Local federal candidates are weighing in on Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau posing in racist makeup years ago.
On Wednesday, Time Magazine published a story featuring a photo of Trudeau in brownface and a turban, taken at a gala at a private school he taught at 18 years ago. Trudeau then admitted to also wearing blackface makeup at a high school talent show and, on Thursday morning, the Liberals confirmed another instance of Trudeau in blackface.
For his part, Trudeau admitted it was him in the pictures.
“What I did hurt them. Hurt people who shouldn’t have to face intolerance and discrimination because of their identity. This is something that I deeply, deeply regret,” Trudeau said.
“Darkening your face, regardless of the context of the circumstances, is always unacceptable because of the racist history of blackface. I should have understood that then, and I never should have done it.”
The Conservative Party candidate for Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke expressed shock and disappointment, characterizing the wearing of brown-face as an act of mockery and racism.
“He has a history of bad judgment and lack of integrity and is not fit to govern the country,” said Randall Pewarchek.
Green Party candidate David Merner was more measured in his assessment.
“It does look like a foolish mistake. His apology sounded sincere, but I have mixed feelings.”
Merner said it was unfortunate that it’s the black-face scandal that has garnered all the attention, taking the focus away from issues like the SNC-Lavelin controversy.
“I guess that this is just easier to understand,” he said.
Liberal candidate Jamie Hammond admitted that he was disappointed but he’d heard Trudeau’s apology and accepted it as sincere.
“He asked for forgiveness and I accept that I also know that we (the Liberal government) have taken real action against racism and the prime minister’s leadership on these issues is unquestionable.”
NDP candidate Randall Garrison said he has no idea how this scandal will affect the election.
“This is really about how people have experienced the pain of racism and how we all have to work to overcome that racism. It’s about inclusion and fighting discrimination,” Garrison said.