Despite Canadian legacy media outlets burying the story, the reprimand of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau by European parliamentarians in Brussels has made headlines around the world.

Trudeau was treated to scathing condemnation by several Members of European Parliament (MEP) after giving a speech to the European Union on Wednesday.

Croatian MEP Mislav Kolakusic called out the Canadian prime minister for engaging in a “dictatorship of the worst kind” over his treatment of peaceful Freedom Convoy protestors in February. 

At least three other MEPs echoed Kolakusic’s remarks, with Romanian MEP Cristian Terheș entirely boycotting Trudeau’s speech.

The outrage over Trudeau’s presence in the European Parliament spread far and wide in international outlets. 

Croatia’s daily newspaper Večernji list featured an article dedicated to Kolakusic’s remarks titled “Kolakusic condemns Trudeau before EU parliament: ‘Canada has become a dictatorship of the worst kind because of you’.” 

“Recall, in the Canadian city of Ottawa, there were protests against coronavirus restrictions for weeks, and they ended after 24 days of blockade. 190 protesters were arrested, and the police sprayed them with pepper spray and demolished their ‘shelters’. Addressing Parliament, Kolakusic said Trudeau was trampling on fundamental values that citizens had fought for for centuries,” the newspaper claimed.

One of Australia’s most prominent broadcasters, Sky News, also devoted a segment to Trudeau’s thrashing at the EU.

“In the aftermath of Prime Minister Trudeau enacting the legislation (against the protestors”, Canadian police used tough tactics to disperse protestors. Including a woman who was trampled by a horse during the protest,” wrote Sky News Australia. “Justin Trudeau’s clamping down on democratic freedoms has been widely criticized from across the political spectrum.” 

French journalist Gaspar Bazinet also wrote an article on the controversy for the outlet News 24.

“A member of the European Parliament called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a ‘dictator’ to his face during Trudeau’s trip to Belgium this week and accused the Canadian government of violating human rights,” wrote Bazinet. 

“Canada received international criticism last month after taking drastic and heavy-handed action to end peaceful “Freedom Convoy” protests in Ottawa against Covid-19 restrictions and mandates.” 

The Serbian outlet Nulta Tačka also dedicated a feature article to Trudeau’s torching at the hands of European parliamentarians. 

In Canada, however, the legacy media painted a wholly different picture. Reading through coverage by the CBC, Global News, Canadian Press and others, one would get the impression that Trudeau’s trip was a supremely successful and well-received affair. 

A Canadian Press article titled “Trudeau’s address to European Parliament focuses on the rising threats to democracies” makes no mention of any of the MEPs who spoke out against Trudeau. 

“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is making a plea to European leaders to come together as democracies in the face of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and tackle rising uncertainties citizens have about the future,” the article read. “The speech was a sequel of sorts to the 2017 address the prime minister gave in Hamburg, Germany, that outlined his foreign-policy vision and his often professed faith in the rules-based international order.” 

Similarly, Global News devoted a segment to Trudeau’s remarks focusing on the prime minister’s words and not the reaction to his presence in Brussels. 

“Justin Trudeau spoke for about 20 minutes. His themes: reinforcing and supporting this remarkable European unity in the face of Russian aggression,” Global News reporter David Akin said of the speech.

Meanwhile at the CBC, journalist Murray Brewster claimed that the prime minister received a “sustained ovation” from EU politicians despite the fact that the plenary where Trudeau spoke was largely empty

“Speaking before half-empty benches and packed public galleries, Trudeau received a sustained ovation when he said the European Union and NATO are more united than ever in the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war,” wrote Brewster.

The Canadian legacy media coverage of the affair raises questions about how insulated the press has become from the rest of the world. While international outlets choose to broadcast Trudeau’s worst moments while abroad, the Canadian press has presented a wholly whitewashed version of the prime minister. 

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