The House sits down with the Prime Minister

This week on The House, Chris Hall sits down with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to talk about tackling sexual harassment, the future of NAFTA, his broken promise to reform the electoral system, and whether he will ever live at 24 Sussex Dr. again. We also chat with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley about the Trans Mountain pipeline, and our In House panel is back.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sat down with Chris Hall, host of CBC Radio's The House in the library of Parliament. (Marc Robichaud/CBC)
Listen to the full episode49:59

The House sat down with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for an wide-ranging interview, covering everything from international trade to sexual misconduct.

We also asked him your questions about Canada Post, marijuana legalization, electoral reform and his biggest regret of 2017.

Here are the highlights from that conversation.


Trudeau says zero tolerance on misconduct applies to him, too

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says women who come forward with complaints of sexual assault and harassment must be supported and believed.

And he's confident no one will be able to accuse him of the kinds of behaviour that have brought down several high-profile politicians this week.

"I've been very, very careful all my life to be thoughtful, to be respectful of people's space and people's headspace as well," he told The House.

When asked if any of his past actions could be misconstrued, Trudeau said he didn't think so.

"This is something that I'm not new to. I've been working on issues around sexual assault for over 25 years," he explained.

"My first activism and engagement was at the sexual assault centre at McGill students' society where I was one of the first male facilitators in their outreach program leading conversations — sometimes very difficult ones — on the issues of consent, communications, accountability, power dynamics."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with Chris Hall the host of CBC Radio's The House 1:14

Trudeau says Canada is ready if Trump nixes NAFTA

​Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he doesn't believe U.S. President Donald Trump will pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, but Canada has multiple contingency plans ready if trade talks go south.

The latest round of talks wrapped in Montreal on Monday with the trade ministers from Canada, Mexico and the United States agreeing some progress was made, but also acknowledging there are still tough challenges ahead.

"Not only do we have a Plan B, we have a Plan C and D and E and F," Trudeau told The House

But the prime minister remained tight-lipped about what's in those dossiers.

"What [Plan B] involves is standing up for Canadians and making sure that we move forward in the best possible way, and depending on what the Americans do, depending on what decisions the administration takes, we'll make sure that we do the right things," he said.

"I think one of the dangers is falling into hypotheticals and chasing rabbits down holes," Trudeau said in the interview. "Just know that we have looked at a broad range of scenarios and have an approach that is going to continue to stand up for Canadian jobs while we diversify our markets."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tells CBC Radio's The House host Chris Hall that he is optimistic about the future of NAFTA. 2:33

Marijuana legalization

As the deadline for legalizing marijuana nears, many of you wondered if the Liberals were on track to meet that goal. 

Chris Hall asked the prime minister if he regretted the promise to legalize marijuana, or if he'd consider legalizing any other drugs. 

Firmly, Justin Trudeau said no other drugs will be decriminalized. He's also still convinced that following through with his promise on pot is the right move. 

As July 1 approaches, the prime minister weighs in on whether decriminalizing marijuana was the right move. 1:51

The biggest regret of 2017

November marked the halfway mark to the next federal election. The Liberals have only completed 68 out of 322 promises in their mandate. 

Justin Trudeau kept his composure throughout our interview. Only one question left him momentarily speechless: what one decision you made in 2017 do you regret? 

Here's his response.

A member of The House's audience wanted to ask the prime minister if he regretted anything he'd done in 2017. 0:35

No broken promise on Canada Post

Coming off the back of questions on the broken promise of reforming the electoral system, we asked Trudeau your questions about Canada Post.

Saving door-to-door delivery was another campaign promise that some people felt shifted as the Liberal mandate carried on. 

Trudeau says he doesn't see it as a broken promise.

A recent announcement saw that home delivery wouldn't be restored to residences that lost it. Many people called it a broken promise, but the prime minister disagrees. 0:53

Climate change

A member of our audience wanted to ask Trudeau what his plans are for the environment, as Canada isn't on track to meet international targets set in Paris in 2015. 

Canada will be introducing a country-wide carbon tax — with provinces currently scrambling to set their own rules before the federal government imposes their own.

But when it comes to choosing between the economy and the environment, the prime minister said it doesn't have to be an ultimatum. 

Justin Trudeau weighs in on how Canada's climate promises can align with economic growth. 1:49


Trudeau says he doesn't see himself ever returning to live at 24 Sussex

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it is unlikely he'll ever return to live at 24 Sussex Drive, the deteriorating, mouse-infested, hydro-draining and oft-spoofed official residence of Canada's head of government. 

Trudeau told The House that he doesn't see himself returning to his boyhood home at any point.

"I'm fairly resigned to not live in that house for the entire term," he told host Chris Hall in an interview airing Saturday.

The stone mansion was originally named Gorffwysfa, Welsh for "place of peace." But it has been anything but for the prime ministers who have lived there.

"There's a real challenge in this country. Anything that a prime minister decides that they can potentially benefit from —  that's one of the reasons that that house has gone into the ground since the time I lived there —  is that no prime minister wants to spend a penny of taxpayer dollars on upkeeping that house," said Trudeau, who moved his family into the nearby Rideau Cottage after taking office.

In an interview with The House, the prime minister says the residence needs thorough repairs and he has no plans to move his family there. 1:00

Trudeau will only revisit electoral reform if pushed by other parties

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he has no plans to resurrect the Liberal campaign promise of electoral reform unless the other political parties agree to a system other than proportional representation.

Reforming Canada's electoral system was a foundational pillar of the Liberals' campaign platform in 2015, with Trudeau promising that election would be the last conducted under the first-past-the-post system.

The government struck a parliamentary committee, conducted town hall meetings and sent out a national survey on the issue.

And then, one year ago — two years after he vowed that a Liberal government would implement a ranked ballot for electing MPs — Trudeau sent a mandate letter to the new minister of democratic institutions informing her that electoral reform would not be one of her directives.

Trudeau said no clear choice had emerged for an alternative system of voting — and he didn't want to see Canada adopt proportional representation for the sake of change.

In an interview this week with The House, Trudeau said proportional representation would divide Canadians as it would "exacerbate small differences in the electorate."

Justin Trudeau answers audience questions on electoral reform during an interview with Chris Hall. 2:16