EDITORIAL: No the prime minister is not a racist, move on

Let’s be very clear about this.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not a racist.

Admittedly, it would be nice if pictures of him wearing dark face and body make up would stop popping up and making headline news.

But to call him a racist, that’s simply unsupportable.

The Liberal government under Trudeau has championed numerous initiatives underscoring the point.

In 2015 Trudeau appointed the most ethnically and socially diverse cabinet in the country’s history, naming equal numbers of men and women, and elevating Canada’s first ever Muslim minister and first ever aboriginal justice minister.

He has been outspoken on his opposition towards Quebec’s ban of religious symbols and clothing for public servants including police officers and judges.

Earlier this year the feds announced a $45 million anti-racism strategy that includes giving money directly to communities to combat discrimination. There is a new program aimed at increasing diversity in the federal public service, and an ongoing commitment to the United Nations Decade for People of African Descent which, among other things, earmarks $25 million for local projects to celebrate Black Canadians.

Viola Desmond – the Black Canadian who sat in the white’s only section of a theatre in New Glasgow in 1946 – is now remembered on our $10 bill.

Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

There are some who look to these achievements and accuse the Prime Minister of hypocrisy, suggesting the photos that surfaced last week show his “true colors.”

Hypocrisy swings both ways. Trudeau has political rivals who ought to think a hundred times before playing the racist card, regardless of what must be their possession of non-offensive school yearbooks.

Related: Trump’s surprise at blackface photos sums up world’s view of Trudeau

Are the photos unfortunate?

Of course.

Do they make Trudeau a racist?

Absolutely not. Move on Canada.

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publisher@similkameenspotlight.com
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andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

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