He’s the first visible minority to lead a national party in Canadian history, so it’s not surprising many have looked to NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh for a response to bombshell photos of Justin Trudeau in brownface makeup.
The photo, showing the Liberal party leader at a gala event in 2001 while teaching at West Point Grey Academy in Vancouver, broke less than a day ago in a Time magazine exclusive – and all parties were quick to respond, including Singh.
As Trudeau apologized for his actions when he was 29, admitting to one other instance of using makeup to darken his skin tone while in high school, Singh turned his attention to Canadians – particularly young people – who have been faced with the brunt of racism.
“Tonight is not about the Prime Minister,” Singh tweeted. “It’s about every young person mocked for the colour of their skin. The child who had their turban ripped off their head. And those reliving intense feelings of pain & hurt from past experiences of racism. To you, I say you are loved.”
Tonight is not about the Prime Minister.
It's about every young person mocked for the colour of their skin.
The child who had their turban ripped off their head.
And those reliving intense feelings of pain & hurt from past experiences of racism.
To you, I say you are loved.
— Jagmeet Singh (@theJagmeetSingh) September 19, 2019
Singh told reporters Wednesday that Trudeau’s actions made a mockery of people, and that some people would now be reliving the pain of past racist experiences through the surfacing of the photos.
Meanwhile, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer took aim at Trudeau’s politics, saying that what Canadians are seeing is a man who lacks judgment and integrity.
“Please don’t let this make you give up on yourself or give up on Canada. Because we live in a beautiful place.”—NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, responding with remarks addressed to young people & victims of racism, as 2001 photo surfaces of Justin Trudeau in brownface #cdnpoli #elxn43 pic.twitter.com/qlTpKG8z14
— CPAC (@CPAC_TV) September 19, 2019
Moving forward, Trudeau’s foes are now tasked with how they’ll respond further to the incident, which political analysts are already expecting to be a focal point of the forthcoming weeks along the campaign trail.
While in Hamilton, Ont., Thursday morning, Singh told reporters that it’s not for him to offer forgiveness but rather that “it’s for Canadians to forgive him if they choose to or not.”