The fate of the USMCA trade agreement may face a potential snag in light of a new political storm facing Canadien Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. On Wednesday, Time reported that Trudeau wore brownface make up to a 2001 party at the private school where he taught. The magazine also obtained a photo of the incident.
In the photo, which appeared in West Point Grey Academy’s 2000-2001 yearbook, Trudeau appears in a turban and robes and poses with dark makeup on his face and hands during an “Arabian Nights” theme party. At the time, Trudeau was a 29-year-old teacher at the Vancouver school.
Representatives for the Office of the Prime Minister referred comment to the Liberty Party of Canada. Liberal Party spokesperson Zita Astravas confirmed to Time that the photo is authentic.
“It was a photo taken while he was teaching in Vancouver, at the school’s annual dinner which had a costume theme of ‘Arabian Nights.’ He attended with friends and colleagues dressed as a character from Aladdin,” Astravas said in a statement to the magazine.
Vancouver-based businessman Michael Adamson supplied a copy of the yearbook to Time. Adamson was not present at the party but is a member of the West Point Grey Academy community and told Time he felt it should be made public.
The photo surfaced as Trudeau seeks re-election ahead of an Oct. 21 vote. Trudeau, now 47, won a decisive victory to assume the role of prime minister in 2015, but has been under pressure in recent days amid allegations that he pressured his former attorney general to drop a criminal case against a Quebec-based engineering firirm.
Trudeau has also been working with President Trump to get a new trade agreement in place between Canada and the United States to replace NAFTA. Last month at the G-7 Summit, Trudeau told reporters that the U.S. and Canada have a deal that’s “good for our workers, good for our citizens, good for the middle class.”
Neither the legislatures of Canada or the U.S -- or the third party in the agreement, Mexico -- have ratified the proposed trade agreement