Justin Trudeau takes the 60-second challenge

The Prime Minister took our rapid-fire questions just before the Maclean’s Town Hall


Ahead of the Maclean’s Town Hall with Justin Trudeau on Wednesday, the Prime Minister agreed to take our 60-second challenge. It was all fun and games—and a nod and a wink, too.

We parsed some of his answers. Here’s four interesting things to come from them:

1. The first lines of poetry that came to Trudeau’s mind were from Cyrano De Bergerac’s “Non, merci!” soliloque, from the second act of Edmond Rostand’s play. The romantic hero is responding to Le Bret, his confidant, who tells him that he worries that Cyrano’s principles will get in the way of his career goals, as either a poet or a musketeer. The iconic lines are Cyrano’s reaffirmation of those principles, listing a series of dismal rhetorical options in a sarcastic tone (“Dine each day on a toad?”) and rejecting them out of hand (“Non, merci!”).

In full, the lines are:

Non, merci ! non, merci ! non, merci ! Mais… chanter,
Rêver, rire, passer, être seul, être libre,
Avoir l’œil qui regarde bien, la voix qui vibre,
Mettre, quand il vous plaît, son feutre de travers,
Pour un oui, pour un non, se battre, – ou faire un vers !

Translated, it means:

No, thank you! But… to sing,
To dream, to laugh, to move on, to be free, on my own
To have a keen eye and a voice of strong tone,
Wear my hat awry as I prefer,
For no reason at all engage in combat or pen a verse!

2.  Trudeau’s favourite French word is “topinambour,” which is French for “Jerusalem artichoke.”

3.  The Prime Minister refuses to choose between British Columbia and Nova Scotia, no doubt to avoid roiling any province. But his careful answer is surprising given the years he spent living in B.C., studying at the University of British Columbia, and teaching at various schools (and ski resorts) there.

4. Justin Trudeau revealed that his first pet was named Smokey, while also noting the street he lived on was Sussex. Put the two together.

trudeau sussex

More serious questions to come this Wednesday, Dec. 16 at 2 p.m. ET, from journalists at Maclean’s, Chatelaine and L’actualite—and from Canadians.

Follow this link if you have a question you think we should ask the Prime Minister. You can also tweet it using the hashtag #MacTownHall.


Justin Trudeau takes the 60-second challenge

  1. You know, to be honest, it as Paul Wells and the Macleans debate that are partially responsible for helping Trudeau win last Oct 19th election, because just before the debate, Trudeau numbers were plummeting on the polls, if you still want to believe in all polling, but after the debate, the plummeting started to stop(actually the next polling data that week showed the bleeding stopped), so in fact what the debate done, was got the countries attention because of Trudeau’s performance. Trudeau then took it from there, and the rest as we say is history.

  2. My mistake,

    When I saw the name Trudeau and the phrase “60 second challenge”, I thought it was going to be a discussion about the diffculty he faced when counting that high.

    • You’re becoming tiresome.

      • Well, then I would suggest you go and grab yourself a nice “fair trade” coffee. That should perk you up.

        • I just watched the much ridiculed, at least on these pages, PM Trudeau, give some prepared remarks to natives involved in the Commission.
          Before that there were a few minutes of personal reflection off the cuff, no string pullers by the PM.
          Those few minutes were moving, sincere, and intelligent.
          Sorry Halifax; it was everything you deny. And all of Canada can see it and the Trudeau hater club is getting smaller and smaller.
          Use reasonable arguments, but cut the hate, anger, and personal insults.

          • And he gave credit to, and quoted from, the Harper apology.
            He sees a bigger picture than squablers like us.

          • J.W.

            I never wrote anything about what you described. My comments were only to show what I think of Trudeau’s intellect. For all intents and purposes, the man isn’t very bright when compared to former PM’s; least of all Stephen Harper, or even Justin’s own father.

            I’m sure that there is much sincerity in Trudeau……but the fact he’s wrong on just about everything has nothing to do with how deeply he believes in what he says.

          • J.W. wrote:

            “And he gave credit to, and quoted from, the Harper apology.
            He sees a bigger picture than squablers like us.”

            Harper was just as sincere as Justin Trudeau when it came to the native file. The difference of course, is that Harper enacted laws and made changes that would actually HELP native people, while discouraging the waste of money that is meant to make people “feel good” as opposed to actually doing good. The Missing and murdered Native women inquiry for example. Do you really think it will tell us something we don’t already know?

            It is just another venue for natives to play Victim. It won’t focus much on the aboriginal men who murder and mistreat native women…..it will instead revert to some bogus discussion about the ramifications of colonialism, poverty, racism..etc..etc…..

            Better expenditure of money would be a serious of commercials on APTN aimed at young men telling them it is wrong to mistreat, disrespect, or abuse women, as apparently, many of the parents of these men aren’t doing it.

          • Awww, that’s cute!
            The guy that can’t comprehend a 150 word wire story just wants us to know what he thinks of someone’s intellect.

    • Awww, the guy who can’t comprehend a 150 word wire story is calling someone ‘stupid’.

      • Give it up Tresus,

        I’m still not going to explain to you why everyone on that post saw you for the idiot you are. The fact that you are stil fishing for clues is precious. Just face it….you’re just not at our level. You need to raise your game a bit.(a lot actually).

        Just sweep the floor, collect the tips that fall under the counter, and be glad that you are allowed to take home the “day-olds” after your shift.

      • Give it up Tresus…….

        I’m not going to explain it to you this time. The fact you are still trying to figure out WHY you showed yourself to be such a duffus, is exactly the point of the thread you are referring to. Please note, the others’ who read my rebuttal to your ridiculous (yet another one) assertions saw clearly that you were an idiot.

        the fact you still don’t see it simply proves my accusation. Go work it out on your own. I’m tired of having to spell things out for people who lack the capacity for critical thinking. (or in your case…just thinking at all).

        • sorry for double post…….

          it doesn’t make you twice as Stupid tresus…..so dont’ stress out about it too much.

        • Hah! Reading is hard!

          “By a 5-2 margin, the high court has reversed a decision by the Federal Court of Appeal that upheld the rejection of Jeyakannan Kanthasamy’s claim that he would suffer serious hardship if he returned to his homeland.

          jameshalifax: “If however, Macleans failed to note that the 16 year old was detained due to his involvement in Tamil tiger terrorism; then there is perhaps a reason for his rejection.

  3. Why are you subjecting your readers to wall to wall coverage and pictures of Justin Trudeau. Enough!

    • Lois,

      It will get worse.

      by last count, the main page of the site devoted 12 of 17 stories to Trudeau, complete with pictures. 3 of the remaining 5 stories just talked about him.

      I haven’t purchased the hard copy since Trudeau was elected, as this seems to be the new direction. It’s turned into “PEOPLE” magazine, but instead of focusing on mindless celebrity news, it focuses on mindless Canadian Prime Ministers named Trudeau.

    • You don’t have to read it.

  4. Justin definitely knows how to deke out of important questions.

  5. Mr. Justin Trudeau,
    Baltics is a thing. It is three european countries nearby the Baltic sea. Your choices may be: Lithuania, Latvia or Estonia. You can come and visit a beautiful lithuanian capital Vilnius to make sure.

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