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Trudeau shrugs off criticism over F-word

By: Diana Mehta, The Canadian Press

 | Apr 01, 2014 - 10:15 AM |
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau talks to reporters after attending a caucus meeting on Parliament in Ottawa, Wednesday, February 26, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau talks to reporters after attending a caucus meeting on Parliament in Ottawa, Wednesday, February 26, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

AJAX, Ont. - Using the F-word in public earned Justin Trudeau a scolding from his wife, but the Liberal leader said Monday he would not accept criticism from the Harper government, which questioned his judgment.

Trudeau dropped the F-bomb over the weekend while speaking at an annual cancer charity boxing match in Gatineau, Que., which he had starred in two years ago.

"There is no experience like stepping into this ring and measuring yourself," he told a cheering crowd at "Fight for the Cure," on Saturday.

"Your name, your fortune, your intelligence, your beauty, none of that (expletive) matters."

Trudeau conceded Monday he may have gotten a little carried away while speaking at the event.

"Listen, it was fight night at the casino on Saturday night and I found myself once again in a boxing ring and I guess I let my emotions run a little hot," he said in Ajax, Ont., after delivering a speech to the local board of trade.

"But rest assured I got an awful lot of talking to at home from Sophie and nothing anyone else can add will be worse than that."

When asked if he wished he had chosen another adjective, Trudeau added: "If you had seen the scolding Sophie gave me you would have wished you used a different adjective as well."

The Conservatives went after Trudeau's choice of words on Monday, with at least three Tory MPs referencing the matter in the House of Commons.

"The Liberal leader clearly lacks the judgment, the decorum and the maturity to be prime minister of this country," said Costas Menegakis.

"It is too bad that his decision to speak candidly resulted in profanity instead of praise for the event organizers."

MP Wladyslaw Lizon added that the Conservatives would "take no lessons from a Liberal leader who is in way over his head."

"No tough choices and no discipline is required when one is the Liberal leader," he said. "He is more concerned with dropping obscenities at charity events."

Trudeau, however, rejected any suggestion he had displayed behaviour that was unbecoming of a leader and instead rattled off a string of references to issues the Harper government has had to grapple with recently.

"It's interesting that someone who would have had the poor judgement to put Patrick Brazeau or Mike Duffy in the Senate, someone who chose Arthur Porter, Bruce Carson or even botched a Supreme Court nomination process, would be criticizing anyone else for judgment," he said.

Brazeau and Duffy were embroiled in the Senate spending scandal; Porter, who was appointed by the prime minister to a committee that monitors Canada's spy agency, now faces fraud charges in connection with a scandal-plagued hospital contract; and Carson, a former senior prime ministerial aide, was investigated by the RCMP at the PMO's request amid allegations he illegally lobbied the federal government on behalf of a company that employed his girlfriend.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court recently rejected Harper's choice of Marc Nadon, a semi-retired Federal Court of Appeal judge, for a Quebec seat on the high court bench, saying he did not meet specific eligibility requirements.

Trudeau turned the attacks against him back onto the Tories and Prime Minister Stephen Harper in particular.

"I think that behaviour unbecoming of a future or current prime minister is putting forward an election bill that makes it harder for people to vote," he said, referring to the Conservative government's Fair Elections Act, which among other things, would eliminate the practice of vouching at polling stations.

"This government has demonstrated time and time again, as Canadians know too well, that it is not doing right by it's responsibility to serve Canadians."

Trudeau has gotten into hot water over his choice of words before. In 2011 he called then environment minister Peter Kent a "piece of (excrement)" in the House of Commons, a comment which he later publicly apologized for.

His father, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, also famously faced a barrage of criticism in the early 70s after it was thought he had used the F-word in the House of Commons.

He told journalists he had in fact said the words "fuddle duddle."

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