Canada Christie Blatchford: Liberal MP Judy Sgro, like Trudeau, is incapable of shame
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In her initial defence of Mr. Blackface, veteran Liberal MP Judy Sgro offered up the usual nonsense: We were all young once and sometimes made poor choices and mistakes, blah, blah, blah.
This would wash, perhaps, if Justin Trudeau was a child when he wore blackface, but he has admitted doing it three times over the course of about a decade, from when he was a student to when, at the age of 29, he was teaching students.
Then radio host Jacqueline Dixon asked what sort of reaction Sgro had been getting from her constituents in Humber River-Black Creek, Ont., only one of the country’s most diverse ridings, with, according to the 2016 census, the highest percentage of visible minorities, particularly people from Latin America, Southeast Asia, Jamaica and Vietnam.
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“Let me tell you that knocking on doors, being in the plazas … to make sure I’m as sensitive as I need to be (on this issue).
“Those in the black community have told me how much more love they have for the prime minister. He wanted to have a black face, he took great pride in it too.
“They’re (black constituents) looking for more ways that they can show how much they support and love the prime minister.”
A couple of hours after the gobsmacking Sept. 28 interview on GBKM FM, a free internet radio station based in Toronto, was posted to Twitter Wednesday by writer Andray Domise and the twitterverse went wild, Sgro attempted to walk the comments back.
The comments were “insensitive” she said on Facebook and “I should have known better, and I apologize.”
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Actually, the comments were not insensitive. They were preposterous, almost certainly untrue, and condescending, in that Sgro, a white woman of 74, was purporting to speak for a diverse array of visible minorities, all of them quite able to speak for themselves without a self-appointed interpreter.
“The history of blackface is deeply racist and it is nothing other than discriminatory,” Sgro continued, borrowing heavily from Trudeau’s own script on the same subject.
“This issue has sparked an important conversation in our country and needs to be treated with great seriousness and sensitivity. I will continue to have these important conversations with my constituents.”
This is easily the dopiest incident in a dopey campaign.
Saying that her black constituents have more love for Trudeau because they were somehow touched that he wanted to have a black face too, just like them, is barely short of insane. It’s not a benign explanation: It presumes that the black population is a monolithic body; it presumes they weren’t insulted or hurt by Trudeau’s penchant for blackface, but somehow pleased.
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There may not have been a super obvious winner — though five of the leaders had their moments — but there sure was a single clear loser. That would be the current prime minister. It was Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s turn — the format of the leaders debate was bizarre and complex, at least to my tiny mind — to ask any of the other leaders a single question, whereupon the recipient of the question got a minute to answer and then in turn, chosen randomly, the others yelled over one another. Scheer immediately turned to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.
And it’s not Sgro’s own explanation.
She attributed this new, deeper love to the black and brown people who live in her riding. They “have told me” of the deeper love, she said, as she knocked on doors and apparently combed the plazas for visible minorities.
And how would Sgro have picked up, in a couple of hours, the knowledge that had apparently mysteriously eluded her over her 32-year-long political career? (She started off in 1987 as a North York councillor, moved through that system until the GTA amalgamation, and was first elected as a Liberal MP in 1999.)
If she knew blackface was “deeply racist,” how on earth could she have made the remarks she did? If she didn’t know, which is what her apology-cum-walkback suggested, how did that manage to escape her notice, especially given she represents a uniquely diverse riding and is hardly a callow youth?
Liberal candidate apologizes for saying Black constituents have ‘much more love’ for Trudeau after blackface scandal
Judy Sgro made the comments in an interview with Toronto-based station GBKM FM on Sept. 28, 2019, her campaign team confirmed.Judy Sgro made the comments in an interview with Toronto-based station GBKM FM on Sept. 28, 2019, her campaign team confirmed to Global News on Wednesday.
And clearly, her statement to the contrary, she has had no conversation with her constituents about this subject, least of all important conversations. Had she done so, were she a remotely sentient being, she wouldn’t have been capable of saying black people love Trudeau more because of the blackface incident.
4) It’s not the responsibility of the Black community to forgive. Stop looking to us for something we do not automatically need to give. JT is not the manager of a local coffee shop. He is the Prime Minister of a G7 country. Stop treating him like a kid and push him to do better.— Celina Caesar-Chavannes (@MPCelina)
As a woman of colour, the former Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes, said on Twitter, “The problem is, Judy, that you did not treat the #blackface issue with seriousness or sensitivity.
“You got your ass handed to you and then decided to put out a statement.”
The ever-more-loved Trudeau, as of writing this Wednesday, has made no comment on either Sgro’s goofy statement or her apology. He can hardly condemn her for her benevolent read on what he did, and what he so easily forgave in himself.
Judy Sgro was once the immigration minister in Paul Martin’s government, for God’s sake. She ended up resigning over allegations that proved baseless and she was cleared of wrongdoing by the then ethics commissioner.
Sgro is in the right party, at least. She and Trudeau seem immune from shame, when they should be suffused with it.
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Jody Wilson-Raybould Is Justin Trudeau’s Worst Nightmare .
She’s kind of the AOC of Canada.Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.