News / Canada

Justin Trudeau on being Catholic, pro-women's rights and pro-choice

On the divisive issue of abortion Justin Trudeau has a practiced answer. It’s one he says is based on personal conviction, not political strategy.

He supports a woman’s right to choose.

He’s Catholic, but said that elected representatives should not impose personal views on entire communities.

“I’ve sat down with a number of bishops, archbishops and even a cardinal and I’ve talked about the fact that their job as priests is very different than my job as a leader, as a politician,” he said.

While it was his father who taught him to stand up for his values, including women’s rights, it was his mother who taught him to like people.

He became a little emotional when speaking about his mother, before quickly composing himself.

“My mom also taught me that strength is also about vulnerability.”

Trudeau recalled his mother’s fear of going public about her mental health struggles. She had been criticized in the press for other issues and feared more of the same.

“Instead, people were unbelievably supportive and positive,” he said. “All my life people tell me how great my dad was and what an impact he had, but over the past few years as many people come up to tell me the work my mom has done on mental health has had an impact on them.”

He was tested last year when two Liberal MPs were accused of sexual harassment. He kicked both out of caucus.

“Most workplaces are further ahead than the House of Commons was, and that’s why there was very little I could do within our existing system, which is why the actions I took were fairly decisive.”

He sighed before answering that cultural change is needed before legislative change.

“Our judges, our judicial system, our police, our investigators, are in a very, very difficult situation responding to something like that, that’s already happened and in many cases, ends up being he-said-she-said,” Trudeau said.

“There’s a big culture shift that’s ongoing, that needs to continue.”

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