Time magazine was sent a school yearbook which contains a photo of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in “brownface.” Time reports the photo was taken in 2001 at a party held at the private 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…
TIME reached out to multiple people who attended West Point Grey’s spring gala in 2001, including three of the four women in the photo with Trudeau. Most were reluctant to talk about it. One former staff member declined to comment, citing loyalty to Trudeau. Others said they did not remember Trudeau at the party. Two people contacted by TIME acknowledged the existence of the picture, which has been the subject of gossip within the West Point Grey community.
Trudeau was not the only person in costume at the 2001 gala event. Of the individuals in six photographs from the event published in the yearbook, Trudeau appears to be the only one who darkened his skin.
Here’s the photo. It looks like he’s darkened his hands as well as his face.
Exclusive: Justin Trudeau wore brownface at 2001 ‘Arabian Nights’ party while he taught at a private school, Canada's Liberal Party admits https://t.co/j3UobfYNIF
— TIME (@TIME) September 18, 2019
As Time points out, Trudeau has built his brand on being supportive of minorities and women. This photo is just one more case where the brand is at odds with reality. Granted this took place more than a decade ago, but it still happened in the 21st century. Trudeau was a 29-year-old, working adult at the time not a college student.
Trudeau took a major hit earlier this year from a political scandal in which he sought to improperly influence his own Attorney General to benefit a major engineering company that was facing prosecution. The SNC-Lavalin scandal has resulted in a drop in polling for the Liberal Party and damage to Trudeau’s image. Last month an ethics probe concluded that Trudeau had abused his authority.
All of that meant that Trudeau was already struggling headed into next months’ election. The most recent polls show a dead heat nationally, though the regional breakdown of support means the Liberal party has a better-than-even chance of winning more seats.
As of the Sept. 17 update, the CBC’s Canada Poll Tracker gives the Conservatives the slimmest of leads in the national polling average, with 34.4 per cent support to 34.1 per cent for the Liberals. Compared to where the numbers stood one week ago, that is an increase of just 0.6 points for the Conservatives and 0.3 points for the Liberals — in other words, no movement of any real significance.
But the competitive national race still masks a regional distribution of support that works to the Liberals’ advantage.
The Poll Tracker estimates that the Liberals would have about a 67 per cent chance of winning the most seats if an election were held today, thanks to leads in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada that are likely to deliver Justin Trudeau more seats than the Conservative dominance in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba gives Andrew Scheer.
That was the state of the race earlier today. Now the photo will become another political hurdle for Trudeau. As we’ve seen not long ago in Virginia, being caught in blackface isn’t a career-ender for a progressive politician so long as he is willing to commit himself to advancing woke politics for life. Much will likely depend on what Trudeau says this evening to smooth this over. Perhaps he’ll shed a tear…