Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took a knee in support of the anti-racist protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd at an Ottawa rally, but was quickly reminded of little action on racial issues at home.
Trudeau joined dozens of demonstrators outside the Canadian parliament who rallied in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in the US and over the death of Floyd, an African-American during his arrest by a white police officer. He did not speak at the event, but clapped and nodded along with other speakers and chants.
His kneeling has been hailed by his supporters as he might be the first world leader to have done so, but was met with considerable criticism as well.
Some hecklers may be heard during the event shouting “Go home, blackface,” referring to multiple photos of Trudeau wearing the problematic makeup on multiple occasions.
— Turdeau Not PM (@turdeau) June 5, 2020
Commenters on social media also reminded Trudeau of his past faux pas saying “you don’t need lectures on racism from people who wear blackface.”
RT if you don't need lectures on racism from people who wear blackface like Ralph Northam & Justin Trudeau!
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) June 5, 2020
Trudeau has been facing tough questions over his record of dealing with racism and discrimination in Canada that go beyond his youthful transgressions. Critics accused him of doing nothing but talking over inequalities that black and indigenous people face in Canada. New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh challenged Trudeau to actually do something about disproportionate incarceration of black people and damages done by the welfare system to First Nations kids this week.
The Prime Minister has also been called out for continuing to approve construction of pipelines through the land of indigenous people despite protests and his own promises.
After Justin Trudeau joined the climate march for a photo-op he doubled down on building the pipeline. #cdnpoli
— Derrick O'Keefe 🌹 (@derrickokeefe) June 5, 2020
The Prime Minister’s previous attempt at interacting with the George Floyd movement also provided mixed results. When asked about his response to Donald Trump calling for military force to pacify the protests, Trudeau couldn’t give an answer for more than 20 seconds. And even then, his answer was less than satisfying to many.
Asked about Trump's handling of the protests, Trudeau pauses for 22 sec (!!) before offering meaningless platitudes; no condemnation or even criticism.
Had it been a non-Western country, there would've been no pause followed by a strong condemnation and probably some sanctions. https://t.co/6YSVs2Hmf7
— Trita Parsi (@tparsi) June 2, 2020
He also could not give a coherent reply when asked if Canada would pay reparations and apologize for slavery.