With Canada set to vote in their federal election in just a couple of weeks, all of its parties' leaders are continuing to campaign and make television appearances across the country. They're trying to not only share all of their promises for Canadians but also address any questions or concerns from others. After all, a politician wants to present the best image of themselves in order to convince Canadians to vote for them.
This is the case for current Prime Minister and Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau. Trudeau appeared on a recent episode of New Mom, Who Dis?, hosted by Canadian TV personality Jessi Cruickshank. Also present were several children sitting by Cruickshank and Trudeaus' feet with questions for the latter. At one point during the episode, a young black girl asked Trudeau about why he once dressed in blackface. This was in reference to his recent scandal about such a photo resurfacing from the early 2000s.
"It was something I shouldn’t have done, ’cause it hurt people. 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," Trudeau answered.
When the child asked if he also painted his hands brown, Trudeau replied with, "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 sorry that I hurt you as well. I’m sorry that I hurt kids who get, you know, face teasing and discrimination because of the colour of their skin. That’s just not right, we all have to work together to make sure that doesn’t happen, OK?"
While Trudeau's political opponents have been using this scandal as ammo to prove that he's an unfit leader (among other things), fellow Canadians have had more mixed reactions. Some are unbothered by the scandal, while others admit that it's caused them to view Trudeau in a negative light. But many parents have admitted to using Trudeau's blackface scandal as a way to teach their children about privilege and racism in Canada. Experts point out that this is a smart thing to do in order to teach kids how to deal with racism when they encounter it.
Someone else who's taking the opportunity to use this scandal as a teachable moment is Trudeau himself. He wanted to teach his three children- Xavier, 11; Ella-Grace, 10; and Hadrien, five- about what he did and why it was wrong.
"I’m going to have a conversation with them tomorrow morning before they go to school about taking responsibility for mistakes we make, about living up every day to try to be a better person and recognizing that when you make mistakes, you have to take responsibility for it," Trudeau revealed in a past interview. "You have to own up for it, and promise to do better. That’s what I expect for my kids. That’s how I’m going to be raising them and that’s the conversation I’m going to be having with them tomorrow."