Earlier this week, the shocking controversial photos and video of
current Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have shaken up the
political world and have taken the top headlines of many major news
outlets in Canada and internationally. What exactly were these photos
Nearly two decades ago in 2001, when most of the freshmen here would
have been newborns, photos and video of Mr. Trudeau depicted wearing
black face and brown face were taken. The Prime Minister has been very
defensive of and cautious about what to say in response, having
apologized to many people already for the incidents, stating that he
has no memory of the occurrences.
While some believe 18 years is a long time ago and that things were
different back then, it certainly doesn't help the Liberal party's
campaign, as rather than focus on promoting Trudeau's ideas of how
they plan to make Canada better, they are instead rapidly trying to do
damage control, and with Trudeau's approval rating within areas like
Alberta and Southern Manitoba facing an all time low, this certainly
drives him to a point some would even refer to as beyond rock bottom.
Some say that it would have helped if Trudeau had spoken out and came
forward about these incidents beforehand, rather than just shrugging
them off and not saying anything about them, as though they didn't
exist. In one of the photos, he can be seen in brown face with a
turban, something that the NDP party leader Jagmeet Singh calls both
deeply hurtful and offensive.
Singh took over the position of leader from Tom Mulcair who previously was Trudeau and Stephen Harper's adversary in the 2015 election. Singh is from Scarborough Ontario, and had an upbringing in a Sikh family, and his parents were immigrants from India. He is a devout member of the religion, and is the first non-Caucasian leader of a political party in Canada, so he did have quite a bit to say about the ordeal that our Prime Minister faces.
Trudeau has stated that he will apologize to Singh for what he had
done and hasn't done so yet, but has said he will. Singh has invited
Trudeau to have a private one on one discussion relating to the racist
pictures. Trudeau had this to say to reporters in Toronto:
“I will be apologizing to him personally, as a radicalized Canadian, as I have been apologizing to Canadians, who have suffered discrimination and intolerance their entire lives in ways that some of us, like me, have never had to experience on a daily basis,”
Trudeau expressed deep regret, likely due to how this will be
affecting his campaign and career moving forward, but did say this
about Singh's idea to meet:
“And on that I am certainly in deep agreement with Mr. Singh and I
look forward to having a good conversation with him.”
While many claim that Justin had made a few dumb decisions way back when, but it still hurts for some, including many of the immigrants
who helped support him in 2015 during his campaign. How this will
affect liberals has yet to be determined, but it doesn't look too good
for them at the moment.
As stated before, some say that it was a
different time, while I would like to point out the fact that 18 years
ago it was any less okay. Racism is racism, and in 2001 it still would
have been deemed as highly offensive. Perhaps during the 70's a stunt
like that wouldn't have seemed that bad at the time, 2001 was long
after acceptance towards black people had become mainstream, which I
would say is likely going to do Justin no favours in this election.
Conservative party leader Andrew Scheer has been attacking Trudeau,
and has mainly been focused on this issue, which doesn't come as a
surprise, as the liberals were busy digging up dirt and raiding the
closets of Conservative party members for skeletons, and had found
allegations of racism with plenty. Scheer states that though the
actions of those members are shameful, as long as the people guilty
are honest about what has happened and take accountability for their
actions, then it shows a level of maturity, one that unfortunately
our own Prime Minister seems to be lacking. Scheer calls the scandal
While Scheer may be using this as political ammunition against Trudeau in hopes of letting the Conservatives reclaim Parliament which they lost after Stephen Harper's defeat in 2015, Sheer is also probably
using the incident to draw attention away from his own scandals, which
relate to his homophobic views which have recently come to light, but
have now been overshadowed by Trudeau's scandal. Scheer had previously skipped many LGBT celebration events, and a pride parade back in August and has been very cautious about sharing his views on the subject of gay marriage, with the homophobia scandal being an ongoing trend for the Conservative leader. Trudeau and Singh have both
attended pride parades, yet Scheer hasn't and with the more recent
strings of homophobia attached to him, it's likely that LGBT voters
will be steering clear of any Conservative rallies and ditching their
support for the party. Trudeau's scandal hasn't just been dominating Canadian headlines.
Stateside, people have been discussing the issue there as well. Host
of Comedy Central's “The Daily Show” Trevor Noah, who is biracial and living in New York happens to be an immigrant from South Africa, and the comedian has proposed a law to stop incidents of black face from happening as often. Meanwhile, United States President Donald Trump has mentioned that even he is surprised by how many times the PM has been shown wearing black face. Trump is no stranger to allegations of racism, even before he was campaigning for President in 2016, having accused former President Barrack Obama of being a “Secret Muslim” and had requested that Obama show the world his birth certificate. During the campaign too, Trump had proposed anti-terror and border control plans that obviously did seem to stem from fear of ethnic minorities, with a proposed Muslim entry ban to the United States that sounded like the evil plan of an off brand James Bond villain, and his border wall, which if I'm being realistic about, he probably got the idea
from watching “Game Of Thrones” on HBO.
Even someone who seems more racist than Trudeau is shocked by the racist scandals he has been involved in, and keep in mind, Donald
Trump was backed by the KKK in the 2016 election and tried to downplay the Charlottesville incident in 2017 with the comment “There were good people on both sides.” So maybe this is more serious than some people think.
Either way, Trudeau is trying to make amends without further hurting his campaign, and hasn't been specific on if the documented incidents were the only ones that he had been a part of, or if there were more. Until after the election, we likely won't get an answer
unless more surfaces on its own.
Until then, Canadians will have to decide themselves who they want to run this country. Elections take place next month, so for now Trudeau and Scheer must both try to get their incidents under control.