Jagmeet Singh had a poignant response to Justin Trudeau's brown makeup photo on Wednesday. The NDP leader, the first visible minority to lead a federal party, avoided attacking Trudeau’s character in his response. Singh instead decided to direct his powerful message to Canadians.
“I want to talk to all of the kids out there, all the folks who lived this and are now grown up and still feeling the pain of racism,” Singh said during a statement to the media.
Singh also made the following comment on an Instagram video of Trudeau's public apology. “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 and hurt from past experiences of racism."
“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," he added.
The Huffington Post reported that Singh was initially hesitant about responding to the photo. However, he changed his mind after receiving a message from a close friend.
The controversial picture of Trudeau was posted by Time Magazine. The 2001 yearbook photo reveals a 29-year-old Trudeau posing with three women in costumes at Vancouver’s West Point Grey Academy. The prime minister was a teacher at the school at the time.
Trudeau has since apologized for the photo, calling it a mistake. He explained to reporters that he was wearing an Aladdin costume because the theme of the party was “Arabian Nights.” “I should have known better then, but I didn’t. And I did it. And I am deeply sorry for it,” Trudeau said during an impromptu press conference.