OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized on Wednesday for wearing brown face make-up in 2001 after an embarrassing picture emerged less than five weeks out from a tightly contested general election.
FILE PHOTO: Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigns for the upcoming election in Fredericton, New Brunswick, September 18, 2019. REUTERS/John Morris
Following are reactions from his political rivals and other commentators in the Oct. 21 national election:
CONSERVATIVE LEADER ANDREW SCHEER:
“I was extremely shocked and disappointed when I learned of Justin Trudeau’s actions this evening. Wearing brown face is an act of open mockery and racism. What Canadians saw this evening is someone with a complete lack of judgment and integrity and someone who’s not fit to govern this country.”
GREEN PARTY LEADER ELIZABETH MAY:
“I am deeply shocked by the racism shown in the photograph of Justin Trudeau. He must apologize for the harm done and commit to learning and appreciating the requirement to model social justice leadership at all levels of government. In this matter he has failed.”
PEOPLE’S PARTY LEADER MAXIME BERNIER
“I’m not going to accuse Justin Trudeau of being a racist.
But he’s the master of identity politics and the Libs just spent months accusing everyone of being white supremacists. He is definitely is the biggest hypocrite in the country.”
NEW DEMOCRAT LEADER JAGMEET SINGH, WHO IS SIKH WHO WEARS A TURBAN:
“I face a lot of racism in my life and I’ve got to be honest with you, I fought back with my fists. But there were a lot of people who weren’t able to do that. One of my friends told me how he was not able to do that.
“And seeing this image today, the kids that see this image, the people who see this image, are going to think about all the times in their life that they were made fun of, that they were hurt, that they were hit, that they were insulted, that they were made to feel less because of who they are.
“I want to talk to those people right now. I want to talk to all the kids out there, all the folks that live this and now are grown up and are still feeling the pain of racism.
“I want you to know that you might feel like giving up on Canada. You might feel like giving up on yourselves. I want you to know that you have value, you have worth, you are loved. And I don’t want you to give up on Canada and please don’t give up on yourselves.”
DARRELL BRICKER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF POLLING FIRM IPSOS PUBLIC AFFAIRS:
“It will take a couple of days before we know if there is any lasting damage to the Liberals’ re-election prospects.
“What we do know is that the Prime Minister’s image has been critical to the Liberals’ political success. This picture runs completely contrary to the image of tolerance the Prime Minister has so scrupulously cultivated. It can’t be good for him or his Party.”
Reporting by Steve Scherer and David Ljunggren. Editing by Lincoln Feast.