The PM’s apologies have not necessarily assuaged Canadians courtesy Reuters/Twitter

Blackface costumes and earlier scandal say a lot about Trudeau

Timing of the pictures’ discovery coincides with the Canadian election in October.

When I saw the news breaking that pictures of Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, in black-/brownface were released to the public, I could only think in anguished groans and rather brutal comments about the man and his lack of character. For the uninformed, the world’s most attractive world leader has found his past actions coming to haunt him in three pictures of him in black-/brownface. Once when he was a university teacher at an “Arabian Nights” themed gala and twice when he was in his late teens and early twenties. His actions were utterly braindead and racist, but something does not feel right about the situation.

Before becoming prime minister, Trudeau had to speak in front of several panels of Liberal Party officials about his personal life and any events in his past that could erupt into scandal, but it is not so difficult to understand why he did not inform them then and there. Politicians are inherently ambitious, and so as long as no one has hard evidence of what happened, then poor actions would never be able to harm. However, we know that there was evidence of his horrible attempts to make jokes, although the release of that picture was done in a shady way. The man that held onto this picture, who I will not name because he does not want any more press, gave it to a friend who works at The New York Times as a writer. That’s strange.

Another odd piece of the puzzle is the controversy that broke in spring earlier this year. Focusing on a Canadian construction company, Trudeau was accused of pressuring a member of his cabinet to offer what was essentially a free pass to this company to bypass certain legal codes. He was eventually found guilty of political manipulation by the Canadian Ethics Commissioner, but because the Conflict of Interest Act had no legal punishment for his breach, he has, for now, gotten away with intimidating government officials.

I sit here wondering if his political personality is a facade, that the real Justin Trudeau holds a far harsher, more brutal view of the world. In a modern age of politics focusing on the cult of personality, I can easily see why he would hide these awful actions. His boyish charm and honest, affable persona help him in the elections, and it would be remiss to not talk about the Canadian election cycle. Conveniently, that election cycle began just before the initial picture was published, and this scandal will definitely affect his voter turnouts, especially since minority voters are key to the Liberal Party’s continued majority in the Canadian Parliament.

I am not saying this is a character assassination, but I am saying this seems like a very manipulated situation meant to generate controversy during the heart of the Canadian election season. Calling out the head of a government with proof equals easy money for any writer worth their salt. I personally disagree with the man on his politics, but I cannot comfortably call him a hardline racist because of these strange circumstances. Is he as cleancut as his persona makes him out to be? No, but I doubt he believes in white supremacy — he raised immigration limits so that more people from racial minorities and refugees could enter Canada, and that does not sound like the action of a racehater.

Does he grant too much leniency towards certain commercial groups? Yeah, but a prime minister must keep jobs in Canada for his people. Could he spend more of his time focused on not-Quebec? Certainly, although Quebec acts as a major economic and political center, so watching over it is necessary. Is he wishy-washy on his campaign promises? Yep, but so is every other politician ever. Should he intimidate members of his government? No. However, intimidation as a political tool was used from ancient times to now, which does not excuse it, but does explain it.

Wearing black-/brownface will always be seen as an attack on race, and his responsibility for conducting these vile, disgusting actions cannot be ignored, but I stand firm in my belief that a politician should be elected for his or her political policies over actions in his or her personal life. Justin Trudeau might be a hateful bigot, but he is not exactly on the corrupt or irresponsible politician power rankings. Any instance of political manipulation in the media always sends so many mixed signals that it is difficult to keep track of who I dislike and who I root for, but Trudeau’s not the worst. Which, in my book, is pretty good.

Post Author: Adam Walsh