Leftist Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is facing growing calls to resign after a turbulent 24 hours in which multiple media outlets published images of him in blackface or “brownface,” darkening his skin to mock Middle Eastern people.
While likely the most eye-catching of his many embarrassments while in office, Trudeau’s fondness for racist face paint has landed him in only the latest of a series of scandals and humiliations. As prime minister, Trudeau will leave a record of praising human rights criminals, flagrantly breaking ethics rules, hobnobbing with shady foreign agents, and punishing people of color who attempt to hold him to his own rules.
Below, five lowlights from Trudeau’s pre-blackface career as head of Canada’s government.
Expelling an Indigenous Woman from His Party for Doing Her Job
The most recent scandal to stain Trudeau’s image — metaphorically, unlike the current debacle — resulted in the prime minister firing the first member of an indigenous Canadian nation to hold the title of justice minister in history. Jody Wilson-Raybould earned her dismissal by making public proof that Trudeau’s administration was pressuring her to shut down an investigation into corruption at SNC-Lavalin, a Canadian construction company.
SNC-Lavalin stood accused of bribing the dictatorship of Muammar Qaddafi in Libya.
Trudeau expelled Wilson-Raybould after publishing audio of former Privy Council Clerk Michael Wernick pressuring her to close the case, which he said had triggered a “civil war” within the Liberal Party, apparently a bigger crime than bribing the Qaddafi family.
Trudeau, a self-proclaimed feminist, also ousted Jane Philpott, a former Liberal Party minister, for also helping expose Trudeau administration pressure on the justice system to go easy on SNC-Lavalin.
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? (A Terrorist)
During his notorious 2018 visit to India, Trudeau outraged his hosts by inviting Jaspal Atwal, a Canadian-Indian Sikh separatist terrorist, to dinner with Indian officials in Delhi and a separate event in Mumbai. Atwal attended the Mumbai event and took photos with Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau. The invitation was seen as especially insulting to the current Indian government given that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the leader of a Hindu nationalist party, one repeatedly accused of excusing violence against other religious minorities.
In response to outrage from Indian officials and media observers, the Canadian government ultimately withdrew its invitation to Atwal to the dinner. As the Telegraph explained at the time:
Atwal, a Canadian Sikh based in Canada, was convicted of trying to assassinate Punjab minister Malkiat Singh Sondhi while he was on a visit to Vancouver, in 1986. Mr Sondhi was shot twice and survived, but was later killed in India by pro-Khalistan activists.
Breaking His Own Ethics Rules by Disappearing to the Bahamas (with Taxpayer Funding)
Canadians spent a significant percentage of the beginning of 2017 with no idea where their prime minister was. In a recorded message, Trudeau told Canadians the new year was a “once in a lifetime opportunity to ring in the new year together,” but journalists revealed shortly thereafter that Trudeau spent the new year nowhere near Canada. Trudeau was in the Caribbean, using the head of a registered lobbying organization’s private jet to travel to his private island in the “Hamptons of the Bahamas” with his family.
The Aga Khan, the head of the Ismaili branch of Shia Islam whose Aga Khan Foundation is registered to lobby in Canada, invited the Trudeaus to spend the new year with him. Using his private jet to reach his island, ethics investigators found, was a violation of ethics rules Trudeau himself had enacted.
The scandal fizzled out in light of subsequent Trudeau corruption scandals.
Wining and Dining Chinese Billionaires
Trudeau has a habit of partying with people as wealthy as he is, a hobby that pushes the limits of Canadian political ethics laws. In 2016, Trudeau made an appearance at a fundraiser for the Liberal Party at the home of Benson Wong, the chair of the Chinese Business Chamber of Commerce. Present were several millionaires and billionaires, some of whom got the invite by spending lavishly on the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. Zhang Bin, a Chinese businessman, had “donated” $1 million Canadian dollars to the Foundation — founded by the late former prime minister and Trudeau’s father — before Wong generously invited him to party with the prime minister.
Canadian laws ban cash-for-access exchanges.
Trudeau defended his corruption by claiming that it would bring more middle-class jobs to Canada.
‘Remarkable Leader’ Fidel Castro
In yet another insulting display against people of color, Trudeau marked the occasion of the death of Fidel Castro — Cuba’s longtime dictator and author of countless human rights abuses such as the use of labor camps, torture, rape, and murder — by extending “condolences” to the (then-partying) Cuban community and lauding the communist tyrant as a “legendary revolutionary” who had “tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people.”
“A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation,” Trudeau said at the time.
Cuba’s healthcare system has sorely lacked basic medicines for years, does not serve people without connections to the Communist Party, and serves as a smokescreen for the world’s largest state-sponsored slave trade.
“Both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for ‘el Comandante,’” Trudeau claimed.
Pierre Trudeau was a longtime friend of Fidel Castro’s; Castro served alongside Justin Trudeau as an honorary pallbearer in Pierre Trudeau’s funeral.