'He went after my family': Trudeau defends his response to protester

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says a protester who used a sexist term to describe his wife on Monday crossed a line, which compelled him to respond.

“I think Canadians know that I have pretty thick skin, and I’m able to take all sorts of different abuse,” he said, while taking questions in Richmond, B.C. on Tuesday.

“But he went after my family. He said hateful and misogynistic things about my wife.”

Trudeau was asked whether pulling down his mask and yelling back at the protester: “Isn't there a hospital you should be going to bother right now?" was prime ministerial and if the pressure of the campaign was getting to him.

“I signed up for this. My family believes deeply in what I’m doing and put up with an awful lot, but everyone has limits and I will always be there to try and push back when someone crosses those lines,” he said.

The exchange with the protester occurred as Trudeau was waiting for an interview with Global News outside their Burnaby, B.C. studio.

His wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, wasn’t present.

The footage, shot by Global News, shows the protester standing on the other side of a parking lot launching insults and calling on the leader to fight him as the song “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by the band Twisted Sister played through speakers.

The leader, in his response, was referring to the anti-vaccination protests that took place on Monday at several hospitals across the country. Hospital staff have described instances of harassment levied against patients and their colleagues.

Over the past several weeks, Trudeau has encountered protests at his campaign events that have at times turned violent.

On Tuesday morning, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said Trudeau shouldn’t have joked about the protests at hospitals and said heckling is a part of any campaign.

“He shouldn’t have been joking about that because it’s dangerous and it’s really causing problems for a lot of people. We know our health-care workers are burnt out and they’re going through a really difficult time. It’s not something to joke about,” he said.