Justin Trudeau On Peter Kent: Calling Environment Minister A ‘Piece Of S**t' Was Ugly But It Worked

First Posted: 03/ 8/2012 1:51 pm Updated: 03/ 8/2012 5:36 pm

Justin Trudeau Peter Kent
Justin Trudeau said he's glad he swore at Environment Minister Peter Kent because it brought attention to the government's decision to exclude opposition party MPs from attending the Durban climate conference. (CP)

Justin Trudeau may have a famous last name, but much like Hillary Clinton he’s quickly making his first name the one that matters.

The MP's name recognition received a huge boost last December when Trudeau mirrored his father Pierre’s infamous “fuddle-duddle“ incident by referring to Environment Minister Peter Kent as a “piece of s***.”


The excremental epithet was launched during a contentious Question Period debate over Canada’s withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol. Though he immediately apologized and says he’s still “not proud of having to use un-parliamentary language,” Trudeau told The Huffington Post Canada that in hindsight he’s happy his choice of words had the impact they did.

At the time, Kent said he understood the "Liberal rump is somewhat out of sorts as this government corrects one of the biggest blunders the previous Liberal government ever made," referring to Kyoto. He said he wasn't bothered by Trudeau's outburst, but did call for an apology.

"If I hadn’t said that, if I had used any other sort of language or used stern-but-parliamentary language, it wouldn’t have made the news and nobody would have realized that [Kent] actually banned all other parties from attending the Durban conference and then had the pompousness to chide us for it,” Trudeau said after attending the Free the Children’s We Day youth rally in Montreal last week.

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Trudeau was referring to a dust-up between Kent and NDP environment critic Megan Leslie, who didn't attend the climate change summit in Durban, South Africa because Kent banned non-government MPs from Canada’s delegation.

“I was not going to let that slide and I lost my temper and I don’t encourage it and it’s certainly not something I’m going to be able to do particularly often and still remain a serious politician in people’s eyes,” Trudeau said. “But in this situation of defending a colleague and highlighting just an egregious insult to our intelligence and abuse of the power he has as a minister to set his tones and set the lines — no, I’m glad I sort of called him on it.”

In fact, Trudeau continued to call out the Environment Minister, a man who was once a pioneering journalist on environmental issues — most notably his 1984 CBC documentary "The Greenhouse Effect" — but has raised the ire of environmentalists and opposition MPs since taking the cabinet portfolio.

“Peter Kent is a national-level journalist and he knows how to get a message across. He is, unfortunately, being given messages that are completely unpalatable for Canadians. His skills as a communicator are being completely wasted because he doesn’t actually get to be minister of the environment, he is nothing but a spokesperson on the environment for whatever the prime minister decides is going to be our environmental position,” Trudeau said.

“So we don’t even know whether Mr. Kent is a good minister of the environment or not because he’s never actually acted as the minister of the environment. That’s unfortunately something that I was glad to point out when I highlighted the fact that he didn’t know what ozone was even though he covered it tremendously during the '80s,” Trudeau said. The incident in question occurred last November when Trudeau asked Kent to “explain to the House what ozone is and what is the difference between its impact at low altitude and high altitude?” Caught off guard, the Minister was unable or unwilling to do so (The video can be seen in the slideshow below).

“The fact that ... it wasn’t written on the script that he is supposed to read meant that he didn’t answer me — and that is one of the great problems we have with this Conservative government we have right now.”


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  • Rob Anders (Conservative MP) falls asleep in Parliament

    Rob Anders, the same MP who called Nelson Mandela a "terrorist," falls asleep in the House of Commons (From Question Period on November 17, 2011)

  • Trudeau Calls Kent Piece of 'S--t'

  • Canada's Environment Minister doesn't know what ozone is?

  • NDP MP does his hair, appears to fall asleep in Parliament

    NDP MP Jonathan Genest-Jourdain (Manicouagan) does his hair and then appears to fall in asleep in the House of Commons on February 6th, 2012. Follow me on twitter: @sleepyrobanders - www.twitter.com

  • NDP MP does his hair in Parliament again

    From February 16th 2012 - only a couple of days after being mocked nationally for having fallen asleep in the House of Commons, NDP MP Jonathan Genest-Jourdain (Manicouagan) makes a joke out of a serious motion on First Nations education by primming his hair before speaking. Follow me on twitter: @sleepyrobanders - www.twitter.com

  • Conservative MP Jim Hillyer celebrates vote against the gun registry with gunshot gestures

    Conservative MP Jim Hillyer (Lethbridge) celebrates vote against the gun registry with gunshot gestures.

  • Conservative Jim Hillyer "apologizes" for air gun gesture

  • Vic Toews vs. Vic Toews

  • NDP MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan thinks Canada has only 9 million people

  • Sleeping in the House of Lords

    House of Lords


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  • Careless Whisper

    However you look at Canada's 15th prime minister, it's hard not to see Pierre Elliott Trudeau as a politician cut from a very different cloth. While much of his globe-trotting, playboy image was doubtless driven by the media -- Trudeau was actually a workaholic and sleepless intellectual -- the man certainly had his moments. Luckily, the news wasn't delivered quite so relentlessly in 1971 as it is these days - or Trudeau wouldn't have heard the end of it when he told an opposition member to <a href="http://quotes4all.net/pierre elliott trudeau.html">"F-- Off".</a> Well, actually he mouthed it. And although the TV tape clearly captured his salty salute, Trudeau was allowed to tell reporters he had actually said 'Fuddle Duddle'. And that was that.

  • That's Pat F--ing Martin, To You

    Outspoken doesn't seem to quite cut it when describing NDP MP Pat Martin. The man speaks out a lot. And every now and then, he brings the thunder. Like last November, when he treated his 1,400 Twitter followers to a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/11/17/pat-martin-twitter-swearing_n_1099126.html">smorgasbord of swearage.</a> "This is a f---ing disgrace... closure again. And on the Budget! There's not a democracy in the world that would tolerate this jackboot s---." And the cherry on top? Telling one of his followers, "F-- you."

  • What About Bob?

    Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae took a page from Pat Martin's profanity playbook on Wednesday -- <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/12/14/bob-rae-twitter-bs-young-liberals_n_1149155.html?1323898891">and took it to Twitter.</a> A tweet about a feud between liberals Zach Paikin and Max Naylor may have caught him before breakfast. "What bullshit is this?" he tweeted back. Sure, the word likely ceased offending most people decades ago. In fact, we don't even bother covering most of the letters with asterisks. But hey, it does incorporate the s-word - which we still cover with asterisks.

  • No Fuddle Duddling Around

    Unlike his father, Justin Trudeau didn't merely mouth the words. In fact, he let them ring out from the rafters at the House of Commons on December 14. 'You piece of sh---' The recipient? Environment Minister Peter Kent. You know, Canada's <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/elizabeth-may/canada-kyoto-protocol-withdrawal_b_1145648.html">public face of Kyoto withdrawal.</a> Also unlike his father, young Trudeau probably knew the Fuddle Duddle Defence wouldn't cut it. So within minutes of uttering the words, he owned up to them. "I lost my temper and used language that was most decidedly unparliamentary and for that I unreservedly apologize and withdraw my remark," Trudeau said at the end of question period.

  • 15-Year-Old 'Jack Ass'

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/01/10/tony-clement-jackass-twitter_n_1196261.html">Treasury Board President Tony Clement was forced to apologize after calling 15-year-old Keith Pettinger a "Jack ass"</a> in a private Twitter message. Clement sent the message after the teen criticized the spelling in one of the minister's tweets.