Weiler responds to Trudeau blackface controversy 

Liberal candidate makes Whistler stop amid national campaign turmoil

click to enlarge PHOTO BY BRADEN DUPUIS - Liberal candidate Patrick Weiler addresses a crowd of Whistlerites at Caramba during a meet and greet on Sept. 20.
  • Photo By Braden Dupuis
  • Liberal candidate Patrick Weiler addresses a crowd of Whistlerites at Caramba during a meet and greet on Sept. 20.

More than two dozen people showed up to a meet-and-greet at Caramba hosted by Liberal candidate Patrick Weiler on Friday, Sept. 20, just two days after photographs showing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in blackface—on at least three separate occasions—plunged the Liberals' national campaign into disarray.

The first photo to surface showed Trudeau with dark makeup on his face, neck and hands, at an "Arabian Nights" party at West Point Grey Academy in Vancouver, the school where Trudeau was a teacher, in 2001.

A second surfaced soon after, from Trudeau's high school yearbook, followed by a short clip from a video taken in the early '90s, in which Trudeau wore an Afro wig, along with black paint on his face, arms and legs.

The Prime Minister wasted no time apologizing, calling the photos "unacceptable" and "racist."

"I think everybody was a bit disappointed to see the pictures," Weiler said in an interview after the event, adding that the photos don't represent what the Prime Minister, or the Liberal Party, are all about.

"This has been a party that proudly is saying that diversity is our strength, and the makeup of cabinet and in caucus really reflects that strength," he said.

"And really the policies that have been brought forth over the last four years and just really the incredible pride that Canadians felt when we admitted 25,000 Syrian refuges, and the ongoing work that the government has done to fight racial intolerance, I think that's really what the government is all about."

Asked if he was concerned about lasting impact to his or the federal campaign, Weiler said his concern was more that the campaign may go down the road where things become personal and focused on personal attacks.

"I really hope that it doesn't go down that route, because I think what people want is to focus on what the main issues are, and to see what each of the different candidates and what the different parties are offering to address those issues," he said.

"So those are going to be the things that I'm going to be focused on, and those are going to be the things that we're going to be bringing up in the many all-candidates debates that are coming up, including in Whistler (on Wednesday, Oct. 9 at the Maury Young Arts Centre)."

A self-described "policy wonk," Weiler—a 33-year-old environmental and natural resource lawyer—said he's excited to get into the debates, and to explore some of the issues he's hearing about from Whistlerites: climate change, housing and affordability chief among them.

"This riding as a whole is quite unique, but really Whistler is quite distinct [from] other parts of the country, and I think specific policy needs to reflect that," he said.

"So I'd like to see what we can do to develop some pilot projects that can address the specific issues and opportunities that we have in tourism-based resort municipalities like Whistler."

Also running in the Sea to Sky are: The Conservative Party's Gabrielle Loren, the NDP's Judith Wilson, The Green Party's Dana Taylor and the People's Party's Robert (Doug) Bebb. Read more about the campaign here: https://www.piquenewsmagazine.com/whistler/election-43-in-full-swing/Content?oid=14428513

Election day is Monday, Oct. 21.

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