Monday, 14 October 2019

Canadian PM Trudeau to apologise to rival Jagmeet Singh for wearing brownface

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

TORONTO: The move comes as the 47-year-old politician is dealing with severe criticism following the publication of photos of him dressed as Aladdin at a gala in 2001 by TIME magazine. Canadian media outlets are writing that this could cost him re-election.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seeking a meeting with his rival, Jagmeet Singh, leader of the New Democratic Party, to apologise for photos depicting him wearing brownface makeup. Mr Singh is the son of Indian immigrants and he said these photos are hurtful to many Canadians.

“I will be apologising to him personally as I have been apologising to Canadians who have suffered discrimination and intolerance their entire lives in ways some of us like me have never had to experience on a daily basis” , Trudeau said.

Jagmeet Singh said he is open to speaking with Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party, but stressed that he wants the meeting to be private and that he doesn’t intend to disclose what he would say to the prime minister.

Since the report in TIME magazine came out, Trudeau has also admitted that he had worn blackface at a talent show in high school singing a Jamaican folk song. The media then found a third instance of him wearing blackface makeup.

I shouldn’t have done that. I should have known better and I didn’t. I’m really sorry. I didn’t consider it racist at the time, but now we know better”, he said speaking to reporters.

The development comes at a crucial time for the PM and his Liberal Party as he faces election. Trudeau has repeatedly spoken in favour of diversity and acceptance. Last July, he condemned Donald Trump for “wrong and unacceptable” comments about leftist Democrat politicians saying: “That is not how we do things in Canada”.

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