Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the media after the bombshell report dropped hours earlier by the third party Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion, which confirmed what many Canadians already believed; that Justin Trudeau had inappropriately pressured then-Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould in what would soon be known as the SNC-Lavalin Scandal.

Trudeau addressed the media at Niagara-on-the-lake, Ontario, in a much-anticipated response. Media pundits speculated whether the prime minister would apologize, with many iterating that this would be the first time Trudeau would have to face the verified fact that Trudeau acted inappropriately.

Trudeau addresses the press

Trudeau started his address by talking about what he sees as the provincial government’s shortcomings, contrasting the Ford government’s actions with his government’s investments in the Niagara region. Specifically, Trudeau mentioned the reluctance to invest in a Niagara stadium that would be used in the near future.

After his initial speech, Trudeau returned to the microphone to take questions from the media. It was at this point that Trudeau was barraged with questions regarding the Ethics Commissioner’s report.

The question on many pundits and Canadians’ minds was whether or not Trudeau would apologize for how his actions. To sum it up briefly: Trudeau clearly stated several times that he “accepts responsibility” and “accepts the Ethics Commissioner’s report,” but at no point does Trudeau ever apologize.

On the contrary, Trudeau says he refuses to apologize for “standing up for Canadian jobs.” 

“Taking responsibility means recognizing that what we did over the last year wasn’t good enough, but at the same time I cannot apologize for standing up for Canadian jobs, because that’s what Canadians expect us to do.”

At several points, journalists from a number of publications ask Trudeau what would come from the Ethics Commissioner’s report. From what was said, it sounded as though Trudeau had his talking points prepared, and knew not to stray too far away from them.

Accepting responsibility, avoiding apology

Lines including “I accept the report that the Commissioners put forward,” “what happened over the last year shouldn’t have happened, I take full responsibility for it,” “I recognize that this is a situation that shouldn’t have happened. But we recognize that the way that this happened, shouldn’t have happened … I take responsibility for the mistakes made,” were all said by Trudeau.

Trudeau even absolved the potential wrongdoings of other cabinet members, such as Gerry Butts, when he said that the “buck stops with the Prime Minister.”

Trudeau was prepared to accept responsibility, though the words that were ensured Trudeau would avoid a direct apology.