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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was widely criticized for a comment he made at a town hall in Edmonton, Alberta, which he now says was “a dumb joke.”
“We like to say ‘peoplekind,’ not necessarily ‘mankind.’ It’s more inclusive," he had told a woman asking him a question.
“You all know that I don’t necessarily have the best of track records on jokes,” Trudeau said Wednesday, according to the National Post. “I made a dumb joke a few days ago that seems to have gone a little viral. It played well in the room and in context. Out of context, it doesn’t play so well. It’s a little reminder to me that I shouldn’t be making jokes even when I think they’re funny.”
His remark was awkward, as “peoplekind” is not a word, but some have said the full exchange indeed suggests Trudeau was not being entirely serious:
The US-right-wing pile-on re Trudeau's “peoplekind” is pretty misleading.
He was lightly ribbing a woman who was rambling about the power of women, “God the Mother,” and how the world needs womanly love. Fox excluded her response to him: “There you go, exactly. Yes. Thank you.” pic.twitter.com/Wl4QIumWrA
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) February 6, 2018
The unidentified woman's drawn-out question, when listened to in full, touches on the theme of gender equality in religion. Before Trudeau interrupted, she stated, “Maternal love is the love that's going to change the future of mankind.”
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Perhaps his comment might also have been a lighthearted way to move things along since many in the audience had become restless.
Mauril’s bill to make O Canada gender neutral passed third reading in the Senate tonight - another positive step towards gender equality. #inallofuscommand
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) February 1, 2018
Still, the fuss over this is partly a result of the impression some have of Trudeau. The Liberal Party leader recently supported a “gender neutral” wording change in Canada's national anthem, and last year, he backed a bill (which is now law) that critics argue punishes those who don't use the pronoun that corresponds to a person's gender identity.
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Please note: This is a commentary piece. The views and opinions expressed within it are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of IJR.