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Trudeau’s Blackface Is Appalling, and So Are His Policies

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When a cofounder of Black Lives Matter Toronto called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “a white supremacist” at a rally in 2017, her accusation drew swift reaction from the commentariat. Conservative Canadian journalists raced to denounce her, while others demanded that she step down from Black Lives Matter Toronto. Just one week before, Trudeau had publicly rebuked Trump and his Muslim ban with this now-famous tweet: “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada.” How could he possibly be a white supremacist?

But there was a dangerous lack of policy behind Trudeau’s feel-good tweet. The government did not, in fact, plan to increase its refugee quotas. Instead, Trudeau’s Liberal Party had turned its back on Canada’s migrant justice movements and rejected visa applications at higher rates than previous governments, sent representatives abroad to discourage people from coming to Canada, refused to budge on calls to end the Safe Third Country Agreement, and continued Canada’s indefinite detention of migrants.

Three photos of Trudeau in blackface later, the mainstream media is finally waking up to just how thin the Liberal leader’s progressive veneer has always been.

If Americans were shocked by these pictures, many Canadians were simply wearied. Canada has a long, storied tradition of racism. It also has a long, storied tradition of ignoring its long, storied tradition of racism. And Canadian media—dominated, as it is, by white journalists—dutifully serves both traditions. For left-leaning activists in Canada, seeing Trudeau in blackface was just the latest confirmation of what they’d known all along: Despite the PR gloss, Trudeau’s Liberals were never planning to be the agents of “real change” and “sunny ways” they messaged so well on the 2015 campaign trail. As Montreal-based journalist Martin Lukacs details in his new book, The Trudeau Formula: Seduction and Betrayal in an Age of Discontent, the Liberals have maintained Canada’s status quo—racism included.

On October 21, Canadians will head to the polls in a federal election that many see as a referendum on Trudeau’s government. The last time around, voters were desperate to boot out Stephen Harper’s Conservative majority, and many saw the Liberals—led by political scion Trudeau—as their best shot. Trudeau’s woke cosplay helped win over both centrists and disillusioned progressives alike. But voters should have no illusions about the Liberals’ track record. In the last four years, Trudeau has broken nearly all the progressive promises his party campaigned on. His climate policy has been called “climate change denial with a human face.” He has shirked his promises to Indigenous communities about reconciliation, betraying Native people on multiple fronts. His party has turned its back on workers and unions, while pursuing free-trade agreements and reinforcing an economic agenda that does little to attack the roots of precarious work or inequality.





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Thanks !

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