In the frenzy that was ‘Elbowgate,’ there’s a good chance you might have missed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s appearance on the Daily Show — Trudeau’s sit-down interview with correspondent Hasan Minhaj aired the same night as the fracas on the House of Commons floor.
The interview was part of a series that satirically scrutinized Canada’s refugee policies, mainly the decision to take in Syrian refugees.
Minhaj — who travelled to Ottawa for the segment — spent most of the time fuelling fears about the refugees and grilling interviewees about the policy’s impact on the U.S.
“You’re going to let these brown ice walkers go nuts up in the north, and then they’re going to cross the border and kill all Americans,” he says.
Half the segment is devoted to Minhaj’s interview with Trudeau, which opens with the correspondent asking, “Why are you trying to destroy North America?” The pre-taped interview took place inside the Parliamentary Library.
Though the focus was refugees, the two touched on a wide range of topics, from hockey to Nickelback. Here are a few of the highlights.
Almost every question Minhaj lobs at Trudeau is a joke or pokes fun at the prime minister. In fact, Minhaj says he told the Canuck border guard that he was coming to Canada roast the prime minister — a statement he takes quite literally.
“What if I came here to literally roast you?” Minhaj asks. Trudeau gives a deadpan reply: “You might find that a little more difficult than you think.”
Minhaj then asks Trudeau if he is going to kick his ass. The two settle the debate with Minhaj agreeing to not “literally roast” the prime minister.
The conversation veers into the scatological, when Minjah likens the immigration system to a high school party. He talks about locking the doors on certain students before they come and “leave some upper-deckers upstairs” — a foul party trick played on unsuspecting toilets.
Unflinchingly, Trudeau replies: “As soon as you’re locking doors, you’re narrowing your circle. And your circle gets smaller and smaller until it’s finally just yourself and your buddy and you’ve got no one to party with.”
But when he fails to mention the toilet trick, Minjah presses him — getting Trudeau to admit that he knows what it means.
“Yeah, it’s not pretty,” Trudeau says. “I think we maybe we have better faith in the people we invite over.”
‘The right thing to do’
Minjah offers Trudeau a faux Stanley Cup made out of tinfoil if the prime minister promises to stop taking in refugees. Trudeau turns down the offer, telling Minjah “it’s the right thing to do,” but takes the trophy anyhow.
The interview takes a bit of a serious turn when Minjah asks about the security risks of taking in refugees, referencing the attacks in Paris and Belgium.
Trudeau defends the policy, saying there is risk in everything.
“The best counter to the kind of radicalization and marginalization that we’ve seen in other parts of the world is to create an inclusive society where everyone, including especially Muslim Canadians, have every opportunity to succeed, just like anybody else,” he says.
We knew that former prime minister Stephen Harper was into Nickelback, but the Daily Show interview shed some insight into Trudeau’s stance on the divisive rock band out of Hanna, Alta.
Minjah calls the influx of refugees “the greatest Canadian terrorist threat since September 11, 2001” — saying that’s the day Nickelback released their chart-topping album, Silver Side Up. It includes their hit song, How You Remind Me.
Trudeau’s reply? “You know what, Nickelback’s alright.” This comment, more than any others made during the interview, triggered quite a few heated responses on Twitter.
Justin Trudeau liking Nickelback is a bigger scandal than any elbowing.
Just when you thought Canadian Prime Minister @JustinTrudeau was cool. Full video: https://t.co/4azjbrG7AS pic.twitter.com/dAgbAWBHEm
I used to like Justin Trudeau but he just uttered the words “Nickelback is alright” on television
The Daily Show has been covering Trudeau since he won the federal election last October. Earlier this month, show host Trevor Noah told reporters that he was “completely in love” with the prime minister.