When the photos of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wearing brownface first began to surface on Wednesday evening, political leaders and party members Canada-wide were quick to take the opportunity to speak out about the issue. While some leaders took a more personal approach, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh avoided attacking Justin Trudeau in his response and seems to have earned himself a considerable number of converted voters in the process.
Taking to Instagram to comment on Trudeau’s public apology, Jagmeet Singh explained, “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 re-living intense feelings of pain and hurt from past experiences of racism."
Speaking to the media in the wake of Trudeau’s blackface scandal, Singh went on to tell Canadians, “I want you to know that you might feel like giving up on Canada ... I want you to know that you have value, you have worth, and you are loved.”
It seems that Jagmeet Singh’s passionate and heartfelt response to the Trudeau photos has not gone unnoticed, as Canadians from across the country have taken to social media to explain how impressed they were with Singh’s response to the whole controversy.
One Canadian social media user took to Twitter to explain how he felt about Singh following the Trudeau drama. He wrote, “Gotta like the way Jagmeet Singh frames the #BlackfaceTrudeau issue! Speaking of non-White Canadians he says these pictures of Trudeau represent for them, their Prime Minister mocking their lived reality. Gripping.”
Another shared a similar tweet, writing “Watching #BrownFaceTrudeau media coverage today, it feels like Canadians are finally seeing NDP leader Jagmeet Singh in this election. He is navigating the press with incredible grace, bringing the questions back to policy, young people, and Canadians.”
In a tweet that has now been liked more than 1,100 times, Bowinn Ma wrote, “I feel like the #BrownFaceTrudeau incident has taught me more about Jagmeet Singh than Justin Trudeau. I didn't really learn anything new about Trudeau, but it's really showing me what kind of person Jagmeet is... and my respect for him is growing.”
This tweet was met with many positive responses, with several users agreeing with Ma’s tweet. One Canadian even replied to say, “I must agree, wow talk about a decent person, just the type one would want for their country on the world stage.”
Singh’s response to Trudeau’s blackface photos was received a lot better than Conservative leader Andrew Scheer’s. Canadians were quick to call out Scheer for hypocrisy when he bashed Trudeau, noting that he had been involved in some pretty dodgy ‘old video’ controversy himself.
Trudeau has since apologized for the blackface photos, saying that the costume ideas were a ‘mistake.’ During a press conference on Thursday, Trudeau apologized for any hurt he had caused by wearing blackface and promised Canadians that he would continue to try to do better.