Strong reaction to photos of Trudeau in brownface and blackface

September 20, 2019, 3:55 am


There has been strong reaction to photos and videos that have surfaced of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wearing blackface and brownface at various events.

The first photo to surface shows Trudeau in brownface and a turban at an Arabian Nights event in 2001, when he was a teacher at a private school in Vancouver. People at the event said Trudeau was the only person who wore brownface at the event.

A second photo then surfaced showing Trudeau wearing blackface to sing Day-O at a high school event when he was a student.

A video then surfaced showing Trudeau in blackface in what appears to be a different time and place than the first two videos.

“Like all Canadians, I was extremely shocked and disappointed when I learned of Justin Trudeau’s actions.” Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said, “Wearing brownface is an act of open mockery and racism. It was just as racist in 2001 as it is in 2019.”

“What Canadians saw this evening is someone with a complete lack of judgement and integrity and someone who is not fit to govern this country.”

“This raises questions about the sincerity of the prime minister, when he goes to events and says that multiculturalism is important and diversity is important – now people question the sincerity of that, and that’s very fair for people to do that,” NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said Thursday on CTV’s Your Morning.

Singh described these incidents as part of a “pattern of behaviour” that included Trudeau’s response in March to a protester who interrupted a Liberal Party fundraiser.

The protester from the Grassy Narrows First Nation in northern Ontario, which has been dealing with the effects of mercury poisoning for decades, called out to Trudeau during his speech, asking him what he would do about their community’s plight.

Trudeau responded by thanking the protester for making a donation to the party by attending the fundraiser. He later said he had demonstrated a “lack of respect” and apologized.

“Instead of responding to those folks and saying that we need help, he mocked them, made fun of them, and was applauded and cheered on by those attending this fundraiser,” Singh said Thursday.

“That to me shows the utter lack of compassion for humans that are going through mercury poisoning, and that to me really builds out a story that this is not an isolated incident – it’s a pattern of behaviour that Mr. Trudeau is very different behind closed doors than what he shows people in public.”

Singh said the photos of Trudeau would cause people of colour to recall instances of racism they have faced in the past and potentially question their place in Canada.