Photo of Justin Trudeau appearing in ‘brownface’ published by Time Magazine

Thursday, 19 Sep, 2019

Trudeau has said he was standing up for jobs.

According to Time, which obtained a copy of the 2000-2001 West Point Grey Academy yearbook in which the photo appears, Trudeau, then 29, was an instructor at the school.

"It was a photo taken in 2001 while he was teaching in Vancouver, at a school's annual dinner which had a costume theme of "Arabian Nights"," Ahmad said.

"Racism is real; people in this room have felt it".

Asked whether it was the only instance of its kind, Trudeau admitted that during a high school talent show, he wore makeup while performing a version of Harry Belafonte's "Banana Boat Song (Day-O)", although he didn't explicitly say the makeup was dark. "I regret it deeply".

He said it was a racist act, though he didn't realize it at the time.

"(For) communities and people who live with intersectionalities and face discrimination, it is a significant thing that is very hurtful".

However, the media relations lead for the Liberal Party, Zita Astravas, confirmed to Time it was Trudeau in the photo. "It's insulting. Any time we hear examples of brownface or blackfacing, it's making a mockery of someone for what they lived", said Singh, who provided his immediate reaction.

"The wearing of blackface/brownface is reprehensible, and hearkens back to a history of racism and an Orientalist mythology which is unacceptable", he added. Of the individuals in six photographs from the event published in the yearbook, Trudeau appears to be the only one who darkened his skin.

Trudeau is a fervent advocate of the multiculturalism integral to Canadian identity, and at least six members of his cabinet have Asian or African heritage.

Many Canadians are of South Asian and Middle Eastern descent and Mr Trudeau has four Sikhs in his Cabinet.

Both the ministers were women and one was Canada's first indigenous attorney general.

The photo became public just one week after Trudeau launched his reelection campaign vying for a second term.

Before Trudeau spoke to media, the National Council of Canadian Muslims called on the Liberal Leader to apologize in light of the photo.

The location of this picture is also relevant to Trudeau's re-election bid.