trudeau insists that whatever happened was the result of conflicting interpretations of the incident.
“Understanding that someone can experience an interaction very differently from another person and giving weight and credence and support to anyone who comes forward to share those stories and those experiences is extremely important,” Trudeau said in direct response to a question about the groping accusation that generated tremendous media interest over the past summer.
“And it’s difficult, but there’s a lot of difficult conversations we have to have,” he continued.
Trudeau suggests that if leaders can be “thoughtful and supportive,” then they will be “modeling the path forward.”
The prime minister’s office said of the allegations that Trudeau “remembers being in Creston for the Avalanche Foundation,” where the alleged incident took place, “but doesn’t think he had any negative interactions there.”
Trudeau also addressed the Canada Summer Jobs controversy in the interview, addressing questions about why his government denied employment funding to faith groups who would not agree to the current Canadian policy of unrestricted abortion.
Trudeau dismissed criticism, saying, “I don’t think it was draconian at all. I don’t think we should be sending federal funding for students who will engage in activities designed to limit another person’s rights and freedoms. Certainly, there are anti-abortion groups out there … I just don’t think they should receive federal funding.”
The prime minister also avoided using the term carbon tax during the interview, choosing instead to talk about “a price on pollution,” a phrase he test-drove last week before a small crowd of college students in Saskatchewan.
Trudeau said if provinces don’t want to become part of his climate change agenda, “we’ll move forward with a federal backstop that will bring in a price on pollution because pollution shouldn’t be free…”