Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had an odd response Monday for a reporter who confronted him about the blackface scandal that has generated international backlash.
Following a debate Monday between Canada’s six party leaders — which featured a clash between Trudeau and Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer — Keene Bexte, a reporter for Rebel Media, confronted Trudeau about the scandal plaguing his campaign.
“Since your multiple use of blackface became an international scandal, Canada’s international reputation has been irreparably harmed. Have you reached out to any African leaders or any leaders from the Middle East to apologize for your conduct,” Bexte asked.
In response, Trudeau ignored the question and invoked Canada’s commitment to fighting climate change.
“Canada will continue to engage in a positive, constructive way around the world, standing up for human rights, engaging with leaders right around the world because we know that promoting our values and prosperity for everyone around the world is good for Canadians and creates better opportunities,” he said.
Bexte shot back, “So, that didn’t answer the question at all. Have you spoken to any African leaders or any leaders from the Middle East to apologize for your personal conduct?”
But Trudeau again dodged the question completely.
“I have continued to engage with leaders around the world in a responsible way,” he said. “During an election campaign, my focus is connecting with Canadians as I was able to tonight. And I was very pleased to see so many of the questions turned to the environment.
“In all sections there was a clear contrast between those on stage who don’t think we should be fighting climate change and those of us who do,” he continued. “And again, we are the only party with a clear plan to fight climate change.”
Photos of a younger Trudeau in blackface as recently as 2001 surfaced last month, igniting a firestorm of controversy amid his battle to remain Canada’s prime minister. Trudeau has deflected the controversy by discussing climate change and gun control.