Justin Trudeau admits to wearing both blackface and brownface. Is he toast?

There are several reports, the most prominent in Time magazine, that Justin Trudeau wore brownface as a school teacher, which he admits and for which he’s apologized (there are photos).

Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, wore brownface makeup to a party at the private school where he was teaching in the spring of 2001. TIME has obtained a photograph of the incident.

The photograph has not been previously reported. The picture was taken at an “Arabian Nights”-themed gala. It shows Trudeau, then the 29-year-old son of the late former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, wearing a turban and robes with his face, neck and hands completely darkened. The photograph appears in the 2000-2001 yearbook of West Point Grey Academy, a private day school where Trudeau was a teacher.

. . . On Wednesday, Zita Astravas, the media relations lead of the Liberal Party of Canada, which Trudeau is the leader of, confirmed that the prime minister was in the photo. “It was a photo taken while he was teaching in Vancouver, at the school’s annual dinner which had a costume theme of ‘Arabian Nights.’ He attended with friends and colleagues dressed as a character from Aladdin,” said Astravas. Trudeau is planning on addressing the photograph to the media later this evening, according to the Astravas. The prime minister’s official director of communications did not return multiple calls.

The photos:

This photo, posted by CanadaAndShow.com, is regarded as “arguably worse” because the Prime Minister is flanked by two men dressed as Sikhs. Canadian Sikhs have objected, as have many others:

It gets worse: Time also reports that Trudeau admits to wearing blackface in high school:

In a new revelation, Trudeau also admitted that he wore blackface “makeup” in high school to sing “Day-O,” a Jamaican folk song famously performed by African-American singer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte.

“When I was in high school I dressed up at a talent show and sang ‘Day O.’ With makeup on,” he said.

The publication of the photo embroiled his campaign in scandal, with Canadian reporters asking why he had not been forthcoming about the image if he knew it existed.

Trudeau is about to be in a close election, with his Liberal Party tied in the polls with the Conservative Party. Given that this was so long ago, and because Trudeau has since shown great sensitivity to Canadian minorities and women by producing the most diverse Ministry ever, I consider him “reformed” of whatever racism was behind his costumes. I therefore can’t be arsed to damn the man or call for him to resign.

It is ironic, though, that during his tenure as PM he’s acted uber-woke, even wearing Indian clothes on a visit to India and making Indian hand gestures. (For that he was called out for cultural appropriation.)

But others may feel differently, and I respect those feelings though I don’t agree with them. Do you think he should resign, or do you think that, if he doesn’t, he will be defeated because of his acts? Weigh in below, especially if you’re a Canadian.

191 Comments

  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Sigh….

  2. LFP2016
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Seriously, is anybody actually offended by this, or are they only pretending to be offended to score political points? I suspect the latter.

    I hope Trudeau resigns only because of his rank hypocrisy on environmental issues — claiming to be a liberal god but doing the oil business’ bidding at every turn (eg, pipelines).

    • Jeff J
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      And the Liberals’ complete about-face on election reform. What a betrayal…

    • Steve Cameron
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Yes, people are actually and legitimately offended by this. For example, people who wore turbans while going to high schools like the one where Trudeau taught and who were mercilessly teased and bullied by the majority white students because of it.

      Trudeau’s main opponent, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, is probably only pretending to be offended in order to score political points but, given his record, the best he can reasonably hope for it that people will move away from the Liberals toward parties more to the left (the NDP or Greens) and split the left vote to allow Conservative candidates to win.

      NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, who is Sikh and wears a turban and is the first major party leader in Canada who is a visible minority, has made a couple of frank and honest statements condemning and contextualizing this. Singh, who was seen as a lightweight going into this election, has been really impressive since the writ has dropped, and this scandal and the way he’s responded to it is going to boost his credentials even more. He was already the only major party leader to forcefully condemn the Quebec government’s recent “burka ban” law, so he isn’t coming off like an opportunist (as opposed to Scheer).

      I have traditionally been an NDP supporter, but was considering voting Green this election (mostly for reasons of local politics), but Singh is really making me reconsider.

    • ploubere
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      Well, do you expect the conservative party to do any better?

    • Mark R.
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      It seems the fossil fuel behemoth has bought off politicians and political parties in Canada as well as the US. Man, what the hell is wrong with us humans.

      • Michael Waterhouse
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

        Humans are slippery.

  3. Charles Sawicki
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Unless it was clear that acted to mock these groups, I don’t see this as a real problem. The intent seems to have been to play “dress up”.

    • Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      But that is often the intent, and it doesn’t seem to matter.

      • Richard Sanderson🤴
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink

        Well, remember PZ Myers’ rule:

        “intent isn’t magic”

        Except the rule doesn’t apply to himself, or anybody he views as an woke “ally”.

        Strange that, but not too strange coming from someone who “divorced” himself from skepticism, or was it reality? I can’t remember!

        • grasshopper
          Posted September 19, 2019 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

          PZ’s alter ego – Thor Wokenshield?

      • ploubere
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

        You’re right, it doesn’t seem to matter but it should, shouldn’t it? If I as a white man dress up as Lincoln, nobody would care. But if I go as Nelson Mandela, is it suddenly racist?

        • Posted September 19, 2019 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

          Actually, it seems less racist to go as Nelson Mandela than to go in generic blackface. Think about that for a while.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      Agreed

      It is also worth noting: Trudeau didn’t go far in an acting career, perhaps for good reason… to the extent that representative government is not acting… which it sort of is…. sooooo….

  4. michaelkaz
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    I don’t like Trudeau, but I don’t think he should resign or face any direct consequences from this, aside from embarrassment. Is this weird, awkward, and foolish? Probably. But did he actually harm anyone, and was he mean-spirited? I don’t think so.

    It’s tempting to jump at the opportunity to call for consequences though, because he more or less represents those who would do just that. But acting in a matter of principle, it’s prudent to not do so, for the sake of all of us. I’m not saying people shouldn’t be accountable for their actions – I just think these particular actions don’t really merit harsh consequences.

    • Dominic
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      “face consequences” – quite!

  5. Sian Evans
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    I agree with Jerry’s assessment.

  6. Historian
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    I believe in redemption based on subsequent actions. Trudeau’s actions, although foolish, is hardly on a level as if a German politician were revealed as a former concentration camp guard. Virginia governor Ralph Northam refused to accede to the howls for his resignation when pictures of him wearing blackface surfaced. I think Trudeau should do the same.

  7. Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    The past is the past and what he is now far outweighs anything he did then. I agree with you, Jerry.

  8. cicely berglund
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Much the same opinion here. What’s to get all righteous about-seriously! What’s the phrase-the sincerest form of flattery is emulation. Aladdin has never been a put down personage. A rich tale not belittled, not mocked.
    I admit however, as a Scot, I sometimes get a bit hot about some mocking portrayals of men in skirts, and phony accents etc etc but it much depends upon the context and perceived intention. …. … a school play?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      I wrote a sketch about a Scottish superhero last year, a kind of bare-chested, kilt-wearing version of Thor, but I never did anything with it precisely because I thought its stereotypes might be just a touch too broad for some people. So I junked it.

      It was pretty dumb I admit, but there is something funny about stereotypes if the humour’s done properly and if you acknowledge that it’s stupid and kind of…lean into the stupidity.

      (Not that Trudeau did any of that here.)

  9. DrBrydon
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    All depends on how he handles it. Don’t forget Governor Northam. Against him is the nearness of Canadian elections, leaving not a lot of time for outrage to refocus on other miscreants. He went awfully heavy on the “brown face” though; he looks more like Zwarte Piet.

    • nay
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Yes, that is rather dark – but might be caused by the age of the photo, which might actually be from film, and/or the lighting making him look darker (his un-made-up companions seem to lack the pastiness of whiteface common in flash photography).
      On racism, as a person of a certain age, I enjoyed Al Jolson and Bing Crosby/Bob Hope movies on TV. The better description of this is “cultural APPRECIATION”. As an AJA (American of JAPANESE Ancestry), I groaned at Sidney Tolliver’s makeup as Charlie Chan, but enjoyed enjoyed the movies; also, Peter Lorre as Mr. Moto. Sure, they could have found real Asian actors for these roles (Key Luke is Number 1 Son), but I recognize that this was a sign of the times and, to this day, juicy roles will be grabbed by whoever can grab them. I am not offended by whites wearing kimono or by Kim Kardashian naming her fashion Kim-ono – again, cultural Appreciation. I think all the Woke Blokes/Snowflakes should get over themselves. [End of Rant.]

      • DrBrydon
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        I must say that I generally cringe at blackface nowadays. There is an Al Jolson movie where he sings “A Quarter to Nine” without blackface, but for some reason the entire chorus is in blackface. As for Caucasians playing Asians, I am mystified by Holywood’s decision making: people will want to see movies about Asian characters, but don’t want to see Asians in the leads? Granted some of that casting was because of the star power of the lead, but it reached the absurd with John Wayne as Genghis Kahn.

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted September 19, 2019 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

          In order to consolate you, in the recent film “Dora and the lost city of gold” , based on the English-Hispanic educational toddler cartoon program “Dora the Explorer” (aka Dorah the Explorah) the Inca princess is played by Q’orianka Kilcher, a patently brilliant casting. The lead role by Isabela Moner is also spot on, in fact the casting is extremely good overall. If you have children aged between 5 and 12, that film is a must.
          Another film with excellent casting was “The name of the Rose”.

        • Posted September 19, 2019 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

          “There is an Al Jolson movie where he sings ‘A Quarter to Nine’ without blackface. . . .”

          The “Al Jolson movie” you’re thinking of is “Jolson Sings Again” (1949), the bio-pic sequel to “The Jolson Story” (1946), both starring Larry Parks with the songs dubbed in by Jolson himself. Parks, who earned an Oscar nomination for the role, made no other major movies as he was blacklisted (is that a racist term?) for communist sympathies during the McCarthy hearings.

          Parks’ performance successfully conveys why Jolson is considered one of the great performers of all time alongside Judy Garland, Michael Jackson, and Sammy Davis Jr. (whom I can’t abide but who was a consummate performer). “The Jolson Story” is one of my favorite music-related movies from that era (second only to “Yankee Doodle Dandy”), and Parks’ rendition of “Rosie” invariably makes me smile even out of context—so shoot me (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JI3W0j4F5aY. (The context is that Jolson has gotten his voice back after adolescence and is helping out a fellow performer who got drunk right before performance while at the same time using the opportunity to showcase the unique style that that would become his trademark—the style, not the blackface.)

          I can’t speak for Jolson’s personal use of blackface, of course, which may well have been offensive; but the use of blackface in the two Jolson movies is totally incidental. Either that or I’m totally racist and so can’t see in what sense it’s derogatory. I’m happy to go either way.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      ‘Zwarte Piet’? The venerable Dutch tradition to have Zwarte Piet wear blackface is hardly racist. He is the trusted factotum of Sinterklaas -punishing as well as rewarding-, and the latter often gives in to his opinion (nearly the way Bertie Wooster gives in to Jeeves).
      Of course he’s also black because he has to descend down the chimneys (which used to be coal-fired a century ago), which comes close to blackface anyway.
      I played ‘Zwarte Piet’ several times, yes using blackface. The last time I was joined in the role by an adorable black lady, who, despite being very dark skinned, still put on blackface.

  10. Dominic
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    A/ Never do anything that might cause offence, in which case look into the future & predict what cultural behaviours now may be decided to be bad in the future;
    B/ Do things when younger, then apologise when older & be forgiven or not;
    C/ Do things when younger then excuse then or refuse to apologise for being a young person & doing what young people do…

  11. Davide Spinello
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    In wokelandia blackface from 2001 in a costume party could be a much worse offense than corruption at the highest level of the government, with a private company dictating ad hoc regulations to avoid criminal charges.

    • Rita Prangle
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      Yep.

  12. G de Jong
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    The folly here is to be offended by things in the past.

    • Simo
      Posted September 20, 2019 at 5:52 am | Permalink

      I agree. I can see that it might have offended people back then, and how it might truly disappoint supporters now, but causing offense seems like a stretch.

  13. Roo
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Agree that as his intent was to emulate, not to mock (and he’s Canadian, where, so far as I know, blackface does not have quite the same history / implications as it does in the deep South,) and has clearly been an advocate for minorities all his life, that it’s more of an awkward faux pas than a malicious act. Northam, for example, allegedly appeared in blackface with people dressed in KKK hoods, which is a pretty different dynamic.

    • JerseyGirl
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      The people dressed in KKK hoods were black. That was the joke. BTW, have you seen the new one of Trudeau where he has a black face, an Afro wig, and is jumping around making faces?

  14. Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    I’m one Canadian more concerned about policies than such behaviours, widely accepted in the past. And even if we didn’t engage in such behaviours, Peter Sellers sure made enough people laugh to have quite a career.

    The election is close because of Canada’s multi-party system (2 or even 3 now parties that are non-Conservative). So distribution of votes can mean that a party wins majority of seats with a minority of votes. People who choose to not vote Liberal because of this are voting Conservative.

    The irony is that people offended enough by this might actually help to elect a government that would be really damaging to visible minorities, especially those who are disadvantaged.

  15. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    I think this is utterly daft. I don’t see why he should resign for some photos from almost twenty years ago. Intent matters – is there even the slightest evidence that he is racist beyond this photo? Because that’s the issue. Is it indicative of a heretofore-unknown level of racism on his part? And should that racism mean his resignation?

    It would be an extremely limp move on his part if he resigned for this. Not so much because I think he’s a shining star of perfection but more because the standards to which liberals are held(by their own side partly) w/r/t mis-steps like this are ludicrously, comically higher than the standards to which conservatives are held.

    • Al
      Posted September 20, 2019 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      Trudeua’s Party has standards? They are the epitome of authoritarian Left self-righteousness, talking up their wokeness and goody two-shoes transparency while being as obfuscatory and entitled as can be.

      Trudeau should resign, not for blackface, but for being a try-hard virtue signalling joke. Jordan Peterson was absolutely right about him AFAIAC. He has done nothing with his life and hangs on the coat-tails of his father.For him to assume that he is qualified to run a country betrays a lack of maturity and probably narcissism. He is the embodiment of an ideology and there is little to him beyond that. His gender-balanced cabinet, and current-year justification, was telling. His job is to appoint the most qualified cabinet possible regardless of gender, not to pander to woke culture.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted September 20, 2019 at 7:32 am | Permalink

        “Trudeau should resign, not for blackface, but for being a try-hard virtue signalling joke.”

        What, specifically, would constitute “try-hard virtue signalling” and in what way would such behaviour require his resignation?

        “His gender-balanced cabinet, and current-year justification, was telling.”

        No, what _is_ telling is that you find that telling.

        • Al
          Posted September 20, 2019 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

          Things like saying to a member of the public that “we like to say ‘peoplekind'” and making a fool of himself dressing up in ethnic garb in India and engaging in bad Indian dancing. He behaves more like a Diversity soundbite generator than a serious politician.

          What do you think the chances are that the most competent candidates for Trudeau’s cabinet just happened to coincide with his diversity preferences? So I would say the chances of him selecting a cabinet on something other than competence is pretty high, which is a failure of responsibility. It was his duty to select the best, even if they were all middle-age white men, Inuit, Chinese or sockeye salmon. He obviously values signalling his woke credentials over running the best administration possible.

  16. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    If it was the U.S. I would say he has no problem. In Canada??

  17. Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    I’m one Canadian more concerned about policies than such behaviours, widely accepted in the past. And even if we didn’t engage in such behaviours, Peter Sellers sure made enough people laugh to have quite a career.

    The election is close because of Canada’s multi-party system (2 or even 3 now parties that are non-Conservative). So distribution of votes can mean that a party can win majority of seats with minority of votes. People who choose to not vote Liberal because of this are voting Conservative.

    The irony is that people offended by this might actually help to elect a government that would be really damaging to visible minorities, especially those who are disadvantaged.

  18. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    FFS, not more of this shit. Is there *anyone* out there so fricking blameless that they’re beyond reproach by the self-appointed cultural purity police?

    cr

    • Posted September 19, 2019 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      A: No

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      Me obviously.

    • Mark R.
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      so there’s Saul Sorrell-Till, and perhaps Obama?

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted September 20, 2019 at 7:09 am | Permalink

        Greta Thunberg? Although it probably won’t be long before she’ll be snorting coke, shaving her head and twerking at the MTV awards.

  19. merilee
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Sub

  20. Jonathan Dore
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    As a teacher at a school holding an “Arabian Nights” gala, I would say this shows enormous commitment to being a team player. If there is an important point here, it’s that the school held an “Arabian Nights” gala, not that Trudeau participated in it. What should he had done? Stayed home? Worn his normal clothes as a protest? How many of his condemners would have done anything different themselves in 2001 (albeit probably with less panache)?

    • Jonathan Dore
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Apologies for the poor formulation of my first sentence, which made it sound as if *I* am a teacher. I am of course referring to Trudeau.

    • JerseyGirl
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      There are multiple photos of the event. Many people attended. Not one person besides Trudeau colored their skin.

      • Jonathan Dore
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:45 am | Permalink

        Is that the crucial point? It seems arbitrary, since even if he hadn’t, he would still be crucified for cultural appropriation merely for the costume.

        • JerseyGirl
          Posted September 20, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

          Nice try at deflection. But no — no one said a word about cultural appropriation. It was the blackface. And as a comedian said on TV last night — “he’s not dressed as Aladdin. He’s Aladdin in blackface”– because ANY face coloring at all was not required for him to look the part– and certainly not the jet black shoe polish he seems to have used all over his face, and all over his chest, and his hands as well. It was weird and creepy even outside of any element of racism. And no one else at the party did it. And then to have himself photographed with his arms draped over two Sikh men wearing turbans (“hey, look at all of us turban guys!”) was even stupider. I don’t actually think Trudeau is a racist. He is, however, and there ample documentation of this, dumb as a post.

          • Henry
            Posted September 21, 2019 at 4:11 am | Permalink

            Right, Trudeau’s unawareness of how this would be taken is surprising; politicians, after all, usually have some slight gift of reading social situations. Of course, one can truly desire to dress in black face in order to more accurately represent some character of color whom one likes (Aladdin is cool); such a desire in and of itself is not racist. Yet not foreseeing that, if you actually publicly dress up in blackface, you are going to be justifiably linked with racists—is nothing short of a great foolishness. Trudeau’s intent, in my opinion, was more toward representing Aladdin accurately than in mocking him. But perhaps I’m wrong.

            • chrism
              Posted September 21, 2019 at 5:47 am | Permalink

              I wouldn’t think for a moment JT meant to mock Aladdin and his ilk. I’d go so far as to suggest that the majority of wearers of blackface don’t do it to mock. Singers, dancers and musicians can’t be choosy about their gigs, but your average party-going oik? Plain ignorance rather than malicious intent. It’s getting much harder to plead ignorance these days, and so we become less forgiving.

              It’s important to keep this in proportion however. I think very nearly all who read WEIT would defend free speech. The right to offend with our spoken opinions. How about the right to offend with our clothing? It doesn’t make us think well of someone, nor make us more likely to vote for him, but if we are to be consistent we should defend his right to dress as he sees fit (and then let him take the consequences).

            • Jonathan Dore
              Posted September 25, 2019 at 1:39 am | Permalink

              “…politicians, after all, usually have some slight gift of reading social situations.”

              But in 2001, he wasn’t a politician. He was a schoolteacher. He wasn’t in public life in any sense, and social media didn’t yet exist.

          • Jonathan Dore
            Posted September 25, 2019 at 2:00 am | Permalink

            “Nice try at deflection. But no — no one said a word about cultural appropriation. It was the blackface.”

            Really? Well this guy was:https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/trudeau-blackface-historical-significance-1.5290761

            Imagine that the photos had surfaced but they showed Trudeau dressed in costume but without the blackface. Are you seriously contending there would have been no accusations of cultural appropriation? Because there certainly were when he went to India and dressed in Indian clothes.

            Dumb as a post? Maybe. But the moral posturing over these photos is a confected, faux outrage. It also shows the enormous dominance in social media of US frames of reference — in which blackface is *always* tied to minstrelsy — without any awareness that in other countries there are other traditions, both theatrical and folkloric, that have no connection to slavery and its aftermath.

  21. Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Isn’t this another new low of Ridiculous in a world full of real problems that need real attention and real solutions?

    If this were a Conservative politician, his or her political career would be over and forgiveness unobtainable. But because Justin is part of the Woke culture, of course he will be forgiven… as long as grovels loudly and often enough and pay ‘appropriate’ dues to the virtue police.

    • Historian
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      I disagree. It is the Woke culture that is most unforgiving. The Huffington Post is ripping into him. Conservative politicians, at least in the US, are more likely to be forgiven by their political soulmates.

      https://www.huffpost.com/entry/justin-trudeau-blackface-video-photo_n_5d83856de4b0849d4724d2af

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      That’s just nonsense. Conservative politicians get away with shit like this(and much more serious stuff) on a regular basis, partly because they know their supporters don’t care and partly because they themselves don’t care.

      A specifically pertinent example would be Andrew Scheer of the conservative Canadian opposition party, who is currently all over the media saying Trudeau is unfit for the job and must resign – he was recently made aware of racist and homophobic posts made by his party’s candidates. His response? They should apologise, but beyond that they can stay in the party and nothing will be done.

      • Davide Spinello
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:25 am | Permalink

        Not to mention the smear campaign mounted against Scheer for comments about gay marriage made one year before Obama and Clinton went on record against gay marriage, or the insinuations that the Conservative party will take your abortion rights away because Scheer would allow freedom of opinion from conservative MPs on this issue. The horror! Trudeau said in 2015 that he is against abortion as a catholic, but as a public servant he would not touch the law, which seems a very reasonable position not allowed to be held by conservatives.

        I don’t even want to start with the odious insinuations of white supremacy against conservatives.

        And talking about double standards: the current liberal government has pushed legislation written for a specific company to avoid criminal charges, and JT has kicked out of his party (actually, he has allowed his MPs to FREELY vote to kick out) two women for dissenting with him. And he is still there. So he should not resign for this because he has done much worse, but it doesn’t seem to matter.

        The liberal party of Canada has used in a vicious way every possible divisive card packaged within the intersectional cancer metastasized out of some well known field in academia, and of course we wouldn’t be having a discussion about Trudeu resigning from a sin committed in 2001 if himself didn’t weaponize race and all the other intersectional categories.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:44 am | Permalink

          None of that has anything at all to do with the allegations made against Scheer recently. I’m not Canadian but I recognise a rhetorical smokescreen when I see one.

          The idea that conservatives are uniquely picked on is one of the great feats of modern political legerdemain. It’s the same kind of nauseating, ostrich-headed self-pity that results in American Christians consistently identifying themselves as the most persecuted minority.

          • Rita Prangle
            Posted September 19, 2019 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

            +1

          • Davide Spinello
            Posted September 19, 2019 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

            The idea that conservatives are uniquely picked on is one of the great feats of modern political legerdemain. It’s the same kind of nauseating, ostrich-headed self-pity that results in American Christians consistently identifying themselves as the most persecuted minority.

            Be careful about rhetorical smokescreen, they may hide everywhere.

      • Posted September 22, 2019 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        You can call my point ‘nonsense’ but if you want a Canadian leader example for my point that a Conservative would be toast, I direct your attention to Patrick Brown, the Conservative leader of Ontario kicked out of caucus based on hearsay of inappropriateness just shy of an election. And – oh look – JT is still PM, still the Liberal leader, still busy groveling. Is my point still ‘nonsense’?

  22. Stephen
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    I do not think he should resign for that. I do not like him as a politician but I do not think he is a racist. I will not vote for him but I would rather see him elected than Andrew Scheer. We are stuck in a two party system. I vote New Democratic Party but because of our voting system, it’s always either the Liberal or Conservative party that gets elected. Trudeau had promised to change over to a proportional system, in order to make election results more representative but of course as soon as he was in power he did not keep his word.

  23. Richard Sanderson🤴
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    What took me by surprise is that this “brownface” was from 2001.

    Even in the mid-90s I knew that sort of thing was offensive, if not outright racist.

    Perhaps awareness of this was more apparent in the UK, than North America.

  24. john switzer
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Oh my. With Liberals and Conservatives poling equally,and a Conservative, Doug Ford, running the Province of Ontario and cutting health care, education and and social services and now this issue clouding the political race it looks like a Conservative Federal win is possible. I ask all voters to remember the Harper Conservatives cutting and muzzling scientists in the past. Don’t let Andrew Sheer do all the scary Conservative stuff he will do.

    • merilee
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      +1

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      Stop being so sane.

    • Mark R.
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      Reading this comment and others regarding Canadian Conservatives, I didn’t realize they were as ignorant and cruel as American Conservatives…sad to learn.

  25. phar84
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    It’s a good opportunity to let the condemners explain themselves.

    And while at it can pontificate on make-up artists and tanning salons.

  26. Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    He was in his twenties at the time. That matters.

    He wore a costume to a costume party and it was in keeping with the theme of that party.

    He he’s been the most inclusive PM imaginable. This is the real man.

    It remains to be seen if moderates will eat their own or use common sense. I can’t see this sending sensible voters to the Scheer camp, but who knows.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      If he does go then perhaps it’ll be a small step in the direction of liberals recognising how self-defeating the extreme political correctness/identity politics movement really is. That’s about the only positive I’d be able to glean from his prospective sacrifice. Otherwise, the idea that he should be brought down low for something like this, while his opponent, Scheer, has been engaged in apologetics on behalf of genuine racists in his own party, and afaict done nothing about them beyond say they should apologise, is depressing.

      • Benjamin
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

        I would rather the liberals learn not to holding people to account for views that they no longer hold without having to live through 4 years of conservative austerity and cuts…

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted September 19, 2019 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

          Definitely.

    • Posted September 19, 2019 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

      This should matter… but since he apparentlty has neither the brains to realize it nor the spine to insist on it, he has decided to admit his guilt. Which was stupid and unnecessary, but if it brings him down, well… apparently he was a spineless fool, so I won’t be sad for him.

  27. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    As I said when the scandal regarding the blackface yearbook photo of Virginia governor Ralph Northam surfaced, politicians usually get one shot to survive these things by apologizing sincerely and trying to set things right. (Northam has remained in office, despite fucking up his one shot, but only because his lieutenant governor and would-be successor, Justin Fairfax — who’s also still in office — immediately got embroiled in any even bigger sexual-assault scandal of his own.) Trudeau seems to be making the right moves so far.

    Plus, I’m guessing these things register a bit differently in Canada, which never underwent a “Jim Crow” era or the minstrelsy of that period that blackface mocks.

  28. Garry VanGelderen
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    A case of cultural appropriation? We are guilty of it in some form or other. If dress up as a clown for a costume party are we mocking clowns? I do not understand what all the hubbub is all about. White, brown or black skin are present in the human species. If I want to ‘appropriate’ one of those skin tones as part of a costume, what is the harm?
    I am not a big fan of Trudeau. Too many major broken promises from last election in 2015. But resign over this? Cannot see it.

  29. Mike
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    I’m with our host and jamesmclark on this one. I will hold my nose and vote for my local Liberal candidate (who is a ninny). First because my local Conservative candidate is a truly awful religious and social conservative. And second because the most likely alternative to a Liberal government is a Conservative Party government that would happily roll back policies that benefit most Canadians. Trudeau is not perfect (he gives great speeches when scripted, but listening to him speak extemporaneously is painful), but he is the best alternative to a truly bad Conservative government.

  30. Blue
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Perhaps useful. Perhaps not so much.
    = a Psychology Today piece in re that old saw,
    ” The Best Predictor of Future Behavior is
    Past Behavior. ”
    http://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/witness/201301/the-best-predictor-future-behavior-is-past-behavior

    An excerpt therefrom:

    ” Psychological scientists who study human
    behavior agree that past behavior is a
    useful marker for future behavior. But only
    under certain specific conditions:

    High-frequency, habitual behaviors are
    more predictive than infrequent behaviors.

    Predictions work best over short time intervals.

    The anticipated situation must be essentially
    the same as the past situation that activated
    the behavior.

    The behavior must not have been extinguished
    by corrective or negative feedback.

    The person must remain essentially unchanged.

    The person must be fairly consistent in
    his or her behaviors. ”

    Blue

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Isn’t changing one’s behavior also “past behavior”?

    • Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      But we have 4 years of completely sensitive and inclusive behaviour, including a very balanced cabinet. So what is the real behaviour in this case: a party costume or his record in governance?

  31. rickflick
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    I think he should immediately resign as PM and run again as a soul brother. 😎
    Seriously, I think this should and will all blow over. Otherwise, we’ll end up with nobody on the left left to govern.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Yes, he should resign. And then just disappear.

      And then in the run up to the election a mysterious new candidate called Justine Doubtfire appears, an elderly-nanny-turned-liberal-politician, who sweeps to victory and moves in with the grieving Trudeau family, who have spent the previous three weeks dredging nearby lakes in search of their patriarch’s body.

      • Rita Prangle
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        Justin Doubtfire! I love it. Thanks for the laugh!

      • Posted September 19, 2019 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

        Oh, this would be a terribly sad and ironic screen play, since Justin’s brother, Michel, died when an avalanche swept him down the mountain and into a lake. From wiki:
        “Trudeau died as the result of an avalanche on November 13, 1998, aged 23. At the time, he had been working for about a year at Red Mountain Resort and living in Rossland, British Columbia. He was taking a backcountry skiing trip with some friends in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park when he was swept into Kokanee Lake and unable to reach the shore. His companions were unable to effect a rescue, and Trudeau drowned. An extensive search was launched, but his body has never been found. The lake’s high altitude and limited days of open waters each year prevented divers from completing the search. The Trudeau family called off the recovery and later created a chalet nearby as a memorial to their youngest son.”

  32. MP
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    As a person of Indian origin, I don’t find any such gimmicks by person of any ethnicity, offensive. It’s a harmless fun and painting your skin doesn’t mean you are racist.

    However, I have never been a Trudeau fan, given his explicit support t Muslims and Khalistani Sikhs
    He has been playing the minority sympathy card, used by INC in India, which now has fully blown in its face and has made a majority of Indians, right wing sympathisers.

    Media, especially social media has been very sympathetic to Trudeau despite his numerous transgressions. Imagine Harper or Jason Kenny in such situation. Media would have eaten them alive. It is those double standards that I abhor. Being a conservative doesn’t automatically makes you bad, being a liberal doesn’t give you a free pass.

    I don’t think that Trudeau should resign, but I do hope that he is defeated in October elections. He is a big hypocrite and must go. Hope Liberals are able to find a better leader, hopefully Mark Carney

    • Dan Paslawski
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      +1

    • Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      If he is defeated, Scheer will be the PM. G*d help us.

      • Davide Spinello
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:26 am | Permalink

        Parody?

      • MP
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        Yes. As an Ontario resident, I am already burnt by Doug Ford. But it still doesn’t mean forgiving Trudeau again and again. He must pay a due for his transgressions

  33. rgsherr
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    As a Canadian it’s of no importance to me. Rather Trudeau than a right winger any day.

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely.

  34. Mark Reaume
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Elizabeth May’s (Leader of the Green Party) reaction was “problematic” in my mind:

    “I am deeply shocked by the racism shown in the photograph of Justin Trudeau. He must apologize for the harm done and commit to learning and appreciating the requirement to model social justice leadership at all levels of government. In this matter he has failed.”

    Ugh.

    • cicely berglund
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      Me too. Being thoroughly behind the Greens and taking Elizabeth May for a thoroughly down to earth and honest person-her comment came across as political pandering to a supposedly responsive electorate. I hope she has not harmed herself.

  35. Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    I am not Canadian. But frankly, I am sick of this “omg, this person did something that offends current sensibilities 15-20 years ago” stuff. And yeah, that is even when someone from “that other party” does it.

    • tomh
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Here’s a newsflash for you–blackface offended sensibilities 15-20 years ago, also. We’re not talking about the mid-20th century here.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted September 20, 2019 at 5:44 am | Permalink

        Yes, I knew enough to know it wasn’t cool when I was a kid in the nineties. It’s never been okay as long as I’ve been alive.

      • Posted September 20, 2019 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

        Enjoy your outrage.

        • tomh
          Posted September 20, 2019 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

          Thanks. Enjoy your patronizing privilege.

  36. Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    I think what many Canadians are feeling right now is not outrage but schadenfreude.

  37. Armando
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Oooops…. This seems to just have gotten worse as a third instance of “dark makeup” wearing by Trudeau just got uncovered. I agree that he did the right thing by not wasting anytime, apologizing and openly admitting to a second instance of this sort of thing. But not having disclosed upfront this third one will just leave people wondering how sorry he really is and what else is there to uncover. Not pretty…
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-election-2019-where-the-leaders-are-day-9-1.5289326

  38. Jon Gallant
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Since Justin has been wearing wokeface as leader of the Liberals, this entire episode has a distinctly comic side. Anyone who has watched old Western films will be aware of the Hollywood redface phenomenon, in which a regular stable of white actors played native American Indians. Remember such classic redface actors as Henry Brandon, Anthony Caruso, and, yes, Charles Bronson (whose birth name was Karolis Dionyzas Bučinskis)?

    • merilee
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Not to forget Mel Brooks😂

  39. Posted September 19, 2019 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    What’s a matter with these politicians? I was young once but I never wanted to put on blackface or any other color. Admittedly, I was never invited to an Arabian Nights party either.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      Never invited to an Arabian Nights party? Man, you haven’t lived!

      • Posted September 19, 2019 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        Probably true. 😦

      • Mark R.
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        It is a strange theme for a party. Can they serve alcohol?

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted September 19, 2019 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

          Are you kidding?

          https://www.spectator.co.uk/2018/03/who-knew-that-arabic-has-more-than-30-words-for-wine/

          Abu Nuwas is probably the most revered classical Arabic poet. You could say that he worshipped wine, and he does feature in the Arabian Nights.

          Translation of a stanza of Abu Nuwas’s paeans to wine (from the book reviewed in the spectator article):

          “Why would I go on Hajj as long as
          I’m plunged in a wine-house or a pimp’s pad?
          And even if you save me from those
          How could I escape Tiyzanabad?”

          It’s all about wine and young boys to pour the wine (and perform other services as needed) who are as comely as the gilman who pour the wine in Paradise.

          I’ve had Egyptian beer – Stella — (not Stella Artois) and thought it was very good. I assume it’s still being produced.

    • Posted September 19, 2019 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

      Well, at least a toga party then?

      • Posted September 20, 2019 at 10:02 am | Permalink

        No, not that I recall. I guess I’ve led a sheltered life.

        • Posted September 20, 2019 at 10:19 am | Permalink

          Okay, but surely a South of the Border party then. Sombreros, mariachi music, tequila, girls with off the shoulder Mexican dresses? You wouldn’t forget that.

  40. Raymond Cox
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    It is ridiculous to apply 2019 “woke” standards retrospectively. Fancy dress parties were just harmless fun with no sinister message.

    • tomh
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      And wearing blackface while singing ‘The Banana Boat Song’ on stage? Is that harmless fun too?

      • Dave
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        In my opinion, yes, it is just harmless fun.

        I have some personal expertise on this issue, having myself blacked-up on several occasions for fancy dress parties back in the late 1990s/early 2000s. I haven’t done it since then because I’m older and I’ve grown out of boozy parties, but I don’t feel guilty or embarrassed about it in any way. No-one batted an eyelid at the time. There are plenty of photos, but only of the hard-copy variety languishing in old albums on bookshelves, so it’s unlikely to come back to haunt me, and I’d feel no obligation to apologize to the professionally offended if it did.

  41. Max Blancke
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    He does not dress up out of racism. If anything, he fetishizes other cultures.

    Plus, calling everyone a racist is not a tactic that was intended to hurt progressives. I am sure efforts will be made to minimize the unintended collateral damage caused by this.

    On the other hand, people should be held to the standards they try to hold others to. If you set the precedent of carefully searching everyone’s distant past for images or words that can be used against them by holding them to today’s standards, you should not be surprised when the tactic is used against you.

  42. Kenneth Webb
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    This old picture and conduct may not weigh very large in relation to other matters, but it does give me pause on the character front. Why did he and he alone choose to darken his face at this event and then to adopt a cartoonish pose with his hands resting on the upper chest of the young woman he was standing behind? He seemed to be acting out with relish a trope of the creepy sinister sexually depraved eastern villain. He is virtually licking his lips as if about to ravish his next luscious white female. Of course it is all a silly pose, but that he thought it funny and appropriate at the age of 29 is a puzzler.

  43. Curtis
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    There is a big difference between “Blackface” and having black on your face.

    From Wikipedia: “Blackface is a form of theatrical make-up used predominantly by non-black performers to represent a CARICATURE of a black person.” It was racist and anyone who did this (e.g. Northam) should be condemn.

    Other people have a black face for totally benign reasons (school colors, celebrating an author, coal mining, costume party, etc.) To confuse the two is absurd and helps no one except the right wingers who get to poke fun of the SJWs.

    When I was young man, I had a scraggly beard and long hair. I was teased that I looked like a werewolf. For Halloween, I painted my face to look like a wolf and wore fangs and a dog snout. I was an f***ing wolf and there was nothing racist about it in any way but I would be toast if SJW found a picture of me.

    • ladyatheist
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Why would a wolf face be considered offensive?

      • Curtis
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        Because my face was painted brown which as every SJW knows is racist.

        • merilee
          Posted September 19, 2019 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

          So I guess a gray wolf would’ve been OK? Or would that have been ageist.

          • Nicolaas Stempels
            Posted September 19, 2019 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

            The Grey Wolves of Alparslan Türkeş? Not ageist, but definitely fascist. Slightly overtaken by Mr Erdogan though.

          • Curtis
            Posted September 19, 2019 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

            I have grey hair now so perhaps I could be a werewolf again.

            • merilee
              Posted September 19, 2019 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

              Go for it🤓😂

  44. BJ
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Here’s how I think it will go down in the media:

    (1) For two to four days, the many sufficiently “woke” outlets will write stories condemning this because they have no choice, given the image they’ve presented of themselves to the public;

    (2) the “woke” outlets will mix in a smattering of editorials from “POC” talking about how Trudeau’s actions were reprehensible, but they were a long time ago and we need to be forgiving of him and he is an ally and beating the Conservatives and keeping the movement together is more important;

    (3) by Monday, this will have all gone away because these outlets don’t really want this to hurt Trudeau.

  45. ladyatheist
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    This isn’t “blackface.” It’s dark make-up. I can’t speak to whether it should amount to a high crime or misdemeanor in Canada, but it bothers me that the distinction has been lost.

    Thankfully, actual blackface is far, far in the past. Actual “blackface” was meant to mock and exaggerate African features in minstrel shows that depicted African-Americans as lazy, stupid, and incompetent. The make-up itself was offensive (so exaggerated that actual African-Americans needed make-up to pull of the look), but the scenarios portrayed were the real problem. These shows traveled all over the U.S. spreading a horrible view of African-Americans.

    I think it diminishes the experiences of past generations to conflate dark makeup with blackface.

    In the photos it seems that Trudeau’s colleagues didn’t feel the need to use make-up, so he does seem to have been out of step at the time. I’m not sure he would have understood how people would have been offended, though. Being a product of your upbringing shouldn’t be a life sentence if you’ve worked on growing past it.

    • Curtis
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Don’t cloud the issues with facts. Anything dark on a white person’s face is racist. Gardeners need to make sure that they clean their faces regularly.

  46. Posted September 19, 2019 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    It was an Arabian Nights theme party, so I can understand (in a face-palming way) Justin getting carried away by youthful stupidity and exuberance. I’m only a little disappointed, as he’s simply not of the same intellectual stature as his father. We all knew that. Nonetheless, I’m going with the lesser of two weevils. Sadly, the US caricature for a prez has granted permission for certain types of unsavoury beasties to raise their ugly heads, both in Canada and in the US. So I cringe at the thought of a Conservative government once again assuming full rein of power.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      His absurd good looks seem to do a lot of the heavy-lifting for him. He’s got that JFK charm thing going on, which will make it hard for his opponent regardless of ancillary issues.

      Reminds me of this:

      • Posted September 19, 2019 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

        I’ve never been swayed by his good looks. Just couldn’t stand Harper and his harpies.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted September 20, 2019 at 5:49 am | Permalink

          But he so pretty! I look at his face and I don’t hear his words, I just start involuntarily doodling Saul Sorrell Trudeau on any nearby surface. And I’m a hetersoexual male.

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted September 20, 2019 at 6:03 am | Permalink

            *Heterosexual

            This is going to seem like overcompensation now

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted September 20, 2019 at 6:19 am | Permalink

            I actually find it comforting that Trudeau gets negative attention for his looks because females deal with this all the time. Lots of attack adds rum on him being unqualified but having “nice hair” so basically you’re a bimbo if you’re attractive. I consider Trudeau an honorary woman.

            • Saul Sorrell-Till
              Posted September 20, 2019 at 7:01 am | Permalink

              I think he’d be very pleased with that. I’m wary of opining about a subject I know so little about but I like him, and I like the fact that his ‘sensitivity’ gets up the noses of macho douchebags.

            • Posted September 20, 2019 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

              Spot on!

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted September 20, 2019 at 6:14 am | Permalink

          Me too!

          • merilee
            Posted September 20, 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink

            Me,three. Harper’s “harpies”. LOL

  47. Robert Grossman
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    I don’t get the offense. Actors (professional or otherwise) often wear makeup and costume. Why should this even be an issue? When actors of different genders, races, ethnicities, ages, or cultures play a role they dress up, make up and adopt speech patterns or accents for the role. Who cares?

    Sometimes the role played is sympathetic to the members of the portrayed group and sometimes it is not. Again, who cares? If you don’t enjoy the performance, change channels.

    I agree with those commenting that the outrage seems a little forced.

  48. Posted September 19, 2019 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    I’m not a Liberal partisan- though I would vote for them if it were necessary to stop the Conservatives.

    I also think to some degree the past does matter and also that intent does not to some degree (if only because determining it is hard).

    In this case I find it very hard to seriously concerned that Trudeau is anything other than a fool, however. That said, the timing on this really sucks, especially with the discussion of “deep fakes” heating up. Since T. says these are genuine, ok, but suppose something apparently more egregious does, and that turns out to be a fake but nobody knows? (Except for Trudeau or whoever himself, but is not believed.) Now the way is prepared for acrimony and divisiveness. And then what?

    The Conservatives – who are the only party I can see other than the Liberals actually forming a government – are *horrible*. So …

  49. Posted September 19, 2019 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Canadian, brown, Indian and middle eastern person here.

    Not offended. What does offend me is people being offended on my behalf just so they stroke their wokeness ego.

    • Paul Matthews
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      Thank you from a fellow Canadian. Views of people who could be directly offended (as opposed to those who get offended on behalf of perceived victims) are particularly interesting and pertinent.

      It seems that the NDP leader, Jagmeet Singh, was offended. Or was he just trying to score political points?

    • Posted September 19, 2019 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the insight! I’ve noticed that in our United Nations-type household, when it comes to this sort of thing, the most easily offended individual is white and of the younger generation.

    • Simo
      Posted September 20, 2019 at 6:26 am | Permalink

      As a non-“Caucasian” (ugh) person, I can see why sometimes white people are offended, even if I personally would not have been offended if the party depicted my region of the world. I would definitely have felt a little uncomfortable though- there is a lot of racial fetishism going on involving skin color and “exotic” traditions. To some extent, many people are fascinated by some other culture and ethnic traits; I learned pretty quickly to spot the ones who become obsessed with it and keep my distance.
      If I were a non-woke white person I would be put off by white people repeating the same arguments about innocent fun, lack of malicious intent etc etc and not stoping for a second to acknowledge that, yes, there are power imbalances in the world and it does matter who is doing the talking to defend these behaviors.

  50. Anthony
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    At least he isn’t mocking Orangutans and wearing orange-face every day on the job.

    And another gloat from the north … our campaign is 40 days long.

    “Sorry.”

  51. Rita Prangle
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    I remember going to a Halloween party some years ago where one of the guys dressed up as a nun. Was that bad?

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      Well I’m a ‘none’ if that counts. So…yeah, let’s say I’m offended by the homophonic appropriation of my identity.

  52. dabertini
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if Trudeau apologizes so much to make up for the lack of apologies coming from Trump. It is laughable. That is all he seems to do.

  53. EdwardM
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Another example of why the woke are unfit to lead.

  54. Posted September 19, 2019 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think that Trudeau should resign owing to the photos (there’s no evidence that he meant to demean anyone, and yes, intent, while not being “magic”, is indeed the most important thing).

    But I do think he should resign owing to the obsequious, SJW-speak apologies he has uttered!

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted September 20, 2019 at 5:52 am | Permalink

      So he shouldn’t resign for repeated blackface, but he should resign for …apologising? Never mind that if that was a criteria for getting rid of a politician Donald Trump would have a job for life, that’s pretty crazy.

  55. john switzer
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    A third example of Trudeau in blackface has been found and given to a news organization here by……wait for it
    The Conservative Party.

    • EdwardM
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      And why wouldn’t they hang an opponent on his own petard? It’s politics, after all. I can smell the stink of politics, the lowest form of human endeavor, from here and I live 1000s of miles away.

  56. Posted September 19, 2019 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Groveling to the woke, Trudeau now says he was blinded by his “white privilege.”

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/09/19/justin-trudeau-facing-backlash-brownface-photo/

    He also says he doesn’t know if there are more blackface instances out there to come.

    He could be seriously damaged by this if his voters stay home or defect to other left-wing parties.

  57. Martin Levin
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    1. Let’s admit that blackface is retrograde.

    2. Trudeau’s offenses occurred 18 years ago.

    3. People change, ideas evolve, some with the times, some independently.

    4. Aside from his dither-waffle on pipelines, Trudeau and his government have been, in large, responsible stewards of Canadian democracy in an age in which so many countries (and individuals) are moving away from it.

    5. The focus on this “scandal” has dominated the news to the detriment of discussion of the real issues we face, most immediately and awfully, climate change and environmental degradation. Our CBC, perhaps envious of the constant scandals and distractions of Trumpland, focus on this as if it were a national existential crisis. The constant virtue-signalling, much of it by white commentators, is sickening. I can no longer watch our national news broadcasts, which now consist largely of either “gotcha” moments re political figures, and a kind of emotional porn that milks human tragedy. I’m especially disgusted because I was a journalist for 40 years, and lament many of the changes in my trade.

    6. Last, does anyone find the timing of these revelations curious — and fortuitous for the opposition parties with just a few weeks to go before a federal election?

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      Ugh. I hide during election time WRT media. I can’t imagine dealing with long election cycles like the US as it’s bad enough consuming US media as a Canadian.

  58. FA
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    I’m sick of this shit too. However, the only solution I see is to hold the people who created this monster to their own standards. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

  59. Diana MacPherson
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Yet we’ve all forgotten how Andrew Sheer spoke at the same event as Faith Goldy? https://www.macleans.ca/politics/andrew-scheer-has-a-problem/

    Give me a break. I think Trudeau handled this well. And as I’ve said before, he’s done a decent job dealing with an unhinged US president that could stomp our economy. I really hope liberals don’t act stupid and split their vote. With the environment as it is we don’t need another PC government (PC as in conservatives not politically correct). I often vote NDP but I may vote Liberal this time. I think Jagmeet Singh is good as a person but some of his numbers don’t add up when it comes to the cost of providing universal dental. I really wish the left would unite at least NDP & Greens.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted September 20, 2019 at 6:01 am | Permalink

      “Yet we’ve all forgotten how Andrew Sheer spoke at the same event as Faith Goldy?”

      I didn’t even know about it I swear!

      Faith Goldy sounds rather like the UK’s Katie Hopkins. I don’t know what it is the far-right likes so much about vicious blonde women who hate Muslims.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted September 20, 2019 at 6:22 am | Permalink

        Apparently FG had a tryst with Richard Spencer in Charlottesville & his girlfriend attacked her on Twitter for it. Even Nazis have their relationship problems.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted September 20, 2019 at 6:58 am | Permalink

          I hear Hitler was terrible at doing the washing up, and Eva constantly had to scrub everything a second time. And he never shut the door when he went to the bathroom.

    • Posted September 23, 2019 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      I get the impression, though, that the point of the attackers seems to have been to paint Trudeau (and all Liberals) as a *hypocrite*, NOT as a racist.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted September 23, 2019 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

        I don’t know what their motives exactly are other than to divide the left so the PCs won the election. My point is there are real racists that we should talk about. My broader point is there are bigger issues.

  60. James Walker
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    I’m no fan of Trudeau’s but it’s not because of his face-painting. If it weren’t for his family name and his pretty face he wouldn’t be PM. He’s caved in too much to the oil industry and his campaign promise to introduce proportional representation quietly disappeared once he was elected. I’d rather see Elizabeth May or Jagmeet Singh as PM, but I know that’s not going to happen. If it’s a choice between Trudeau and another round of the Conservatives (which we had 10 years of), I’ll hold my nose and vote Liberal.

  61. Paul Matthews
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    Canadian here. My wife was born in Venezuela. To my surprise, she hadn’t heard about this story. When I told her about it she got almost angry. “Wow, this country must really not have any problems if it’s wasting so much time and energy on such insignificant nonsense. A first-world problem if ever there was one.”

    In Venezuela people’s physical characteristics are often the basis for nicknames and apparently no one gets offended. So there are people nicknamed Flaco (thin), Gordo (fat), Pelon (bald) and yes Negro (black). A good friend of my wife’s is black. Her father, coincidentally also black, was nicknamed Negro. He and a good buddy of his, who was light-skinned, once went to the US together. They were in a bar talking, with the buddy often using the Negro nickname, when an incensed American stranger came over and just about had to be physically restrained from having a go at the light-skinned buddy for disrepecting and using derogatory language towards the black man. The two friends were utterly bewildered and wondered what strange culture they’d wandered into.

  62. Chris Kingsley
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    I’m no supporter of any particular party or leader in this election. I voted Liberal in the last one. Mr. Trudeau is indeed toast because of this – not because of the racial overtones necessarily, as some in many minority communities have said that they’re not offended by these photos and many have accepted his apology. No, he’s toast because he has now shown Canadians his background of a cavalier misunderstanding of social norms and sensitivities that ostensibly reflects a wealthy, insulated, privileged upbringing; and from now on his sincerity in many areas will always be questioned. I think he will ride out this election, but his doom is now sealed.

  63. Dionigi
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    The future is only going to get worse. When the aliens land and they turn out to have blue and green skin we are all going to have to grovel for all the films and cosplay that we have done.

  64. Jenny Haniver
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    Those dudes that Trudeau has his arms around in the Arabian Nights picture don’t look at all Arabian to me. They’re wearing turbans I associate with Hindus or Sikhs. They aren’t Arab turbans, and frankly, their facial features appear to mark them as coming from the Indian subcontinent, so they ought to be chastised as well for impersonating Arabs.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      Those aren’t Persian turbans, either.

    • Jonathan Dore
      Posted September 20, 2019 at 3:04 am | Permalink

      Remember the time and the context: the visual reference everyone would have been using at the time was Disney’s “Aladdin” movie (see https://tinyurl.com/y2rlehwk). I suspect Trudeau was modelling his look on Jafar.

  65. Jonathan Dore
    Posted September 20, 2019 at 3:00 am | Permalink

    It’s worth remembering that at the time, Trudeau was not in public life (before social media, that was a real distinction) and had no intention of becoming a politician. When your life direction changes, you can’t undo a list of random things from your past that are unhelpful to the new career.

  66. chrism
    Posted September 20, 2019 at 5:01 am | Permalink

    This inspired me to see if there were episodes of The Black and White MInstrel Show on YouTube. Lots and lots of them, and all just as wretched as they were when I was a kid and there were just two TV channels. I found it boring rather than offensive, but presumably others liked it as it stayed on the air till 1978. Shall we now ‘cancel’ the BBC?

    Trudeau won’t resign over this. Nor should he, or anyone else. We simply cannot judge the past by today’s standards. I’m tired of statues being pulled down because they represented people who lived by the lights of their times. I shall, however, enjoy the irony of watching him squirm as the woke culture he has helped create turns on him.

    On the other hand, I wish he would go. I voted for him like most people, sensing Harper had to go. But what a disappointment with his politically-correct posturing trying to cover up the sleazy ambition that has always characterised our Liberals. ‘Because it’s 2015’ thrown out of the window as soon as two principled female cabinet ministers stood up to him as he tried to pervert the course of justice. He still refuses to let the RCMP investigate, being above the law. He groped a woman against her will in the past, and now has three blackface strikes against him. Are we seeing a privileged young man assume Canada is another part of his inheritance from his dodgy father? Then we can get into the pipeline and his failure to do anything other than to mouth platitudes over green policy. Canadian jobs count only if they are in Quebec, and the blighters in the oilpatch can go hang. And his government has harassed (with criminal charges since dropped)a distinguished admiral for doing his job, and appears to be steering us to an unnecessary purchase of F-35 they promised not to buy. Just as he promised electoral reform and decided against it when he did his sums and realised he might not have much of a majority.

    I do believe a voter’s job is to vote out an overripe government, rather than to vote in the one they think they want. I’d normally give a government two terms before giving up on them, but the current LIberals have proved themselves unfit rather more quickly than most.

  67. Diana MacPherson
    Posted September 20, 2019 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    And this is Andrew Sheer, leader of the PC party: https://pressprogress.ca/conservative-leader-andrew-scheer-refuses-to-apologize-for-comparing-same-sex-marriage-to-a-dog/

  68. John Brett
    Posted September 20, 2019 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    I don’t understand this, perhaps I have not dug deeply enough, and frankly I’m tired of it and its like. Now, before I too am misunderstood I do realise there are instances where blacking up (this act is of itself, in my opinion, harmless enough) and then saying/doing offensive things need to be stopped.
    The theme of the event was Arabian Nights which would seem to require at least a few non white faces. Attendees could of course all have gone as white which would most likely have provoked the ire of those who saw this as an insult to Arabian culture.

    Let’s save our strength for the really offensive stuff.

  69. Posted September 20, 2019 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Canadian here. We all did things differently 15, 20 and 30 years ago than we would do today. Political correctness and sensitivity to others has grown exponentially. Does that mean we should use today’s standards to judge what we did historically? Look at how far we’ve come as a society. Women, mentally/physically challenged people, and people of many races were treated horribly. Should we dredge up the past or work towards making the present and future better? I remember not so long ago when it was acceptable to dress for Halloween as an Indigenous female wearing a fringed suede dress and feathers with tan makeup – but no one would do that today. Shame on Time Magazine for publishing this in the first place. Shame on the Conservative party for adding fuel to the fire. This is a tactic to avoid talking about the real issues of today.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 20, 2019 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      Sheer said that his own MPs should be forgiven for their racist/homophobic comments if they apologize so he the PCs have no reason to bother with this if their leader is going to be ethically consistent.

      • Posted September 20, 2019 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

        It sounds like he isn’t going to use the same slide-rule and he’s trying to make hay out of it. Pfft.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted September 20, 2019 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

          I hope he gets called out. It’s really quite rich.

      • Posted September 21, 2019 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        Exactly. Plus Sheer has not yet apologized for his own comments about same sex marriage.

      • Ullrich Fischer
        Posted September 21, 2019 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

        Scheer is Canada’s wannabe Trump. Ethical consistency, and indeed ethics in general are foreign concepts to him just as they are to Trump. CONservatives know that the voting public has a short memory and they have vast budgets to swamp the political discourse of the country with their lies — more than enough to drive any memory of CONservatives’ prior crimes and misdemeanors from the public’s awareness. Sadly, Trudeau is Canada’s Hillary with some of he same deficiencies in knowing how to deal with Tea Party bullshit.

  70. Diana MacPherson
    Posted September 20, 2019 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    The Beaverton (a satire like the Onion) pretty much sums up my feelings in the matter: https://www.thebeaverton.com/2019/09/starving-canadians-from-2050-wished-the-2019-election-was-about-the-climate-crisis/

    • Ullrich Fischer
      Posted September 21, 2019 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      Right on. The effect of the idiocies of the Cult of the Woke in focusing on these trivial violations of their dogma’s rules is to distract from the real issues, neglect of which threaten the futures of all our children and grandchildren.

  71. tomh
    Posted September 21, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    An interesting piece on the situation in the Washington Post.
    Justin Trudeau’s blackface incidents are part of a long history of racism in Canada

    By Andray Domise
    Andray Domise is a Toronto-based writer and contributing editor to Maclean’s magazine.

    […]

    Canada — just like Trudeau — has an exceedingly good public relations machine that obscures its racist past and whitewashes its current injustices under gleaming platitudes. But as the country discovered this week, there’s only so much that any PR machine can handle; its red line definitely stops short of multiple documented instances of blackface.

    […]

    To Canadians of color, this discovery hardly comes as a shock. You see, blackface is another well-documented Canadian tradition we don’t speak much about and rarely contextualize. Every instance of blackface — from boorish hockey fans to boorish hockey players to boorish francophone comedians — is atomized into a series of isolated examples that are not connected to the broader history of blackface in the country.

    […]
    Much more at the link.

    • Ullrich Fischer
      Posted September 21, 2019 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      Bullshit. Trudeau’s antics have exactly nothing to do with Canada’s indisputable and disgraceful history of racism. To compare a game of dress-up with real racism is to trivialize the suffering of people who through no fault of their own are discriminated against in employment, assaulted, framed for crimes, or driven off their land while their children are imprisoned in Christian re-education gulags. Trudeau has been better than most politicians in apologizing (if not in actually doing something substantive to compensate victims) for past Canadian racist atrocities.

      • tomh
        Posted September 21, 2019 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

        But it wasn’t a just a single “game of dress-up.” It was repeated instances of blackface posturing, on stage and elsewhere. Why shouldn’t that be seen in the context of the history of such actions?

  72. Ullrich Fischer
    Posted September 21, 2019 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Given Trudeau’s penchant for going along with every twist and contradictory turn of the Cult of the Woke’s dogma, this is kind of chickens coming home to roost. The idiotic COW dogmas around cultural appropriation, and the inherent racism of making oneself (only if one is white) look like a member of another race needs to be resisted. We need to insist that racist intent matters (contrary to the howls of the COW). The height of this idiocy comes with the push to censor Mark Twain’s stories because they use the dreaded n-word in contexts which clearly are so far from racist that they are, in fact, clearly anti-racist.

    How is it that making oneself look like a member of an oppressed group is bad if the oppressed group has darker skin color than the perp, while a biological man making himself look like a woman is celebrated, and it is somehow a hate crime to refer to that individual with male pronouns? That is just one of many internal contradictions in the dogma of the COW.

    Sadly, there is a good chance that this will hurt Trudeau more than all the election promises he ignored in his term so far… things which actually hurt the environment, Canada’s standing in the world, and Canada’s democracy. His refusal to implement proportional representation may, in the end, be what gets his nemesis, Andrew Scheer, elected as Canada’s next prime minister. We’ve already seen what a disaster that will be from the horrendous mess the Harper years of CONservative policies have left us with.

  73. Nicolas
    Posted September 24, 2019 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    i find it sad that this benign masquerade thing turns out so ridiculously awkward such as we’ve seen this political leader publicly apologizing for tanning his face artificially once or twice while he was a grown-up dude going to neat costume parties.

    Beyond the obvious political betting here, It’s become like we can’t anymore have fun to switch roles, identities, moving them around, experiencing being somebody else just for one day, being looked at differently, hijacking our looks and feelings and having fun!! And also getting it out far away from what we experience in our casual schemes of relationships.

    Sad too for the spirit of Carnival here, but we might see some rebuttal to this joke soon: watch this story laid out by huge caricatural figures troddling along loud processions on a few european cities’ boulevards, in the upcoming carnival seasons, give it a break!


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  1. […] things we are supposed to be outraged about: the Canadian PM played dress-up and wore dark pancake make up. I admit that it would be a bone headed thing to do now, but really…when it comes to issues, […]

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