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WATCH: schoolgirls grill Justin Trudeau over blackface

‘I didn’t know it back then, but I know it now. And I’m sorry I hurt people’

October 9, 2019

10:58 AM

9 October 2019

10:58 AM

At last — Justin Trudeau has met his match.

The Canadian prime minister was taken to task by two black schoolgirls about the various instances of him wearing blackface on the Facebook Watch show New Mom, Who Dis? with Jessi Cruickshank.

The twins, Soleil and Solara, ask Trudeau, ‘why did you paint your face brown?’

‘Ooh,’ the prime minister responds, ‘um…it was something I shouldn’t have done, ‘cos it hurt people…um…it’s not something that, uh, you…you should do, and…that is something that I learnt. I didn’t know it back then, but I know it now. And I’m sorry I hurt people.’

‘But did you paint your nose and your hands brown?’, the girl follows up.

‘Mmhmm,’ Trudeau replies, before a pause. ‘Yeah. And it was the wrong thing to do. And I had a good conversation with my kids around taking responsibility for mistakes and making sure that we’re always sticking up for each other, and not teasing each other, and being respectful towards each other. And I’m, uh, sorry that I hurt you as well. I’m sorry that I hurt kids, uh, who, uh, you know, get, uh, uh-face teasing and discrimination because…because of the color of their skin. That’s just not right in this country, or anywhere around the world, and we all have to work together to make sure that that doesn’t happen, OK?’

The girl, smiling, nods in response.

Justin Trudeau on New Mom, Who Dis? SNEAK PEEK


Posted by New Mom, Who Dis? on Tuesday, October 8, 2019


For those in need of a refresher, Justin Trudeau is the super-sensitive head of the Liberal party and has been prime minister of Canada since 2015. His father, Pierre Trudeau was also the head of the Liberal party, and was also the prime minister of Canada for 15 years. In September, TIME magazine uncovered a photo from 2001 of a 29-year-old Justin Trudeau, in what they delicately termed ‘brownface’. He was attending an Arabian Nights-themed party at the private school where he taught at the time. TIME also revealed that Trudeau had blacked up while in high school, when he performed ‘Day-O’ in a school talent show. Canadian site Global News also obtained video of Trudeau blacked up from a different occasion.

Cockburn is perplexed, therefore, by Trudeau’s explanation that ‘I didn’t know it back then, but I know it now.’ It prompts several further questions. Firstly, ‘was it really OK to black up in 2001?’ Cockburn was inebriated for much of 2001, but feels like he’d recall if it was. Secondly, ‘did school teachers at top Vancouver private schools not know that some people might find blacking up offensive?’ Judging by the other people in the photo, it seems they didn’t much care. Thirdly, ‘are we to believe that the son of the Liberal prime minister didn’t think blackface was inappropriate?’ On this last count, the full episode of New Mom, Who Dis? offers a potential answer, as Trudeau tells Cruickshank ‘it’s never enough, and I know that ‘cos I was raised in a family where the dad was prime minister too and you never get enough time.’ Of course! It’s Pierre’s fault!


I’m not a hard-hitting journalist. I’m not a news reporter. I’m a mom. And when I got the chance to do one of the only interviews with Justin Trudeau during this election… I came prepared. With candid questions, real kids and a live baby. Watch, share and most importantly, DISCUSS in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear what you think. Xo Jessi#NewMomWhoDis is BACK With new episodes every Wednesday!! FOLLOW NOW!

Posted by New Mom, Who Dis? on Wednesday, October 9, 2019


Cockburn can’t help but imagine a shirtless Trudeau in front of a mirror, gradually daubing himself in brown paint. As he gazes at his reflection, he whispers to himself, ‘are you proud now, father?’ Possibly in French.

Got a tip for Cockburn? Email cockburn@spectator.us.

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