- Sean Kilpatrick/Pool via REUTERS
- Canada’s Conservative party leader Andrew Scheer slammed prime minister Justin Trudeau for wearing blackface in the early 1990s into the 2000s.
- The blackface controversy erupted last month, following reports that Trudeau donned racist makeup on multiple occasions.
- “He can’t even remember how many times he put blackface on, because the fact of the matter is he’s always wearing a mask,” Scheer said.
- Canada’s six party leaders were on stage for critical debates on Monday night ahead of Canada’s October 21 elections.
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s conservative challenger slammed him Monday night for a scandal where Trudeau donned racist makeup on at least three occasions from the early 1990s into the 2000s.
The photo, which was brought to the public’s attention last month, shows a 29-year-old Trudeau in brownface and wearing a turban during an “Arabian Nights”- themed party at the private school he taught at in 2001. The image was first reported by Time. Global News Canada later uncovered another photo and video of the prime minister in blackface.
Andrew Scheer, Trudeau’s top challenger, immediately brought up Trudeau’s blackface controversy and, throughout the two-hour debate, took every opportunity to attack his opponent.
“Mr. Trudeau, you’re a phony and you’re a fraud and you do not deserve to govern this country,” Scheer said.
Trudeau has also said he wore blackface during a high school performance, adding that he wasn’t sure how many times in total he has darkened his face.
“He can’t even remember how many times he put blackface on, because the fact of the matter is he’s always wearing a mask,” Scheer said in the debate.
The discovery of the blackface photos sparked global outrage but, according to the Associated Press, hasn’t caused a drop in the polls for the prime minister.
Monday’s debate featured six party leaders on stage at the National History Museum in Gatineau, Quebec. It’s the only debate held in English, which is the language spoken by two-thirds of Canada’s population of 38 million people, according to Reuters. The debate is critical for securing votes – especially as Trudeau’s Liberal Party and Scheer’s Conservatives are neck-and-neck in the national polls.
In addition to the blackface scandal, Scheer also criticized Trudeau for the watchdog ruling released in August that found the prime minister’s government violated Canada’s ethics laws by pressuring a former justice minister to inappropriately help a construction company avoid a corruption trial.
Trudeau spent time on stage accusing Scheer of hiding his campaign platform, which has yet to be released, and giving tax breaks to the rich.
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- The 2001 party where Justin Trudeau wore brownface was a lavish event with corporate sponsors and belly dancers