Trudeau seeks meeting with Singh to apologize for blackface, brownface photos

‘I will be apologizing to him personally as a racialized Canadian,’ Trudeau said Friday

Justin Trudeau pushed aside global mockery of his decisions years ago to dress in blackface, arguing Friday he’s focused on apologizing to Canadians — including his rival, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.

Trudeau has reached out to Singh to talk since the release of three different images showing the Liberal leader in black- or brownface that Singh condemned as personally hurtful.

“I will be apologizing to him personally as a racialized Canadian,” Trudeau said Friday at an event in Toronto where he unveiled his party’s long-awaited gun control strategy.

“As I have been apologizing to Canadians who have suffered discrimination and intolerance their entire lives in ways some of us like me have never had to experience on a daily basis.”

Singh said he is open to talking to the Liberal leader, as long it remains a private conversation, declining to disclose what he’d say to Trudeau.

READ MORE: How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

Where he wants to keep the focus, Singh said, is on all of the Canadians who’ve been hurt by what Trudeau did.

“I’ve spoken with young people who tell me that if the prime minister can mock their reality, can mock their struggles, then what’s to stop other people from saying ‘if the prime minister can make fun of people for what they’re going through, why can’t I?’,” Singh said at an event in Windsor, Ont.

The world’s press has wasted no time pouncing on three separate instances in the 1990s and 2000s where Trudeau acknowledged he committed the racist act of painting his face and hands black or brown for various costume events.

There were headlines around the globe, Trudeau was the butt of late-night comic jokes in the U.S. Thursday night and even U.S. President Donald Trump weighed in Friday morning.

“I was hoping I wouldn’t be asked that question. … Justin. I’m surprised and I was more surprised when I saw the number of times and I’ve always had a good relationship with Justin. I just don’t know what to tell you. I was surprised by it, actually,” he said.

Trudeau sought to change the channel Friday by announcing his party’s marquee policy on gun control, which includes a pledge to ban assault rifles. He also promised to allow municipalities the right to ban hand guns, a policy also advocated by the NDP.

Singh was shopping his policy on expanding pharmacare and dental care on the campaign trail Friday.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was also campaigning on the health care theme, pledging $1.5 billion to buy new medical imaging equipment for facilities across the country. He said buying MRI and CT machines to replace aging ones will reduce wait times.

Scheer’s party was behind the release of video documenting a third time Trudeau wore blackface, this one shot in the early 1990s. His campaign received the clip and turned it over to Global TV. Trudeau said Friday that video was from a costume day for river guides at the white-water rafting company he worked for in the early 1990s.

Scheer said Friday he’s not aware of the existence of any more photos or videos. Trudeau has said he won’t say definitively there aren’t, as he doesn’t necessarily remember everything.

While Trudeau talked of a gun ban, Green Leader Elizabeth May promised a ban of her own — on the kinds of cars the vast majority of people drive. A ban on internal combustion engine passenger vehicles by 2030 is part of her party’s broader transportation strategy unveiled Friday which seeks to get to zero-carbon transportation in Canada.

People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier is trying to hold onto his own seat in Quebec and is spending today campaigning there, though he has a swing to Western Canada next week.

Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Back in Time

Historical Perspective

Clearwater food bank receives donation from tree planting group

Dynamic Reforestation out of Williams Lake donated $1,400 in light of International Hunger Day

No active confirmed COVID-19 cases in Interior Health: BCCDC

Numbers from the BCCDC’s dashboard show 193 of the 195 COVID-19 cases in the region have recovered

Cariboo ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

Rod and gun club president speaks up on gun ban

Chase said such a sweeping ban isn’t the right way to address the issue in a democratic country

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

Ontario Long Term Care Association calling for more action

Horgan calls for national anti-racism program; will pitch idea to PM, premiers

Premier John Horgan said he’s horrified by the death of George Floyd in the United States

Most Read