Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAY.com | Opinion

PARRY SOUND-MUSKOKA — Election Day may be a month away, but the vote was Thursday.

Canadians decided the next prime minister — one way or the other — after seeing multiple pictures of a young racist Justin Trudeau in black- and brown-face.

Then hearing his apologies.

“I’m sorry!”

It’s so Canadian, isn’t it.

All of this in less than 24 hours.

Forget the past eight days and the next 32.

After Oct. 21 you can look back to this one moment.

Gut reactions were instant, without reflection or context.

A game-changer for sure, either re-enforcing decisions in peoples’ minds or turning them upside down.

The Trudeau tightrope is treacherous no matter how you look at it.

If you accept his apology and dismiss it as the reckless act decades ago of an ignorant rich kid born into — and acting out — in a world of personal and political “privilege,” you risk being accused of belittling one of greatest issues of our time.

If you don’t accept his apology, you’re saying that no one changes; your past is your present. And the skeletons in everyone’s online closet are fair game.

That’s so American, isn’t it.

Wasn’t it in John.8 (1) that Jesus said: “He that is without sin among you, let him cast a stone at her.”

So, for certain, Day 9 in the campaign did make and break political careers.

Canadians will have either rallied behind Trudeaumania again and give him a second majority; or the NDP, Greens and Conservatives steal enough votes for a minority Liberal government; or Andrew Scheer surprises everyone and makes the incumbent a one-term prime minister.

We’ll have to wait to see if voters did “Choose Forward” or choose past.

Time magazine published this photo of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in brown face at an Alladin dress-up event when he was a teacher 18 years ago. Later, other similar photos of him surfaced including a video of him in black face from high school. He apologized profusely for his actions and asked for forgiveness from all Canadians.


What a difference a day makes, for sure.

Another party leader was in Gravenhurst overnight Tuesday.

Elizabeth May dropped in to try and boost the profile and campaign of her Green Party guy Gord Miller (no relation to MPP Norm Miller).

Miller — who appeared on TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin Monday — was all over the map in his remarks at a town hall they shared, talking about the climate crisis racing around the world.

May was similarly of one mind, spending much of her speech taking bows and name-dropping everyone from Stan Darling to Winston Churchill, Greta Thunberg and David Suzuki.

She said the Darling of the PS-Muskoka Tories was the riding’s first “green MP” for slaying acid rain. She was a researcher with the Conservatives in the early 1970s — but not a card-carrying member.

She did drop using Jack Layton’s name, after his son, Mike, asked her not to use his dad’s name when referring to a new Green candidate who was a former Quebec NDPer.

She was also chastised in a CBC piece for comparing the Greens’ fight against climate change to Churchill “can-do spirit.”

She wrote in the intro to the Green Party platform that the evacuation of British troops from the beaches of Dunkirk, France, was carried out by small boat owners, when in fact a fleet of large ships did most of the heavy lifting.

However, her campaign carbon footprint coming here was about as low she could go without walking across the country.

She did have one important follower, beyond a small entourage of two aides and a CTV videographer from Barrie.

Ian Austen, the Canada correspondent for the New York Times, tagged along to do an interview with her at Miller’s Muskoka Road S. campaign office.

He also followed her to the Muskoka Discovery Centre, where she was greenly greeted by the largest local crowd on Parry Sound-Muskoka campaign trail.

The next day Austen was back writing about Trudeau for the newspaper’s vast American and worldwide readership.

Meanwhile, some 200 devout Greens crammed the museum, eager to hear May re-enforce their views on the burning planet and the message that had until Wednesday set the tone in the early going before the aforementioned Canada crisis.

One wonders what A.P. Cockburn, the founder of Gravenhurst and a Liberal MP from 1872-1887, would think of Elizabeth May and Justin Trudeau.

Email Mark Clairmont at mark@muskokatoday.com

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