The Liberal candidate for Cariboo Prince George said she’s disappointed but hopes Canada will accept Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s apology about his ‘brownface’ incidents.
“It’s disappointing whenever you see something like that,” Tracy Calogheros told media in Prince George Thursday. “I heard about it first listening to Justin Trudeau speak on the airplane.”
Her first impression, she said, was that Trudeau was sincere about his apology.
When asked again if she did not hear about it first from within the party, Calogheros said she was on the road in Quesnel Wednesday knocking on doors, attending an event and wasn’t checking her phone or looking at media.
“I didn’t know anything about it until there was something on the media.”
The photos, she said, are not indicative of racism, within his family or his party, but were a ‘horrible mistake,’ and ‘clearly a blind spot.’
“He has said several times they were originating from the layers of privilege he grew up with. All you have to do is look at his track record since he has entered public life to really see what his impetus has been,” Calogheros said.
Trudeau, she added, is working against racism, bigotry, and been nothing but welcome newcomers to Canada from all over the world.
“I think everyone is going to have to think about it and deal with it in their own way. I think there are people who have never had to deal with racism because of the colour of their skin and they won’t have the same response as someone that has lived that racialized experience as a Canadian every day of their life.”
Calogheros said she does not know how the photographs surfaced, but said that does not negate the fact that they existed.
“They certainly aren’t what the party stands for and I certainly hope it does not derail all the good work that is happening here in Cariboo Prince George,” she said. “We’ve just had some fabulous announcements here in forestry, and help for displaced workers.”
She said she hopes Canadians will accept Trudeau’s apology and move forward with the campaign and the ‘good work’ that is happening.
Trudeau’s focus on the country’s Indigenous communities is an example of that good work, she said.
“He has lifted 87 Indigenous communities out of boil water advisories. That’s important work. He has worked hard to receive refugees in Canada and to encourage the world to see all people of different ethnicities as equal and having things to bring to the table.”
When asked if the situation will be a hit to the campaign, she responded, ‘yes there will be a hit,’ but that’s more about how people talk to each other about it.
“Nobody has got to the point where they are in life without making mistakes. We all learn from our mistakes. I believe his apology and I hope Canada will as well.”