Photo emerges of Trudeau in brownface

A West Point Grey Academy yearbook photo showing Justin Trudeau in 2001 wearing brownface makeup. (Photo courtesy of Time Magazine)

The federal Liberal Party Leader has now apologized after a photo emerged of him wearing brownface makeup during his time as a private school teacher.

Time Magazine published the photo on Wednesday and reported that the photo had been taken in 2001 at an Arabian Nights-themed gala at West Point Grey Academy.  The photo appears in the schools 2000-2001 yearbook and shows Justin Trudeau, who was 29 at the time, wearing a turban and robes with his face, neck and hands completely darkened.

Trudeau, who is currently on the campaign trail seeking re-election, addressed the media Thursday evening to apologize for his actions.

“I dressed up as Alladin and put makeup on. I shouldn’t have done that,” he said. “I should have known better, but I didn’t and I’m really sorry.”

He added that he is asking Canadians for forgiveness for his actions.

“It was something that I didn’t think was racist at the time but now I recognize that it was something racist to do and I am deeply sorry,” Trudeau said.

During a statement, Conservative Leader Scheer said he was shocked by the photo and added that it shows Trudeau is “not fit to govern this country.”

“Wearing brownface is an act of open mockery and racism. It was just as racist in 2001 as it is in 2019,” said Scheer.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh addressed the photo of the prime minister on Twitter and focused on the effect the photo could have on people of colour.

“Tonight is not about the Prime Minister. It’s about every young person mocked for the colour of their skin. The child who had their turban ripped off their head. And those reliving intense feelings of pain & hurt from past experiences of racism. To you, I say you are loved,” he said.

The photo has been brought to light at a critical time for Trudeau who is only in his second week of the federal election campaign, with voters set to go to the polls on October 21.