Leaders trade barbs about PM's India trip at press gallery dinner

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau found some humour in his controversial trip to India as he and other federal leaders spoke Saturday at the annual parliamentary press gallery dinner.

Trudeau's trade mission earlier this year was fodder for many of the jokes at annual event

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau jokes during his speech at the parliamentary press gallery dinner at the Museum of History in Gatineau, Que. on Saturday, May 26, 2018. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau found some humour in his recent controversial trip to India, as he and other federal party leaders spoke at the annual parliamentary press gallery dinner on Saturday night.

With his February tour being the focus of many of the jabs, Trudeau himself addressed the subject by showing a slideshow of the trip and joking that he never wanted to take another trip again.

Trudeau pokes fun at India trip, Andrew Scheer

4 years ago
Duration 0:57
There were jokes and jabs at the annual parliamentary press gallery dinner in Ottawa, where the three federal party leaders all took to the stage

While Trudeau's wardrobe of colourful, traditional clothing was the target of jokes by the Indian media during the trip, the prime minister turned it around with his presentation on Saturday night.

"And here I am, meeting with the CEO of  Infosys, a company that, for the record, announced new investments in Canada during the course of this trip. But you guys didn't report on it — because I was wearing a shirt and tie. Boring."

Trudeau also joked that some people he met in India, such as Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan, were "seriously under-dressed." 

Scheer responds to Justin Trudeau, cracks joke about Jagmeet Singh

4 years ago
Duration 0:35
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer takes the stage at annual parliamentary press gallery dinner in Ottawa

Earlier in his speech, he playfully took a shot at the Conservative leader's appearance, saying: "Andrew, it's a pleasure, as always. Your dimples are looking extra sinister tonight."

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh poked fun at the prime minister for his attempt at an Indian bhangra dance while on the trip, then proceeded to lead an instruction of the proper way to perform the dance.

Andrew Scheer got a chance to turn the tables on Trudeau, and also brought up the India trip.

Singh makes fun of Justin Trudeau's dance moves

4 years ago
Duration 1:11
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh ends his parliamentary press gallery dinner speech by teaching the audience — including PM Trudeau — some dance moves

"I have to hand it to the prime minister. It was very very smart of you — you pre-empted all my jokes. [The] India trip, that was half my material tonight, so it's going to be a little bit shorter."

Resurrecting his milk-carton joke from last year's press gallery dinner, Scheer brought a milk jug onstage with him, bearing a photo of Singh and the word "missing" on it — a reference to criticism Singh has faced for not spending enough time in Ottawa.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer poked fun at other federal leaders, as well as himself, during the dinner at the Museum of History in Gatineau, Que. 'It's great to be back at the press gallery dinner, where after a year of you making fun of me, I get to make fun of me, too,' he said. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

"Jagmeet, it's great to see you here," Scheer said. "I don't know which table you're sitting at, but it's so good to see you with a seat here in Ottawa after all this time."

Several joking references were also made about Scheer and Singh being lesser known to the public.

Ending his remarks on a serious note, Trudeau thanked the journalists for their work, stressing the importance of an independent news media that holds governments to account.​

With files from The Canadian Press