EDITORIAL: Trudeau needs to blame himself, not the rest of us

There was a brief moment where it seemed like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau understood the magnitude of what he had done. That was the very night the first blackface story broke, when Trudeau stood in front of the cameras on his airplane and offered an apology and denounced his own past actions as racist.

The question would then be up to voters for them to determine whether they forgive him or not. That was before things got worse. Much worse.

We have since learned there were a couple of other instances of blackface. And maybe more, as Trudeau has declined to clarify.

His attitude in response, as he’s been dogged by reporters and protesters, has also changed. He’s become somewhat defiant. He’s no longer accepting total blame. He’s now trying to shirk responsibility by blaming society.

Trudeau was asked for more specifics about his blackface antics by a reporter on Sunday and this was his response: “I think there are a lot of Canadians through the past days who are reflecting on and learning more about the racist history of blackface. And that is something that certainly is something that we are all talking about and I am certainly reflecting on deeply.”

This answer doesn’t just show contempt for the media and public in its shameless refusal to dodge the question and offer up real answers. It also shows contempt for the public by trying to force them to shoulder the blame.

Here the PM is suggesting that many Canadians did not know blackface was wrong. He’s lumping us all in with him and suggesting that he’s provided a learning opportunity for the nation.

Rubbish. Trudeau wore blackface. Full stop. This is not about “us” or “we” or any sort of national conversation.

The 1990s was not the age of segregation, some sort of pre-civil rights era, where regular citizens were ignorant of race relations. It’s an insult to anyone in their 30s and older to suggest that they did not know blackface was socially unacceptable at the time.

Trudeau needs to shoulder the blame himself and leave everyone else out of it.