GAFFE-PRONE TRUDEAU: A look back at his most embarrassing moments
October 15, 2019
October 15, 2019 2:28 PM EDT
As the blackface scandal erupted during the federal election, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau declared his life of “privilege” left him with a “blindspot” to certain racist acts. On at least three separate occasions, Trudeau dressed up in blackface. This questionable judgment has stayed with the gaffe-prone Trudeau since he became prime minister in 2015. His time in office is riddled with embarrassing moments.
This combination photo shows the instances of Trudeau in blackface. The bottom right shows a screengrab from a video confirmed by Global News to be Trudeau in blackface.
Trudeau showed a penchant for dressing up in blackface. At the age of 29 he was photographed at a school function — where he was a teacher — with darkened skin. On another occasion where he dressed in blackface for a canoe trip, his entire body appears to be covered in dark makeup.
Images of Trudeau’s visit to India with his family. AFP/Getty Images
Trudeau loves to dress up. Nowhere, perhaps, was that more evident than during the now-infamous Trudeau family India trip in 2018.
The prime minister drew widespread criticism for wearing overt and flashy Indian clothing despite being photographed with many of India’s political elite who merely wore suits.
THE ‘KOKANEE GROPE’
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Ian Kucerak / Postmedia Network
In August of 2000, the Creston Valley Advance wrote an editorial Trudeau had “groped” and engaged in “inappropriate handling” of one of the female reporters covering the Kokanee Summit music festival. The paper quotes Trudeau as saying to the reporter a day after the incident: “I’m sorry. If I had known you were reporting for a national paper I would never have been so forward.”
In 2018, and in the era of #MeToo, Trudeau again apologized but said the reporter may have experienced the encounter differently.
Justin Trudeau hugs Cuba’s Fidel Castro in October 2000. Trudeau has been criticized for his praise of the now-dead communist dictator. Montreal Gazzette/Pierre Obendrauf
After his death in late 2016, Trudeau lauded Castro as a “remarkable leader” and a “larger-than-life leader who served his people for almost half a century.”
Justin Trudeau meets with the Boyle family on Parliament Hill in late 2017. Boyle and his family were held in captivity in Afghanistan for five years. Boyle was charged in January 2018 and is currently on trial. He has pleaded not guilty to all 19 charges, including sexually assaulting and forcibly confining his wife. Twitter
It was a story that grabbed headlines around the world. Canadian Joshua Boyle, his American wife Caitlan Coleman and their three children were released after years of being held by the Taliban. Not missing an opportunity for a photo op, pictures of Trudeau meeting with the family in the PMO were tweeted out. Ten days after the photo was issued, Boyle was arrested in Ottawa and charged with unlawful confinement and sexual assault against his wife.
Independent MPs Jane Philpott and Jody Wilson-Raybould vote in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau has marketed himself as a feminist and an ally to Canada’s indigenous people.
Yet Trudeau expelled former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould from the Liberal caucus in 2019 after she refused to grant a deferred prosecution agreement to SNC-Lavalin, a Montreal-based engineering company that faced criminal charges of corruption and fraud.
Mario Dion, the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, concluded in his early 2019 report that Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act by wrongfully pressuring Wilson-Raybould.
Trudeau’s response: “I fully accept this report … I take full responsibility.”
The response rang hollow as Trudeau ultimately disagreed with the report’s key findings, saying he would not apologize for defending Canadians jobs.
Jane Philpott, a trusted cabinet minister of Trudeau’s, resigned from her position as president of the Treasury Board citing the Trudeau government’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin scandal.
Both Wilson-Raybould and Philpott are now running for re-election as independents.
MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes is pictured during question period in the House of Commons on May 25, 2018. (The Canadian Press)
The term “fake feminist” trended for days after Trudeau announced former Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavennes would leave his caucus to sit as an independent.
Speaking to the Globe and Mail, Chavennes said Trudeau became hostile towards her when she told him she won’t be running again.
“He was yelling. He was yelling that I didn’t appreciate him, that he’d given me so much,” Chavennes told the Globe.
MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau grabs her chest after being elbowed by Justin Trudeau in a House of Commons fracas. (Screengrab)
In May of 2016, Trudeau was annoyed opposition MPs were delaying the final reading of a bill before Parliament to allow physician-assisted death.
NDP MPs were blocking Conservative MP Gord Brown from getting to his seat. Seeing this, Trudeau marched down the aisle, grabbed Brown by his arm to navigate him through the crowd and allegedly yelled “get the f*** out of my way.”
During the chaotic moment, Trudeau elbowed NDP MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau in the chest. She missed the vote, and Trudeau later apologized.
“DRINK BOX WATER BOTTLE THINGS?”
The Trudeau government announced a ban on single-use plastics by 2021.
When asked by the media during a mid-2019 press conference what Trudeau himself has been doing to cut back on plastics, his response was nearly unintelligible.
After struggling to articulate an answer, he said he and his family have switched from plastic water bottles to “drink box water bottle things.”
“THANK YOU FOR YOUR DONATION”
At a Liberal fundraiser, First Nations activists were forced out after interrupting the event to bring attention to the issue of mercury water poisoning in Grassy Narrows.
“Thank you very much for your donation tonight, I really appreciate the donation to the Liberal Party of Canada,” Trudeau said as the activists were led out, all while receiving applause from the crowd.
While Trudeau did apologize for his remarks, he received widespread criticism for his comments.
TWO ETHICS VIOLATIONS
Justin Trudeau and the billionaire Aga Khan in 2016. Twitter
Trudeau has violated the Conflict of Interest Act twice since he became prime minister in 2015.
In the first instance, Mary Dawson, federal ethics commissioner, ruled Trudeau violated ethics rules in 2017 after having accepted a vacation on billionaire Aga Khan’s island in the Bahamas.
Trudeau admitted to using Khan’s private helicopter and did not disclose his friendship with the billionaire to the conflict of interest commissioner.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with then Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould during a swearing-in ceremony at Rideau Hall Nov. 4, 2015, in Ottawa. CHRIS WATTIE / AFP / Getty Images
His second ethics violation occurred when ethics commissioner Mario Dion’s 2019 report found Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act for his conduct in the SNC-Lavalin scandal.
The report claimed Trudeau pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to arrange a sweetheart deal for SNC-Lavalin so the engineering company could avoid prosecution on bribery and corruption charges.
Comedian Hasan Minhaj grills Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (Netflix/YouTube)
Appearing on an episode of Netflix’s Patriot Act, Trudeau was grilled by host Hasan Minhaj on Lavscam, climate change policy, selling weapons to Saudi Arabia and more.
In one segment called “Finish the sentence,” Minhaj asked Trudeau a few softball questions before asking him to finish the sentence: “Canada will not sell any weapons to Saudi Arabia, period.”
Trudeau sat in silence before saying, “That’s a good statement.”
Minhaj went on to say the Candian government has had nine months to examine the contract, joking it only takes three months to study for the LSAT, and invited him to announce the arms deal was cancelled then and there.
Trudeau responded: “We take our legal responsibilities and the breaking of contracts very seriously in this country.”
Justin Trudeau, right, answers questions from two girls and Jessi Cruickshank (Facebook) New Mom, Who Dis?/Facebook
As if no lessons were learned from the Netflix Patriot Act appearance, Trudeau did an October 2019 interview with Jessi Cruickshank for an online show that was posted to Facebook.
In the interview, Cruickshank invites several children to ask Trudeau questions. Two young twins asked Trudeau: “Why did you paint your face brown?”
Letting out an “Oooooh,” Trudeau responded by saying: “It was something I shouldn’t have done because it hurt people.” The twins remained silent.
He filled the silence with a long, drawn-out apology.
Cruickshank also has Trudeau answer policy questions while holding a baby, which Trudeau obliged.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has been using two planes on the campaign trail, a 737-800 chartered from Air Transat and this gas-guzzling Boeing 737-200 cargo freighter. (Conservative.ca)
For all of Trudeau’s rhetoric about saving the environment, it was a shock for many to learn the prime minister’s re-election campaign has not one but two airplanes, one for staff and the other for cargo.
The cargo plane, as reported by the Toronto Sun, is a 1960s Boeing 737-200 cargo freighter and is considered one of the “least efficient and worst polluting airliners in current service.”
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer labelled Trudeau during the Oct. 2 French-language debate as a “climate hypocrite” for having two planes.
Amusingly, an unofficial parody Twitter account emerged soon after taking on the persona of Trudeau’s cargo plane, tweeting out where the plane is flying while making jokes about carrying around the PM’s costumes and how much gas is burned per trip.
In response, Trudeau has stated that the Liberal Party is buying carbon offsets to neutralize the CO2 emissions pumped out by trips from the planes.
Omar Khadr leaves Court of Queen’s Bench in Edmonton on March 25, 2019 after a judge declared his sentence expired. (Ian Kucerak/Postmedia) Ian Kucerak Ian Kucerak / Ian Kucerak/Postmedia
Canadian-born Omar Khadr was taken to Afghanistan when he was young by his al-Qaida-affiliated father.
Khadr was detained by the U.S. and pleaded guilty to killing 28-year-old U.S. army medic Christopher Speer. He spent 10 years in Guantanamo Bay.
Khadr appealed the conviction so he could be repatriated to Canada.
He then sued the Canadian government for rights infringements and the lawsuit was settled when the federal government paid out $10.5 million to Khadr and also issued a formal apology to him in 2017.
— With files from Adrienne Batra