Amarjeet Sohi ‘very disheartened’ by images of Trudeau in racist makeup

WATCH: In an interview with Global News, Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi said he was "very disheartened and disappointed" to see images of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau in racist makeup but that those images don't reflect the Trudeau he's known for four years.

Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi said Thursday he was “very disheartened and disappointed” to see the images of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau in brownface and blackface.

Sohi said he “felt pain” when he saw the images but that they don’t reflect the Trudeau he’s known for the last four years.

He is currently running to be re-elected as MP in Edmonton Mill Woods.

READ MORE: Trudeau apologizes after 2001 brownface photo published by Time magazine

“These indefensible images bring back many painful memories of racism that I and other racialized Canadians have experienced throughout our lives,” said Sohi, who was born in the Indian state of Punjab and emigrated to Edmonton in 1981.

Tweet This
“[Trudeau] has sincerely apologized and expressed his regret,” Sohi said in a statement. “The Justin Trudeau that I have come to know over the last four years is a champion of diversity and inclusion, and a strong ally of racialized communities.

READ MORE: Blackface a symptom of ‘deeply embedded’ racism: experts

Story continues below advertisement

“From defending the rights of the LGBTQ community, to speaking up against Islamophobia, to increasing funding for anti-racism work, he has demonstrated this through his actions.

“I have spoken with [him] to convey my feelings and reiterated that we must redouble our efforts to end racism in this country.

“I have spent my life fighting racism — in my city and my country — and I will continue to do so because there is more work left to do.”

Tweet This

Sohi said he spoke with Trudeau on Thursday morning and the Liberal leader expressed his regret.

Watch below: Images of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau in blackface and brownface have sent shockwaves through local campaigns, including in Edmonton. Tom Vernon sat down with Amarjeet Sohi for his take on the scandal.

Liberal Amarjeet Sohi reacts to images of Trudeau in racist makeup
Liberal Amarjeet Sohi reacts to images of Trudeau in racist makeup

Before being elected Member of Parliament for Edmonton Mill Woods, Sohi served as an Edmonton city councillor.

Watch below (Sept. 19): Three instances of Liberal leader Justin Trudeau wearing racist makeup have come to light. Irfan Chaudhry, director of the Office of Human Rights, Diversity and Equity at MacEwan University, helps unpack the issues stemming from the controversy. 

MacEwan University diversity expert offers insight on Trudeau racist makeup
MacEwan University diversity expert offers insight on Trudeau racist makeup

A 2001 photo of Trudeau in brownface was released Wednesday, as his campaign for re-election entered its second week.

Story continues below advertisement

The black-and-white photo, which was featured in a yearbook for West Point Grey Academy, the school Trudeau taught at, was published by Time magazine. Shortly after Time magazine released the image, Trudeau issued a public apology while aboard his campaign plane.

READ MORE: Trudeau apologized for his brownface controversy. Here’s exactly what he said

“I attended an end-of-year gala and the theme was Arabian Nights. I dressed up in an Aladdin costume and put makeup on. I shouldn’t have done that. I should have known better. But I didn’t. And I’m really sorry,” he said.

I deeply regret that we — that I did that,” Trudeau added. “I should have known better. But I didn’t.”

Tweet This

Watch below (Sept. 18): Justin Trudeau apologizes after a 2001 photo of him in brownface is released

A second instance, which the Liberal leader admitted to while apologizing for the first, is a photo of him at a high school talent show, “with makeup on,” performing the song Day-O.

In the third instance of racist makeup, Trudeau is seen in blackface in a video from the early 1990s obtained by Global News. It’s not clear where it takes place.

READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: Video shows Trudeau in blackface in 3rd instance of racist makeup

Story continues below advertisement

The video, obtained exclusively by Global News, shows Trudeau covered in what appears to be dark makeup and raising his hands in the air while laughing, sticking his tongue out and making faces. He’s wearing a white T-shirt and his jeans are ripped at the knees. It appears as though his arms and legs are covered in makeup as well.

It does not appear the video was shot at the same time and place as the other photos of Trudeau in racist makeup.

WATCH: Jagmeet Singh delivers emotional reaction to Trudeau brownface photo

When asked Wednesday night if he had made any calls to colleagues who might be offended by the images, Trudeau replied that he had “made a number of calls to friends and colleagues… and I will have many more colleagues, many more calls to make.”

— With files from Global’s Mercedes Stephenson and James Armstrong