Liberal incumbent Michael McLeod says he accepts Justin Trudeau’s apology after the prime minister was forced to beg for forgiveness following the release of photos and a video of him dressing up in blackface and brownface in the early 1990s and in 2001.

“I think it was wrong for him to do that,” said McLeod. “He has acknowledged that it was wrong and he has apologized and he was sincere as the politician that I have come to know.”

NWT MP Michael McLeod said it was wrong for Trudeau to wear blackface and brownface but he accepts his apology and said it was sincere. NNSL file photo

McLeod, who was in Fort McPherson on Friday, said he has visited nine communities since the federal campaign started and was between communities when the news broke on Wednesday. 

The top issues he has been hearing about have been housing, the economy, the cost of living, land claims and self-government, he said.

As for the brownface scandal, McLeod said it has only come up in the form of a few jokes from constituents.

“No,” he said when asked if it had been brought up on the campaign trail. “I have heard it a few times but nobody has raised it as a controversial subject.”

He doesn’t expect the incident will hurt his efforts to be re-elected, he said. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been repeatedly apologizing since Wednesday after photographs and a video surfaced of the embattled Liberal leader darkening his face.

“This is something that I deeply, deeply regret. Darkening your face regardless of the context or circumstances is always unacceptable because of the racist history of blackface. I should have understood that then and I never should have done it,” Trudeau said Thursday at a press conference in Winnipeg.

“I have always acknowledged that I come from a place of privilege, but I now need to acknowledge that comes with a massive blind spot,” he continued.

McLeod’s opponents from every major political party denounced Trudeau’s actions.

Yanik D’Aigle, Conservative candidate, said he was “extremely shocked and disappointed” as wearing brown or black face is a display of “open mockery and racism.”

NDP candidate Mary Beckett said it was important to think about those who experience racism as her leader Jagmeet Singh had stated in a video earlier this week.

Green Party candidate Paul Falvo said Trudeau should have known better given that he grew up in 24 Sussex, was an adult when he put on the makeup and had every opportunity in a privileged life to know the negative impacts of what he was doing.

Luke Quinlan, the People’s Party of Canada candidate, called the act hypocritical given the standards the prime minister has set for others.

McLeod said he has been in touch with the Prime Minister’s Office since the photos emerged, but wouldn’t disclose what was discussed.

Former Premier Stephen Kakfwi went so far as to say Trudeau should resign. McLeod would not comment on Kakfwi’s opinion.

“I leave everyone to have their own opinion and won’t comment,” he said.

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa.. Simon can be reached at (867)...

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  1. Thank you Michael McLeod for your comment, some will never accept what was done by Justin Trudeau, they will continue to back lash him no matter how many times he continues to apologize. Stephen Kawfi (sp) were you ever in a play during your residential school years? Or how many students that have gone through residential school where they did a play and/or skid to represent others. Do you remember being in a play, had to dress up and color their faces, was it racist back then? I always feel that when politics roll around, the candidates that are running are forever try fault in others, dig into their past hoping to find dirt, just to win. No one is perfect, as the saying goes ‘what goes around comes around’…..