No, this isn’t a mistake or a misquote.
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau really did just blame President Trump for the downing of Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752, which was shot down by an IRGC missile operator just minutes after taking off from the International Airport in Tehran.
After initially denying any involvement in the accident, the Iranian regime confirmed the world’s suspicions on Saturday when it announced that the passenger plane was shot down by mistake, killing more than 170 passengers and crew, including more than 60 Canadians.
In the days after the crash, Trudeau demanded that Iran allow Canadian investigators to cooperate in the investigation, and examine the data.
But now that the fate of Flight 752 has proved once again that “shootdown events” like this have become normalized (remember what happened after MH17?), it looks like Trudeau, who recently secured a second term despite a string of embarrassing scandals, is trying to divert attention away from this sad fact.
And the ol’ ‘blame it on Trump’ routine is a reliable card to play, given that the millions of Americans and Canadians who despise the president will likely accept it uncritically for no other reason than it sounds plausible.
Of course, linking the US and Iran’s spat with the accidental shoot-down is probably more than a little premature, to say the least. While it’s true the jet crashed just hours after Iran retaliated against the US for the killing of General Suleimani, investigators haven’t yet established whether the two incidents are directly interconnected (though that also seems extremely plausible).
For all we know, Iran might have still accidentally shot down the plane, even if the US didn’t kill Suleimani. Still, Trudeau blamed Trump for “escalating” tensions with Iran, seemingly excusing Iran for its history of financing terror attacks and wars via proxies around the world, along with its more recent transgressions.
Trudeau said he felt the victims in the plane were “collateral damage” from the conflict between the US and Iran.
“If there was no escalation recently in the region, those Canadians would be right now home with their families,” Trudeau said during an interview with Global News Television on Monday. “This is something that happens when you have conflict and the war. Innocents bear the brunt of it.”
To be sure, Trudeau added that many are also angry at Iran, and that “justice” is “entirely expected.” To us, that sounds like Trudeau preparing the public to uncritically accept Iran’s narrative. He praised Iran for taking “a very big first step” by admitting responsibility and moving to hold individuals responsible.
“Acknowledgement of responsibility and some form of compensation is going to have to come,” Trudeau added, before his interviewer reminded him that Tehran is one of the least transparent regimes in the world.
Trudeau added that he and his fellow world leaders are trying to “deescalate tensions in the region,” adding that the grief they are going through is “not to be consoled right now…they express immeasurable pain.”
On Monday, ICAO, the UN aviation agency, said in a statement that it had accepted Iran’s invitation to provide “expert advice” during the investigation, while Canada’s Transportation Safety Board also said on Monday that Iranian officials had invited it to examine the data from the Boeing 737’s “black box” of flight data and cockpit voice recordings.
Watch the interview with Trudeau below: