Justin Trudeau's election nightmare: Canadian PM failing to shake off blackface outrage

His visit to Toronto, dubbed Canada’s most diverse city, was overshadowed by the furore that saw a third image of him in racist make-up emerge in just 48 hours. His speech on gun control failed to divert attention from the scandal with attendees instead asking him yet again to explain why he was dressed in a costume with blackface on multiple occasions, sparking growing controversy. He told the crowd that the this image that resurfaced yesterday was from “a costume day for river guides on the whitewater rafting operation that I worked at in the summer between 1992 and 1994 roughly”.

The Canadian then asked again for forgiveness, in particular from those forced to contend with racial discrimination and “who in many cases considered me to be an ally”.

The first image showed Trudeau in 2001 as a 29-year-old teacher.

His face and hands are blackened by make-up and he wears an Aladdin costume at an Arabian Nights-themed party at Vancouver’s West Point Grey Academy.

After Time magazine published the image, Trudeau said: “I dressed up in an Aladdin costume and put make-up on. I take responsibility for my decision to do that.

“I shouldn’t have done it. I should have known better. It was something that I didn’t think was racist at the time but now I recognise it was something racist to do and I am deeply sorry.”

Trudeau told how he was “more enthusiastic about costumes than is sometimes appropriate”.

The picture was supplied by Vancouver businessman Michael Adamson, who first saw the photograph two months ago and felt it should be made public.

A second photograph surfaced showing the Canadian leader dressed as Harry Belafonte to sing Banana Boat Song (Day-O), a Jamaican dock workers tune.

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He asked for forgiveness and pledged to keep fighting racism and discrimination.

But Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said the images showed “someone with a complete lack of judgment and integrity and someone who is not fit to govern this country”.

Jagmeet Singh, leader of the New Democratic Party, said the image was “troubling” and “insulting”.

Mr Singh, a Sikh, added: “Any time we hear examples of brown face or black face, it’s making a mockery of someone for what they live and what their lived experiences are.

“Who is the real Mr Trudeau? Is it the one behind closed doors, the one when the cameras are turned off that no one sees? Is that the real Mr Trudeau? More and more, it seems like it is.”

US President Donald Trump today hit out at the images.

The US President said: “I was hoping I wouldn’t be asked that question.

“I was surprised. And I was more surprised when I saw the number of times.”

He added: “I just don’t know what to tell you. I was surprised by it actually.”

source: express.co.uk