Canadians won't be fooled by Putin propaganda on Ukraine, Trudeau says

OTTAWA — Canadians are too smart to fall for Russian propaganda about the war in Ukraine, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Trudeau made the remark after he was asked about Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent interview with Tucker Carlson.

In it, Putin mocked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for taking part in a tribute on Parliament Hill that included a veteran with Nazi ties.

Canada made international headlines last fall for accidentally inviting Yaroslav Hunka, a Ukrainian-born Canadian who fought with an SS unit during the Second World War, to Parliament and then giving him a standing ovation.

"The president of Ukraine stood up with the entire Parliament of Canada and applauded this man. How can this be imagined?" Putin said through a translator in an interview shared Thursday evening.

Putin has claimed that he invaded Ukraine to defeat neo-Nazis — something Western counties have dismissed as propaganda.

Trudeau told reporters on Friday Putin will use "whatever propaganda he can" to try and justify the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

"But I can tell you, Canadians will not be fooled," he said at a news conference in King City, Ont.

"Canada stands with Ukraine, not just because we are friends to Ukraine, but because the rules-based order and the system of laws and the UN Charter protect all of us, not just Ukrainians."

He added his government will continue to support Ukraine.

"Unfortunately, we see the lengths to which Russian propaganda will go to try and impact public opinion, to try and twist things."

For weeks, Trudeau has slammed Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre and singled out many of his members of Parliament for voting against an updated free trade agreement with Ukraine.

Poilievre says while his party supports Ukraine's in the war against Russia, it opposes consumer carbon prices and stands against the revised agreement because the text mentions that both Ukraine and Canada agree to "promote carbon pricing." Ukraine has had a price on carbon for years.

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress was among the groups to voice their disappointment over the Tories' position.

Trudeau accused Poilievre of mimicking the position of some U.S Republicans, who are signalling less support for assisting the Ukrainian war effort.

Poilievre has pushed back against that accusation. Some of his MPs have begun calling on the Liberals to send more weapons to Ukraine after they began voting against the free-trade bill.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 9, 2024.

— With files from The Associated Press

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press