TORONTO (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, embroiled in a blackface image scandal, on Friday pledged to ban military-style assault rifles within the nation’s most ethnically numerous metropolis in a bid to get his marketing campaign again on situation.
Trudeau is campaigning in Toronto with lower than 5 weeks to go earlier than his Liberals struggle an Oct. 21 nationwide election and two days after at the least two bombshell photos of him in blackface emerged, in addition to a video displaying him with blacked up face and physique carrying a curly haired wig.
The scandal over the photographs – which may propel the rival Conservative Celebration into energy – continues to be dominating headlines each at dwelling and overseas.
U.S. President Donald Trump, who has clashed with Trudeau prior to now, mentioned within the Oval Workplace on Friday, “I’m stunned and I used to be extra stunned once I noticed the variety of occasions.”
Trudeau, 47, sidestepped questions each about Trump’s feedback and whether or not the affair had broken Canada’s picture overseas, repeating that he was very sorry for what he had carried out when youthful.
Liberals want to hold onto Toronto, Canada’s largest metropolis, to have any probability of retaining energy. Town has confronted a current escalation in gun violence, and that why Trudeau made his gun ban announcement there.
“Ideas and prayers aren’t going to chop it,” Trudeau informed a information convention. “We all know you don’t want a navy grade assault weapon, one designed to kill the biggest variety of folks within the shortest period of time, to take down a deer.”
This month, a 17-year-old was killed by gunfire and 5 different folks have been wounded in a group simply exterior of Toronto, and two days later one other particular person was killed in a taking pictures on a serious freeway.
4 members of cupboard turned up on the announcement to point out their assist, together with Finance Minister Invoice Morneau and Overseas Minister Chrystia Freeland. Round two dozen legislators and candidates have been additionally current and Trudeau shook arms or hugged each Liberal on the stage on the finish of the occasion.
Freeland, who represents a parliamentary constituency in Toronto, mentioned in an announcement late yesterday she was “troubled and disillusioned” by photos of the prime minister in blackface, however that she accepted his apology.
SELFIES AND HECKLES
Earlier within the day, Trudeau walked down the road in Toronto’s Danforth district, the place the sitting Liberal member of parliament faces a tricky struggle.
The general public he met appeared delighted to satisfy him, together with a younger girl who embraced him 4 occasions and posed for a selfie.
Keep-at-home father Stu Simmons mentioned the blackface picture was not vital so long as Trudeau did his job.
“I dressed up as The Hulk once I was 18 and nobody’s going to get mad at me about that, besides maybe the Martians,” he informed Reuters.
Not everybody was welcoming. “The place’s your black face, man?” shouted one girl at Trudeau. “Good morning,” he replied.
Liberals mentioned that whereas the scandal is politically damaging, voters will finally be extra eager about concrete measures similar to the brand new gun guidelines.
These introduced on Friday embody a buyback program for all legally bought assault rifles, and a Liberal authorities would additionally work with different ranges of presidency to present municipalities the flexibility to additional limit or ban handguns.
Earlier than the blackface photos emerged two days in the past, polls confirmed Trudeau working head-to-head along with his important rival, Conservative Celebration chief Andrew Scheer.
When requested about gun management earlier than Trudeau’s announcement, Scheer mentioned he doesn’t imagine “blanket bans” are efficient and that boosting police sources “to go after felony and unlawful firearms” works higher.
Trudeau’s marketing campaign was upended when Time journal on Wednesday printed a picture of the prime minister, who is understood to be a robust advocate for multiculturalism, along with his face blackened at a 2001 “Arabian Nights” social gathering when he was a 29-year-old trainer at a Vancouver personal college.
Different photos have since emerged, and Trudeau mentioned on Thursday he was “cautious” of ruling out the existence of much more as a result of he couldn’t bear in mind people who had already come to gentle.
On Friday, Trudeau mentioned a video that emerged on Thursday displaying him along with his arms, face and even elements of his legs blackened got here from a dressing up day when he labored as a whitewater rafting information on the Crimson River in Quebec, when he was in his early 20s.
Extra reporting by Steve Holland in Washington and Kelsey Johnson and Steve Scherer in Ottawa; writing by David Ljunggren and Steve Scherer, Modifying by David Gregorio and Nick Zieminski