It’s not what Trudeau did, it’s who he built himself up to be

The PM’s hypocrisy is a greater crime than a 20-year-old brownface incident

It’s not what Trudeau did, it’s who he built himself up to be

Trudeau’s latest scandal is anything but black and white.

Let me be clear: I don’t think Trudeau is a racist.

In fact, between its gender-neutral cabinet and $92 million inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women, the current Liberal government is likely the most politically correct in our history.

Was what Trudeau did wrong? Today that answer is a resounding yes.

But what about in 2001 — was dressing up in black or brownface seen as wrong?

Yes and no.

Did people understand the concept of racism back then? Of course.

As a result of events such as the 1992 Los Angeles and 2001 Cincinnati riots (the latter of which occurred the same year Trudeau was photographed in brownface and an Aladdin costume), a North American-wide discussion on things such as the use of racial epithets and race relations was, undeniably, at the forefront of the cultural zeitgeist.

Furthermore, Google analytics suggests it was around this exact time (2001-2002) that the term blackface saw its peak usage in literature.

But while people knew that dressing up in dark makeup in 2001 to derogatorily stereotype another race was wrong, the same cannot be said for cultural appropriation.

In other words, while someone likely understood that dressing up in blackface and negatively stereotyping African Americans was wrong, they might not have seen, for example, dressing up as an “Indian” because they like Cleveland’s major league baseball team to be an issue.

So then why the current attacks against a Prime Minister who, when compared to his predecessors, has tried to address racially-systemic issues across the country?

Because Trudeau would not allow someone who had done what he did to run under the Liberal banner.

Don’t believe me?

In November 2014, Trudeau suspended MPs Scott Andrews and Massimo Pacetti following harassment allegations by two unnamed NDP MPs.

In March 2015, following an investigation (which was never released publicly), they were expelled from the caucus.

Trudeau’s quote on his decision is especially interesting.

“The action must be fair, but decisive. It must be sensitive to all affected parties, but, recognizing how difficult it is to do so, it must give the benefit of the doubt to those who come forward.”

I’m not here to assert Andrews and Pacetti (who both denied all allegations on multiple occasions) are innocent or guilty.

All I’m saying is if Trudeau were to hold himself to these same standards, he would resign: a fair-but-decisive decision made with the sensitivities of all affected parties (in this case, racialized Canadians) in mind.

His words, not mine.

Beyond highlighting Trudeau’s hypocrisy, the story also exemplifies the inherently McCarthyist nature of political correctness.

In short, when you build yourself up as a paragon of equality, diversity and multiculturalism, don’t be surprised when your political opponents try to dig up every bit of dirt that could possibly contradict that image (even if it’s 20 years old).

Again, I feel like most people aren’t mad because Trudeau donned brown and black makeup for racially-insensitive costumes a few times in the 90s and early 2000s.

They’re mad because these actions, which Trudeau consciously hid from Canadians (while campaigning on a platform of politically-correct platitudes) paint a picture of a man who is the antithesis of everything he built himself up to be.

Call it a poetic ending to a man (oops — person) whose entire political career has exemplified political correctness.

As a side note, don’t misinterpret my critique of Trudeau as an endorsement of Scheer.

Just three days before the story broke, the Conservative leader said that “as long as someone takes responsibility for what they’ve said, and addresses the fact that in 2019 some things that may have been said in the past are inappropriate today,” he would accept their apology, in response to a question regarding MPs whose past mistakes in private life or on social media come to light.

Guess his answer doesn’t apply to elected officials in other parties.

Almost makes you wish there were more than two parties to vote for.

Oh, wait, there are.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Smithers District Chamber of Commerce coveted Alpine Man Statue for winners of the 2020 Community and Business Awards Nov 25. (contributed photo)
Smithers Feed Store named Business of the Year

Chamber of Commerce Community and Business Awards handed out in virtual ceremony via Zoom

The Terrace River Kings lost 9-3 to the Quesnel Kangaroos on Mar. 2, 2019 in the final CIHL playoffs. (Lindsay Chung Photo)
Central Interior Hockey League cancels 2020/21 season

League open to playing exhibition games if possible

Questions around rail safety, firefighter safety, cleanup near the rail yards and tracks, whistle cessation, etc were raised during the RDBN meeting with CN. (File photo)
Regional district frustrated with CN response to grievances

‘A lot of our concerns are still not being heard,’: Houston mayor Shane Brienen

Skiers and snowboarders enjoy the fresh, fluffy snow at Fernie Alpine Resort.
Ski hill scheduled to open Dec. 4

Hudson Bay Mountain Resort will open without its usual contingent of international workers

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

More than 60 cm of snow has fallen at Ulkatcho First Nation near Anahim Lake in the Chilcotin since a snowfall warning went into effect Thursday, Nov. 26. (Graham West photo)
VIDEO: More than 60 cm of snowfall in Chilcotin since Thursday, Nov. 26

Graham West of Ulkatcho First Nation captures the scene on video

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Most Read