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

Struggling to afford rent, Sylvia Bailey is hoping to trade her love of cooking for some more affordable accommodation. (Photo courtesy of Sylvia Bailey)
Retired Victoria woman looking to cook, clean or garden in exchange for rent

Sylvia Bailey is hoping to use her love for cooking to help afford rent

Victoria police are searching for a suspect after a stabbing Monday night. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police searching for suspect in late-night stabbing

Victim taken to hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries

Panthers’ Captain Tanner Wort faces Tory McClintick of the Victoria Cougars during Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League action Friday night at Panorama Recreation Centre. The Panthers lost 3-0, then lost 7-2 Sunday. (Gordon Lee/Submitted)
Peninsula Panthers’ losing streak reaches four games as injuries mount

Injuries have especially hurt the team’s backline with only four defenders available

The drive-through COVID-19 testing facility at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital. (Black Press Media file photo)
Island Health opens COVID-19 testing site at UVic

As with all other sites, an appointment is needed to receive a test

Thousands filled Centennial Square in June for the peace rally for Black lives, sparked by outrage over the death of George Floyd in the U.S. (Black Press Media file photo)
Survey seeks input on racism in Greater Victoria

Confidential answers to inform work with immigrants and marginalized people

Carolyn and Steve Touhey came across a pod of humpback whales while on their boat Sunday, Oct. 25. Photo supplied
VIDEO: Boaters encounter pod of humpbacks in Georgia Strait

Pod spotted between Comox and Texada Island

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

The Williams Lake Indian Band is stipulating no-go zones for mushroom picking in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires. 100 Mile Free Press photo
Who controls mushroom harvesting on Indigenous lands?

‘We don’t necessarily know where the mushrooms grow, how old the stands need to be, those types of things.’

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada/USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
U.S. election results one factor that could impact immigration to Canada next year

The survey polled 1,523 Canadians between Oct. 23 and Oct. 25

The voting station mimicked a real voting station in Nicole Choi’s classroom at Chilliwack middle school on Oct. 22, 2020, where students had to show their ID (student cards), be checked off a list, and mark a secret ballot behind a screen. (Jessica Peters/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. students choose NDP majority in mock election

More than 90,000 youth took part in school-based election process

Crew transport bus at the Trans Mountain pipeline project work site in Burnaby, March 2020. (Trans Mountain)
Check your workplace COVID-19 safety plans, Dr. Henry urges

Masks in public spaces, distance in lunchrooms for winter

B.C.’s Court of Appeal is in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Judgment reserved in Surrey Six slayings appeals

Six men were killed in suite 1505 of the Balmoral Tower in Whalley on Oct. 19, 2007

Kelowna City Hall has been vandalized overnight. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna City Hall hit by anti-pandemic vandalism

Graffiti condemning the virus appears overnight on City Hall

FILE – A woman smokes a marijuana joint at a “Wake and Bake” legalized marijuana event in Toronto on October 17, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov
Home nurse visits could play big role in reducing cannabis use, smoking in young mothers

The program, dubbed the BC Healthy Connections Project, involves public health nursing home visits

Most Read