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Local Liberal candidates say they accept Trudeau’s apology
Bardish Chagger, the Liberal candidate in Waterloo and former House Leader, says she continues to support Justin Trudeau.
“I could tell that he regretted the decision he made,” she told CTV from her campaign office. “I could tell that he knew it was wrong and I could tell that he knew people were hurt by a decision he made.”
Chagger says she was out campaigning when the photos of the Libreal leader, wearing brownface and blackface, surfaced on Wednesday.
Trudeau publically apologized, saying it was unacceptable, and admitted that he should have known better.
"I let a lot of people down with that choice and stand here today and reflect, and ask for forgiveness," he said. "I didn't understand how hurtful it is to peole that live with discrimination every day. I have always acknowledged that I have come from a place of privilege, but that also comes with a massive blind spot."
Chagger isn't the only Liberal candidate standing by Trudeau.
Raj Saini, the candidate for Kitchener Centre, sent CTV a statement which reads in part: “The Prime Minister’s apology was sincere, and unequivocal. He recognizes his actions were unacceptable and has taken full responsibility. These actions do not reflect the man I have worked closely with over the past four years. We all learn from past behavior, admit mistakes, accept responsibility, and move forward.”
Marwan Tabbara also shared his thoughts in a statement: “I accept Justin Trudeau’s clear and sincere apology for his past behavior. Over the past 4 years working together with him, the Prime Minister has shown himself to be an extraordinarily progressive leader. He has earned my trust, and continues to have my trust and full support.”
Candidates in the other parties weren’t as convinced.
Jerry Zhang, the Conservative candidate for Waterloo, had some strong words about Trudeau.
“It was just as racist in 2001 as it is in 2019. Canadians should know now that the leader of our country has a total lack of judgement and integrity. And his bad judgement and poor integrity aren’t just limited to the past 4 years. He is not fit to govern this country.”
Another candidate in the Waterloo riding was also voicing her doubts.
“What is most concerning for me is that we see this pattern of behavior,” says the NDP's Lori Campbell. “And it’s different, the persona that he’s trying to give off.”
CTV also reached out to Green Party candidate Kristen Wright for comment but did not receive a response.
Chagger, who first won the seat in 2015 and quickly became a cabinet minister, says she doesn’t believe her leader is a racist. She points out that she’s a person of colour and it was Trudeau who made her the first female House Leader.
“It shows me we have come a long way,” she says. “But we have a lot more work to do. And by having these tough conversations we will get there.”