Late on Wednesday night, TIME magazine published a photo of Canada’s Prime Minister, dressed up in brownface at an Arabian Nights party back in 2001. Since then, an additional photo and video have also emerged, both showing him wearing brownface again. After Trudeau made a desperate apology to the public, and Andrew Scheer revealed that it was the Conservatives who leaked the video, Canadians are now trying to decide how they feel about the situation, and it seems that the public is deeply divided.
In order to find out exactly what Canadians thought about Justin Trudeau following this latest brownface scandal, CTV News asked the public two questions about the incident, and the responses prove just how divided people are on the issue.
The first question asked was, “Should Justin Trudeau resign (as Prime Minister)?” At the time of writing, 1434 Canadians had voted in the poll, with 49 percent of voters saying ‘yes,’ he should resign. 51 percent said ‘no,’ he should not.
Following the publication of the racist images, CTV News also asked Canadians, “Will Justin Trudeau's photo wearing brownface change your vote?” At the time of writing, 68 percent of people said they would not change their vote based on the old photos, while 32 percent said they had changed their mind following the publication of the images.
It seems that this divide in opinion could also be seen on social media, with tens of thousands of Canadians taking to Twitter throughout the day on Thursday to discuss the Prime Minister’s photos.
While many Canadians agreed that the photos were horrific, a large number of people felt like Trudeau should be forgiven for mistakes he had made in the past, particularly as he had acknowledged the photos and issued an apology.
One Twitter user wrote, “I'm not a fan of Trudeau by any means, but using pictures from his past to smear him and create a scandal out of nothing is ridiculous. As someone who has a real #brownface, I'm not offended. Let the man be. “
Another added, ”One last thing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau didn't try to hide from what he did out of IGNORANCE, PM Trudeau didn't make excuses, he admitted it and apologized.”
That said, there were also many Canadians calling out the Prime Minister for his past racist behaviour, with some even calling for his resignation. A number of Twitter users also suggested that if it had been another party member or world leader, the consequences would have been much more severe.
One Twitter user explained, “ANY party candidate who was revealed to do what Trudeau has done would be publicly fired by the party leader and the party would state clearly the information was withheld from the vetting process.”
Another asked, “If it had come out that Trump did brown face in 2001 he would be dragged through the mud by every liberal across the world. It comes out that Trudeau actually DID go out in brown face though, and he's being defended? What’s with the double standard?”
The true impact of Trudeau's blackface scandal remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: Canadians are deeply divided on the issue.