Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it doesn’t make him uncomfortable when people talk about his appearance.
Speaking during an interview with BuzzFeed News, Trudeau said the fixation with his looks was nothing compared to what women faced, and said the conversation about his own looks was worth it if it engendered talk about the wider issue.
“I’m a man. People can criticize me and I still won’t know half or a quarter of the discrimination that a woman in business or in politics or just walking down the street will face," he told BuzzFeed News editor-in-chief Ben Smith.
“I’ve developed a very thick skin and I’m fine with whatever people might be distracted by.”
Nearly one year into his premiership, Trudeau is in New York to give his maiden speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. He stopped by the BuzzFeed office to talk about topics ranging from refugees to climate change to Drake.
“We have to not give in to irrational fears," he said, noting that people should be more worried about being run over by a New York taxi than they should of terrorism attacks.
“We can’t allow it to dominate our lives and our choices or the way we see the world.”
Trudeau has been described as the anti-Trump on the world stage. He declined to comment on Trump directly, but did take on Trump's anti-free trade message.
“We know that trade and globalization has been great for growth, it just hasn’t gone to the right people or the majority," he said. Trudeau said he believed the task for politicians was not to scrap free trade but to make it work so that more wealth was going to the middle class.
Trudeau also commented on his recent trip to China, after which the country released a Canadian man who had been imprisoned for two years on charges of being a spy.
Trudeau told BuzzFeed News that Canada did not offer anything for the man’s release. But he did say it was a necessary step before Canada would move forward on trade talks with the economic powerhouse.
“It was a relationship that we want to set off on the right foot and the fact that (the imprisonment) was a challenge to this relationship becoming a good one was taken seriously by everyone.” He also confirmed that he's never actually met another famous Canadian, Drake. (He also could not confirm if Drake is in fact dating Rihanna.)
Paul McLeod is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
Contact Paul McLeod at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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