The shrill debate over Justin Trudeau should leave some people shamefaced

RASHMEE ROSHAN LALL September 23, 2019

The furore over Justin Trudeau’s brownface and blackface costumes tells us two things. First, a high bar is set for those who cast themselves as liberal but self-proclaimed conservatives are allowed to be as bigoted as they want. Second, such controversies quickly become hysterical to the point of incoherence.

The first point can be understood by examining some of those who are calling for Mr Trudeau’s head. Andrew Scheer, Mr Trudeau’s chief political rival, once likened a certain group of people to dogs.

Add in the reality that the debate over Mr Trudeau’s judgement is shrill and lacks context.

Re-elect him or not, Mr Trudeau’s years in office have to be judged on his successes as well as his stumbles.

As prime minister, he embraced diversity and incorporated it in his first cabinet; he welcomed Syrian refugees; tried to tackle income inequality, and took concrete steps on climate change policy. But before he became prime minister, as leader of the Liberal party, Mr Trudeau also used unparliamentary language in parliament about the environment minister, and was pilloried for praising China’s “basic dictatorship” as well as a tasteless joke about the bloody crisis in Ukraine.