Justin Trudeau scandal: How the Wizard of Woke found himself in a dark nightmare
Canada's Prime Minister and the internet's favorite, hot-as-hell political figure Justin Trudeau was once hailed as the man who brought something different to the table. He was seen as the man who believed in equality, cared about women's rights and representation, was an LGBT ally, and said all the right things, at exactly the right time. Most importantly, Trudeau was someone who stood against anti-immigration policies that are prevalent in his country's neighbor. But, it all changed this week.
One after the other, old problematic photos of Trudeau surfaced with him sporting brownface, then blackface. If images didn't speak a thousand words, there was a video in the mix too. All three from different instances. The curly-haired, blue-eyed prime minister who ushered in the first gender-balanced cabinet in 2015 and greeted immigrants at the airport to welcome them to Canada, found his charming image falling apart at the seams.
At the time, Trudeau had famously held his palms up to the sky when asked about the reason behind his cabinet selection and said, "Because it’s 2015." It was a quote that echoed across the world and needless to say that when a 2001 photo of him barely recognizable in an 'Arabian Nights'-theme costume surfaced, with his face darkened, smiling for the cameras -- it was quite the rude shock. The first photo, published by Time was from a yearbook of West Point Grey Academy where Trudeau did a stint as a teacher. The second showed him with blackface appearing to perform a song. The video showed him throwing his hands up in the air and making faces -- the racist makeup covering his body as well.
While Trudeau apologized for the photos, he also said that he doesn't really know if there are more that could surface. "I didn't see that from the layers of privilege I have," he said, looking terribly sorry in a press conference, "For that, I am deeply sorry and I apologize." However, he didn't shy away from mentioning the Canadian Federal election, brushing off a re-election question, "I will continue to do the work that is necessary to keep us moving forward in the right way. Canadians have an important choice to make on October 21. I trust Canadians to make the right choice."
Of course, this isn't the first time Trudeau has found himself in hot water. From coming under fire for giving in to the $4.5 billion Trans Mountain Expansion twin oil pipeline just a week after proposing to ban single-use plastic, to his SNC-Lavalin controversy, Trudeau's picture-perfect image as the world's most woke PM has been crumbling, slowly yet steadily.
With his brand of politics always fiercely feminist and inclusive, it was disappointing, to say the least, when reports of him and his office trying to put "inappropriate" pressure on Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould to drop the case involving accusations of fraud, bribery and bullying tactics against a Canadian engineering company came out.
SNC-Lavalin, a multinational engineering company based in Quebec paid 47.7 million Canadian dollars in backroom bribes and defrauded the Libyan government of 129.8 million Canadian dollars. Trudeau and his assistants have been accused of trying to get Wison-Raybould to drop charges, saying it would cost Canadians jobs and hit his party. She didn't succumb to the alleged pressure and went on to be demoted finally resigning in February this year.