Yes, the world's a stage for Trudeau ... and people are just his props


National Post, 27 September 2019

Trudeau could have said sorry and let Jagmeet Singh decide how to handle the brownface scandal publicly. But the PM didn't want it done backstage; he wanted the spotlight.

A week into the Justin Trudeau blackface drama, there has been praise for the comments and conduct of NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh — beginning with praise from Conservative party Leader Andrew Scheer.

Singh deserves much credit for refusing to be used “as a tool in (Trudeau’s) exoneration,” as he put it. Trudeau had asked for a meeting with Singh in order to personally apologize, but Singh saw it for what it was, a desire to set a scene in which Trudeau the apparently-mortified and latterly-enlightened would take centre stage, and Singh would be there as a prop. Singh refused that scenario, and took a private call from Trudeau instead, with the press alerted only afterwards.

Of course, if Trudeau had just wanted to apologize he could have simply called Singh without announcing to the country that he desired a public meeting in which to offer his ostentatious contrition. He could have said sorry and let Singh decide how to handle it publicly. But Trudeau did not want something done backstage; he wanted the spotlight.

My colleague Joseph Brean looked at the “high school drama teacher” angle of Trudeau’s explanations for his pattern of blackface appearances — too numerous to remember, apparently — in these pages last Saturday. Yet there is another angle to that, not so much that the prime minister likes to be melodramatic in the lead role, but that he regards everyone else as props.

That’s what he wanted to do to Jagmeet Singh. Trudeau has been doing that a long time.

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