“Prime Minister, was 2001 the last time you appeared in either blackface or brownface?”
The question was screaming for an answer.
During Thursday’s Q&A with national reporters, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau repeatedly sidestepped the question about whether there were more than the now three known incidents of him appearing in racist makeup.
Trudeau suggested he had remained silent even with the Liberal Party of Canada about these appearances because he was “embarrassed.” When did Trudeau first realize his blackface behaviour had been wrong? When he first became MP for the Quebec riding of Papineau in 2008? Did it take seven years for this to sink in?
And why hadn’t the prime minister levelled with Canadians after the first revelation this week that there were multiple such appearances? He claimed not to have remembered.
WATCH (Sept. 19, 2019): Trudeau asked how many times he’s worn blackface
Confused? Then let’s return to the question that Trudeau certainly must be able to answer, even if he refuses to confirm or deny three as the total number of his black- or brownface appearances: Mr. Trudeau, was 2001 the last time you appeared in either blackface or brownface in public?
Trudeau told reporters: “I’m not that person anymore.”
Let’s establish the timeline for your conversion.
Sidestepping was a feature in the prime minister’s media appearance.
Would Trudeau refuse to endorse the nomination for any would-be Liberal candidate had such a candidate replicated Trudeau’s blackface actions? No answer beyond something about incidents being assessed individually.
Global News chief political correspondent David Akin reminded Trudeau that he is not the only Liberal MP with leadership qualities and asked if the PM had considered stepping aside in favour of a different Liberal leading the party to Oct. 21. No, he had not.
Trudeau suggested repeatedly that his life of privilege was the cause of his personal and repeated gross insensitivity, adding: “I’m not that person anymore.”
WATCH (Sept. 20, 2019): Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation reacts to Justin Trudeau brownface photos
That makes it difficult not to reference Trudeau’s mean-spirited dismissal of Indigenous activists who had paid a $1,500-per-plate fee to attend a Liberal party fundraiser in March of this year.
“Prime Minister Trudeau, people in Grassy Narrows are suffering from mercury poisoning. You committed to addressing this crisis,” shouted one demonstrator after unfurling a banner displaying the same message.
“Thank you very much for your donation tonight. I really appreciate it,” was Trudeau’s response. Peals of laughter and cheers came from those in attendance and whose water glasses offered no chance of any contamination.
A contrite-appearing Trudeau apologized the next day.
In recent weeks, Justin Trudeau was found to be in violation of parliamentary ethics relating to his actions toward former federal attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould over the issue of prosecution of Quebec firm SNC-Lavalin.
Wilson-Raybould, who has expressed her desire to share her truth with Canadians, remains silenced by a parliamentary confidentiality law that Trudeau is empowered to lift, according to Donald Savoie, Canada Research Chair in public administration and governance at the Université de Moncton, who said so during an on-air interview last weekend.
The question screaming for an answer from Trudeau is this: was 2001 the last time you appeared in public in either blackface or brownface?
Roy Green is the host of the Roy Green Show on the Global News Radio network.