After blackface row, Trudeau resumes election campaign

Montreal, September 23

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau resumed his re-election campaign on Sunday with a promise to lower taxes, but once again had to apologise for a photo showing him in blackface makeup.

Trudeau (47) was already under fire for an ethics lapse and other controversies, and the decades-old photos and videos that resurfaced last week of him engaging in activities he has acknowledged as “racist” dealt a fresh blow to his chances.

After taking Saturday off, Trudeau travelled to Brampton on Sunday, in the central province of Ontario, where he announced two concrete measures aimed at wooing middle-class voters, the main targets of both his Liberal party and opposition Conservatives in the October 21 elections.

If he is reelected, Trudeau said middle-class Canadians would not pay taxes on the first 15,000 Canadian dollars (USD 11,300) they earn.

He also promised to cut Canadian cell phone plan costs, which he called “among the most expensive in the G7”, by 25 per cent. These two measures would “put more than 1,500 Canadian dollars a year back in the pockets of Canadian hard-working families”, he said.

His main opponent, Conservative Andrew Scheer, has also promised his government would “put money back into Canadians’ pockets”.

Trudeau then gave a press conference during which he faced a barrage of questions about the photos and videos that appeared in media outlets on Wednesday, showing him dressed in blackface or brown face on multiple occasions in the 1990s and in 2001.

“As a country, we need to keep working for diversity, working to fight racism and intolerance. As an individual, I have to keep having extremely important conversations about choices made in the past and how I earn, once again, the trust of Canadians that I hurt,” he said. 

The opposition has heavily criticised Trudeau, who as PM has presented himself as a champion of multiculturalism and a fighter of racism and discrimination. — AFP

Woos middle-class voters

  • If re-elected, Justin Trudeau says middle-class Canadians will not pay taxes on the first $15,000 (Canadian dollars) they earn
  • Promises to cut Canadian cellphone plan costs, which he called ‘among the most expensive in the G7’, by 25 per cent