“We all watch in horror and consternation."
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paused for over 20 seconds before answering a question about President Donald Trump's handling of protests gripping the United States.
“We all watch in horror and consternation at what’s going on in the United States,” he said after a reporter pushed him for an answer about Trump's threat to invoke military action against protesters.
"It is a time to pull people together, but it is a time to listen. It is a time to learn when injustices continue despite progress over years and decades."
Trudeau stopped short of openly criticising Trump and then switched the focus of his answer to racism and systemic discrimination in Canada.
Clip via ABC News
He said there's a need to fight racism in Canada, and black Canadians and others face discrimination in the country every day.
When asked if he would comment further on what's happening in the US and in particular on Trump, the Canadian PM said: "My job as a Canadian prime minister is to stand up for Canadians, to stand up for our interests, to stand up for our values.
"That is what I have done from the very beginning, that is what I will continue to do."
Trudeau was also quizzed on his own behaviour in the past, including a number of instances of him wearing blackface.
During his re-election campaign last year when the images and videos of him emerged, Trudeau said he could not recall how many times he wore blackface makeup.
Speaking this week, Trudeau said: “When it comes to being an ally, I have made serious mistakes in the past, mistakes which I deeply regret and continue to learn from… I'm not perfect, but not being perfect is not a free pass to not do the right thing."