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Some Conservatives disagree with MP calling Trudeau a dictator in House of Commons


Lethbridge member of Parliament Rachael Thomas told the House of Commons the Oxford dictionary definition of the word dictator this week, saying "many Canadians" feel it applies to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“A ruler with total power over a country, especially one who has gained it using force,” said Thomas.

Her office doubled down Wednesday, saying she did not call Trudeau a dictator.

“Taking part of a response out of context makes for an interesting story, but it does not make for an accurate one,” said her policy advisor, Sarah Fischer. 

Thomas' office would not say what data she used to suggest "many Canadians" feel this way. 

Moments before the statement on Monday, Saskatoon-Ouest MP Brad Redekopp blasted Trudeau’s use of the Emergencies Act.

“To call in police forces to crush peaceful protesters, under the jackboot of the prime minister’s basic dictatorship,” said Redekopp. 

“Another dictator is currently using his war machine to crush our friends in Ukraine.” 

Calgary-Nosehill Conservative MP Michelle Rempel-Garner, who is a colleague of Thomas and Redekopp, says elected officials need to choose their words carefully. 

“I think it's also incumbent upon all legislators to be precise in their language,” said Rempel-Garner.

“There are many people in Canada that have fled countries, Venezuela comes to mind, where you have a dictator like (Nicolas) Maduro at the helm. I just think its incumbent for legislators to inspire Canadians to ensure that our democracy is healthy, our democratic institutions are healthy.” 

She adds that the prime minister’s language toward those who are vaccine hesitant or against public health restrictions has brought with it a distaste for Canadian politics. 

“The prime minister has a responsibility to show Canadians that our democratic institutions are healthy and certainly the abuse of the Emergencies Act, putting it mildly, not helpful in that regard,” said Rempel-Garner. 

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, who served several years in Ottawa as an MP, says his majority government under former prime minister Stephen Harper was also targeted by opposition MPs, being called an "elected dictatorship."

But Kenney added Trudeau does not fit the definition. 

“I disagree with Justin Trudeau on the vast majority of issues. I think he's been too quick to use extraordinary powers like the Emergencies Act,” Kenney told reporters. 

“But for all of that, I think it's unhelpful and corrosive to suggest that that he operates like, let's say, the president of China or the president of Russia.” 

One University of Lethbridge political scientist says Thomas is only inflaming political discourse in Canada. 

“If she was taking a course with me, I would have to give her an F for the course,” said Trevor Harrison. 

“If you don't like something, you just simply stick a label on it. We've kind of lost the capacity to have an intelligent debate.” 

Trudeau was chastised by a handful of MEPs last week in European Parliament, where he gave a speech, referring to him as a dictator trampling on the rights of those who don't agree with him. 

The prime minister’s office did not respond to a request for comment, referring CTV to comments by MP Mark Gerretsen, who is also Parliamentary secretary to the leader of the government in the House of Commons.

“Not only is that an incredible disservice to the people of Canada, but think of what it means to the people of Ukraine, to somehow suggest that the prime minister of this country is a dictator, and to compare him to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and the incredibly audacious things he is doing to the people of Ukraine,” said Gerretsen. Top Stories

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