Footage of Trudeau discussing ‘fundamental rights’ taken out of context
CLAIM: A video clip shows Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying that “regardless of the fact that we are attacking your fundamental rights,” we are “still going to go ahead and do it.”
AP’S ASSESSMENT: Missing context. The video was trimmed, which changed the meaning of what Trudeau was saying. He was describing, and disagreeing with, a specific clause in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that allows governments to temporarily override parts of the charter. He argued that it is “not a great thing” to have in the charter.
THE FACTS: Social media posts are sharing a video clip of Trudeau discussing “fundamental rights” during a recent interview with The Canadian Press, but it’s been stripped of important context in a way that distorts his message.
In the less-than-30-second clip shared on social media, Trudeau can be seen saying: “Regardless of the fact that we are attacking your fundamental rights, or limiting your fundamental rights, and the charter says that’s wrong — we’re still going to go ahead and do it. It’s basically a loophole that allows a majority to override fundamental rights of a minority.”
“So....we’re not under a Communist regime you say?” reads one widely shared tweet of the clip.
A Facebook post of the clip claimed, “TRUDEAU ADMITS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS.”
But the clip omitted the part where Trudeau made clear he was disagreeing with a specific section, the “notwithstanding clause,” in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The clause allows Parliament or provincial legislatures to pass legislation that overrides parts of the charter, for up to five years.
A review of the video from The Canadian Press shows Trudeau said: “What the notwithstanding clause does, is says, regardless of the fact that we are attacking your fundamental rights, or limiting your fundamental rights, and the charter says that’s wrong — we’re still going to go ahead and do it.”
Trudeau went on to say that he agreed with his father, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, that the clause “is not a great thing to have” in the charter. Trudeau said political calculations at the time of the charter’s enactment in 1982 led his father to conclude that the clause’s inclusion was better “than to not have a charter at all.”
The clause has been a contentious issue amid the removal of a Muslim teacher from an elementary school classroom in Quebec for wearing a hijab at work, in violation of a law in that province, The Canadian Press reported. Quebec’s government pre-emptively cited the notwithstanding clause to prevent courts from ruling that the law violates the charter.
This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.