Premier John Horgan talks with coastal Indigenous chiefs at event marking salmon farm monitoring agreement, B.C. legislature, Sept. 19, 2019. (B.C. government)

Premier John Horgan talks with coastal Indigenous chiefs at event marking salmon farm monitoring agreement, B.C. legislature, Sept. 19, 2019. (B.C. government)

B.C. Premier John Horgan worried about ‘rise of racism’ in Canada

Asked to comment on Justin Trudeau’s ‘blackface’ incidents

Premier John Horgan’s announcement Thursday was about Indigenous reconciliation, but he couldn’t avoid a question about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “blackface” photos surfacing from 2001 and their effect on race relations.

Trudeau has been called on to explain a series of pictures and a video that surfaced this week, depicting him in blackface makeup. The incidents date from 2001 when he was a teacher at a Vancouver private school, and earlier.

“I was as shocked as all Canadians to see the images and the prime minister’s response,” Horgan said Thursday. “I spoke with my parliamentary secretary Ravi Kahlon today, who has been a racism outreach and education tour of British Columbia. We’ve seen a rise in racism here in B.C. and in fact across North America and in Europe over the past number of years.”

RELATED: Trudeau stayed silent because he was embarrassed

Horgan said he doesn’t believe he has done anything “culturally insensitive” in his life, “but have I done stupid things in my life? Absolutely.”

He said people should be accountable for all of their conduct, even if it occurred many years ago.

“If I could offer any advice to the prime minister, it is to acknowledge that it was absolutely foolish, and to put it in the context of school setting, even harder to get your head around,” Horgan said. “But I am not without fault when it comes to stupidity, I assure you of that. I grew up in an era before Facebook, and I’m very grateful for that.”


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