OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says an off-the-cuff remark he made during a town hall meeting about making the word mankind more inclusive was an attempt at humour that backfired — a joke that he now appears to regret.
In an exchange between Trudeau and a woman asking about religious charities at the Edmonton event, Trudeau interjected when she used the word mankind, telling her he preferred to say peoplekind.
The remark caught the attention of media outlets outside Canada, including one of U.S. President Donald Trump’s favourite TV shows, “Fox and Friends,” which ridiculed Trudeau for the comment during a broadcast Tuesday.
Prominent British TV broadcaster Piers Morgan and Australian columnist Rita Panahi were also critical of Trudeau for being too politically correct.
The Opposition Conservatives also got in a few jabs, with deputy Tory leader Lisa Raitt urging the prime minister to “person up” during a testy exchange in the House of Commons.
On his way into a Liberal caucus meeting today, Trudeau admitted his track record at telling jokes was a bad one, and his peoplekind comment only made it worse.
“I made a dumb joke a few days ago that seems to have gone a little viral in the room on the ‘peoplekind’ comment,” Trudeau said without being prompted by reporters.
“It played well in the room and in context. Out of context, it doesn’t play so well,” he added.
“It’s a little reminder to me that I shouldn’t be making jokes even when I think they’re funny.”
The unwanted attention over the remark comes as the prime minister heads to the U.S. today in hopes of selling Canada’s virtues stateside.
He begins his trip in Chicago, where he’s expected to promote the benefits of progressive trade in front of university students.
Trudeau was at the top of the list of speakers requested by students at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics.
The Canadian Press