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Trudeau: no apologies for heckler encounter, pledges to call out 'hate speech'

Last Updated Aug 20, 2018 at 2:07 pm EDT

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is defending his treatment of a Quebec woman he accused of racism, calling hate speech and the politics of division a “dangerous path” for Canada.

At a news conference today outside Ottawa, Trudeau was asked whether he went too far when he told a woman heckling him at a rally Sunday in Quebec that her “racism has no place” in Canada.

During the rally, the woman was shouting questions in French at Trudeau, asking him when the federal government would repay Quebec for costs it has incurred as a result of an influx of “illegal immigrants” coming over the Canada-U.S. border.

The prime minister responded by accusing the woman of intolerance and racism, saying such sentiments were not welcome.

Trudeau says he fears a rise in extreme populism and a polarization in the political discourse, particularly around immigration, with some feeding fear and intolerance using partial truths and “outright lies.”

He says he intends to continue to call out such behaviour.