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Justin Trudeau
Image: picture-alliance/empics/The Canadian Press/J. Tang

Trudeau criticized for 'peoplekind' comment

Alexander Pearson
February 7, 2018

Justin Trudeau has told a woman at a university event in Edmonton to say "peoplekind" rather than "mankind." Conservative commentators have latched onto the exchange to ridicule him.


Trudeau says 'peoplekind' better than 'mankind'

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came under fire on Tuesday for telling a woman to use the word "peoplekind" after she had used the word "mankind."

Conservative commentators criticized Trudeau, who has publically championed women's issues and gender equality within his government, for making up the term and interrupting the woman to correct her.

Who said what?

  • In a video clipped from Canadian public broadcaster CBC, a young woman can be seen asking Trudeau about volunteer funding for religious groups. She said at the end of her question: "Maternal love is the love that's going to change the future of mankind. So we'd like you ..."
  • The prime minister then raised his hand and said: "We like to say 'peoplekind,' not necessarily 'mankind,' because its more inclusive."
  • As the crowd cheered in response, the woman replied: "there we go ... exactly ... yes ... thank you."

Conservatives lash out

British commentator Piers Morgan accused Trudeau of "virtue-signalling" — the act of showing off one's own moral virtue to impress others — his feminist beliefs in an opinion piece for the British Daily Mail. Morgan said Trudeau had tried to "rewrite" the English language, because the word "peoplekind" does not exist.

Conservative Canadian Member of Parliament Michelle Rempel said on Twitter: "On behalf of Parliament, to the woman he interrupted, I apologize for his behaviour. PS. I’d love for him to try to interrupt me like that."

Christina Sommers from the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, said in a post on Twitter that using the word "mankind" was fine, but the prime minister "publically embarrassing someone for using it" was not.

Is 'peoplekind' a word?

"Peoplekind" is not recognized by Merriam-Webster, the Oxford English Dictionary, or the Cambridge Dictionary. Instead, all three dictionaries recognize "mankind" and "humankind."

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