The Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has come under fire for “mansplaining” and being too politically correct after he interrupted a woman and lightheartedly corrected her for saying “mankind” not “peoplekind” at a town hall event in Canada on Friday.
His correction came at the conclusion of a longwinded question from an audience member that, over the course of three minutes, included a discussion of her church and the special power of “maternal love”.
The questioner ended by asking Trudeau to look at laws surrounding the charitable status of religious organisations, saying , “maternal love is the love that’s going to change the future of mankind”. To which Trudeau said: “We like to say ‘peoplekind’, not necessarily ‘mankind’, because it’s more inclusive.”
His comments have drawn ridicule from conservative media who have seized on them to accuse him of “virtue signalling”, being too politically correct and for “mansplaining”, a term coined by a feminist author and popularised by feminist discourse.
The Australian conservative commentator Rita Panahi said Trudeau’s use of “peoplekind” was an attempt to “appease those desperate to find offence where none exists”.
Fox News dedicated a segment to the controversy, enlisting the help of Jordan Peterson, a Canadian professor who has found fame after arguing against “political correctness”, especially the use of preferred pronouns.
However, some have suggested that the rightwing furore surrounding his comments has been manufactured in bad faith.
Daniel Dale, Washington correspondent for the Toronto Star, said that the “pile-on” was misleading as Trudeau was “lightly ribbing a woman who was rambling about the power of women” and accused it of omitting important context.
The woman did indeed thank the prime minister for his correction and Trudeau allowed her a considerable time to speak.
The prime minister has made comments in the past that have come under fire for their seeming facetiousness.