Robin Goldsbury, the Liberal Party candidate for Kootenay-Columbia, says she accepts an apology from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for a picture that shows him wearing brown face in 2001. Photo submitted

Liberals’ Kootenay-Columbia candidate stands by Trudeau despite scandal

Robin Goldsbury says the prime minister’s racist photo is a learning opportunity

The Liberal candidate for Kootenay-Columbia says she was stunned to see a picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wearing brown face makeup, but she accepts his apology.

Robin Goldsbury said she initially thought the picture of Trudeau, who can be seen wearing brown face as well as brown makeup on his hands in an Aladdin costume during a party in 2001, was a fake when it was made public last week.

“It was insensitive, it was stupid and he should have known better,” said Goldsbury. “He has apologized, and honestly he’s profoundly sorry.”

Goldsbury is running her first campaign as a candidate in an area that has never elected a Liberal since the early 20th century.

While she believes Trudeau is contrite, Goldsbury distanced herself from the prime minister and said her campaign is about local representation on issues such as the ongoing Columbia River Treaty negotiations.

“I’m disappointed. That’s a big part of why our campaign is devoted to the Kootenay-Columbia,” she said. “We are focused on our issues here. We are focused away from leadership and overall party politics and looking at what’s important to people in the Kootenay-Columbia.”

The Kootenay-Columbia riding, which includes Nelson, Creston, Cranbrook, Fernie, Golden, Revelstoke and Kimberley, has a total population of 112,354 according to the 2016 census.

Of that population, 11,590 people identify as immigrants while 7,865 identify as Indigenous. Visible minorities, meanwhile, account for 3,980 of Kootenay-Columbia’s population.

Goldsbury said Trudeau’s scandal is an opportunity to talk about racism at the local level.

“I think talking about sensitivity to other cultures is important,” she said.

“My hope is we look at this from a perspective of hey, it was wrong, he’s sorry and gosh, where are we in our lives showing that insensitivity? Where in our lives can we do better? Where can we look for ways to be more sensitive, to be more inclusive?”

Related:

Third instance of Trudeau in skin-darkening makeup emerges

Photos surface of Conservative candidate at B.C. event with people in blackface

‘Troubling, insulting’: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh reacts to Trudeau’s brownface photo



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

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