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

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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 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***.”

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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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