OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau won’t be answering Sun Media’s questions anymore.
The Liberal leader's office issued a short statement Tuesday saying the organization’s television network, Sun News, crossed an editorial line when it aired a particularly offensive rant by host Ezra Levant during his show last week.
Levant took issue with a photo of Trudeau kissing a bride on the cheek, which his photographer described in a tweet as a photobomb of a bridal party. Levant felt it was so inappropriate for Trudeau to kiss the younger bride on the cheek that he suggested the Liberal leader wanted to deflower her. He also compared Trudeau unfavourably to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who shook a bride’s hand when he surprised a wedding party in 2012.
Levant also referred to Trudeau’s father, former Liberal prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, as a “slut” and described how his mother “didn’t like to wear panties.”
“To Trudeau, it is always about him,” Levant told Sun News Network’s audience. “When it comes to women too, they are for his use.”
Levant also said the photo illustrates the way the Trudeau family sees marriage.
“Both Pierre Trudeau and Margaret Trudeau were promiscuous,” Levant said. “And publicized how many conquests they had. Eh, they didn’t even pretend to keep their oaths to each other,” Levant said.
“Liona Boyd. Margot Kidder. Kim Cattrall. He banged anyone, he was a slut,” he said. “And Justin Trudeau’s mom — showing her there at Studio 54,” Levant said, of the picture of Margaret on the screen. “We had to blur it out because well she didn’t like to wear panties back then. Well, she wasn’t much different. And reportedly tended towards rock musicians. But also [U.S.] Senator Ted Kennedy too.”
“Now, if that’s your moral compass, huh, well kissing another man’s bride on her wedding day is pretty cool,” Levant said. “I’m not saying Trudeau got sexual with this bride. I’m just saying he invaded a personal intimate day.”
Trudeau’s office said the Liberal leader was asked by the bride’s husband to pose for a photograph and that he asked permission before kissing her on the cheek.
Trudeau has had an uneasy relationship with Sun Media. Several party insiders feel the news network, which is run by Harper’s former director of communications Kory Teneycke and employs several former Conservative staffers, is a partisan organization that co-ordinates its attacks against Trudeau with the Tories.
Trudeau’s principal adviser, Gerald Butts, seemed to suggest over the weekend that he wanted more Canadians to see Levant’s rant.
“We want more Canadians exposed to your charms,” Butts tweeted to Levant. “In fact, it would be just swell if Canadians thought of you as the typical, modern conservative, @ezralevant. Anything we can do to help?"
Tuesday’s statement, from Trudeau’s spokeswoman Kate Purchase, said Levant’s segment crossed the line by airing “a personal attack on the Trudeau family that was offensive and breached any reasonable measure of editorial integrity.”
“We have raised this issue with the appropriate people at Québécor Inc., the owners and operators of Sun News Network, and have asked that they consider an appropriate response,” she said.
“Until the company resolves the matter, the Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Justin Trudeau will continue to not engage with Sun Media.”
Trudeau told reporters after question period that what Sun News aired last week was “beyond the bounds of civil discourse.”
“I have demonstrated a level of openness, of accessibility to media, both here and across the country that will continue. And I look forward to continuing to engage in a robust and challenging way with the good people of the Parliament Press Gallery, and I hope to continue to do this for many, many, many years,” he said, when asked if it was fair to ban all Sun Media reporters for the actions of one individual.
Trudeau later explained he would snub Sun Media reporters who are part of the Press Gallery. “I have for the past week demonstrated, that I simply will not engage. And I will continue to do that until such a time as the parent company responds.”
Trudeau’s office said they made no specific demands of Québécor.
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