Trudeau blackface images have tarnished Canada's reputation: Wynne

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau addresses media in Winnipeg on Thursday Sept.19 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS  Sean Kilpatrick

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau addresses media in Winnipeg on Thursday Sept.19 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS Sean Kilpatrick

The Liberal Party pledged Saturday to keep private the details of any conversation between NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Justin Trudeau about the blackface scandal that rocked the federal election campaign this past week.

Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer, who is running even with Mr. Trudeau's Liberal Party in the most recent polls, said he was "shocked" by the first pictures, but he was even more concerned by Mr. Trudeau's "lie" that there were no other incidents of racial mockery.

And this challenge to Trudeau's leadership, character and political survival comes at a time when social media contagions have the potential of wreaking damage unimaginable in earlier election contests in a vast, continent-wide country united by a tradition of civil, nearly genteel, politics. Many Canadians said they were disappointed but not surprised by the images.

If the images had come out before 2015, Wynne can't say definitively if she would still have campaigned with him.

May said she applauded Malone for coming forward.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who has clashed with Trudeau in the past, said he was "surprised by the number of times" Trudeau had dressed in blackface, while late night comedians excoriated the prime minister.

The first picture that emerged showed Trudeau with his face blackened at a 2001 "Arabian Nights" party when he was a 29-year-old teacher at a Vancouver private school. He has also admitted to wearing blackface in a high school performance where he sang Harry Belafonte's "Banana Boat Song (Day O)".

Canada's Global News television network broadcast a brief video of Trudeau in blackface while raising his hands in the air and sticking out his tongue.

"People in other countries don't have the benefit or the access or the interest in, quite frankly, the day-to-day machinations of Canadian politics so they don't know him as well as we do", she said. I should have known better and I didn't.

Pollster David Coletto of Abacus Data said the biggest risk to the Liberals was low voter turnout among their supporters. I don't want to be a part of a PR process to say he checked off these boxes and, look, he made this call, and he's all good.

"What I did was inexcusable and wrong and hurt a lot of people who considered me to be an ally and that was wrong. So these behaviours can't define him".

Trudeau, 47, sidestepped questions both about Trump's comments and whether the affair had damaged Canada's image overseas, repeating that he was very sorry for what he had done when younger. "I lacked respect towards people who already face tremendous discrimination, and that is something I apologize for". This is a teachable moment for all of us.

"I was hoping I wouldn't be asked that question".

Alvin Tedjo, who is of Indonesian descent, took a stronger tone in his statement. "But to win the election with a majority he's going to need to make some gains and that's going to perhaps going to be harder after this scandal and the ones that came before it".

Trudeau told how he was "more enthusiastic about costumes than is sometimes appropriate". Opinion polls so far have the Liberals and Conservatives usually tied or within one or two points of each other.

Trudeau held an emergency press conference on his campaign plane Wednesday evening.

"It is demeaning. The colour of our skin is not a costume prop", said Samya Hasan, executive director for the Toronto-based Council for Agencies Serving South Asians, adding she was unsurprised because despite Trudeau's reputation as a vocal progressive, he is still "a privileged white person".

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