Justin Trudeau scores apology hat trick

Mark Dunn, Senior National Reporter

, Last Updated: 5:33 PM ET

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau apologized Tuesday for flippant comments about the situation in Ukraine — five days after making them and less than 24 hours after his defenders denied he misspoke.

The Liberal leader said he was sorry at least three times, including to the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) and Ukraine's ambassador, for what his critics called insensitive, offensive, inappropriate and distasteful remarks.

The apologizing continued during a media scrum after question period with the Montreal MP again falling on his sword for joking that Russia's hockey collapse at the Sochi Games could spur some sort of military intervention in Ukraine because the Olympic host country was in a dour mood from losing.

New Democrats and Conservatives vilified him for the gaffe — the latest in a string of questionable comments since becoming leader last spring, including his admiration of China's dictatorship.

"I regret my comments about Russia which made light of some very real fears and concerns that Ukrainians have about Russian intervention," he said outside the Commons.

He went on to say Canadians are open to politicians who stumble.

"What I have heard across the country, where I trust Canadians, is that Canadians are open to having people who are not tightly scripted, who are willing to talk like people talk, and from time to time take risks and time to time have to apologize or withdraw their comments."


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