Late on Wednesday night, a photo of Justin Trudeau wearing “brownface” at a 2001 Arabian Nights party went viral, attracting media focus and social media attention worldwide. Shortly after, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer took to Twitter to call out Justin Trudeau for his “act of open mockery and racism,” and suggested that the Prime Minister was “not fit to govern this country.” However, Scheer’s post was met with considerable backlash from Canadians, who took to Twitter to accuse him of being a hypocrite.
As of Thursday morning, one video and two pictures have surfaced of the Prime Minister, dressing up in various costumes and darkening his skin with makeup. Trudeau apologized for the instances in which he had used brownface, admitting that he now recognized that behaviour as racist, but did not at the time.
Late on Wednesday evening, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer posted a video-response to the Trudeau photos on his social media accounts. Speaking under a dark sky next to the Conservative Party aircraft, Scheer says, “Like all Canadians, I was extremely shocked and disappointed when I learned of Justin Trudeau’s actions this evening.”
He goes on to say, “Wearing brownface is an act of open mockery and racism, it was just as racist in 2001, as it is in 2019. What Canadians saw this evening is someone who has a complete lack of judgement and integrity.”
Scheer ends the video by adding, “[Trudeau] is not fit to govern this country.”
This comes just days after Scheer continued to give his support to certain members of the Conservative Party after they were accused of making racist or homophobic comments in the past.
He told the media that he would continue to stand by members of his party as long as they were prepared to apologize and take responsibility for their comments.
This caused hundreds of social media users to call Scheer out for his hypocrisy, with Canadians asking why there seems to be one rule for Conservative MP's, and another for Justin Trudeau.
Canadian Twitter users were also quick to remind Scheer of his own controversial behaviour that has resurfaced in recent weeks, particularly the 2005 video of him denouncing same-sex marriage.
One Canadian Twitter user wrote, “Let's keep in mind Mr. Scheer STILL hasn't apologized for comparing married gay couples to 5-legged dogs, and has been known to pall around with true racists.”
Another shared a similar message, responding to Scheer to say, “You should watch and learn from Justin how an apology is done. We in the LGBT community are still waiting for our apology from you. And waiting... and waiting…”
With the federal election now just 32 short days away, it is yet to be seen how this will affect Justin Trudeau’s Liberal campaign. That said, with the race between the Conservatives and the Liberals now closer than ever, it remains to be seen if this most recent controversy will have a lasting impact on Canadian voters.
The federal election is scheduled for October 21.