Trudeau's campaign will 'move past' brownface scandal, U of R political scientist predicts
Justin Trudeau's campaign will be able to "move past" the brownface scandal that broke earlier this week, University of Regina political scientist Jim Farney says.
The Liberals have been in crisis mode after a series of photos and videos of Trudeau in brownface and blackface surfaced on the campaign trail. Trudeau spoke at a town hall in Saskatoon on Thursday night.
Farney stopped by CTV Morning Live on Friday morning to recap the first two weeks of the federal election trail, including the latest scandal.
He said most of the communities who are affected by the images are willing to accept Trudeau's apology and move forward.
"If we heard back from other large communities saying, 'No, actually, we think there's deeper problems here,' then we'd be into some sort of deeper crisis," Farney said. "But, I think he'll move past it. It will change the campaign."
Farney added the scandal could be good news for the NDP, as it will keep them in the 2019 election campaign.
Some have called for Trudeau's resignation, but Farney doesn’t think it's necessary for him to step aside.
"This is why I think the community reaction matters so much," Farney said. "One of the reasons many other candidates would resign is they don’t have the, we'll call it inclusivity because that's the language Trudeau would use. The Liberals are traditionally the party of immigrants and visible minorities, and in a sense it's an own goal in a way that, for Scheer or for Bernier, it would be ending because their parties traditionally have struggled to include folks in the coalition."
Parties have been able to share policy in spite of the scandal. Farney says the major parties share one main focus — making things more affordable for Canadians — even if they may be approaching it in different ways.
The Liberals and Conservatives remain close in the polls, even after the photos revealed this week.
"The polls are telling a story that we're a closely divided country," Farney said. "What campaigns and the election decide, and where a scandal like the brownface scandal affects, is how many of those people come out to vote. That's tough to guesstimate when you wait a poll, and I think that's what will matter on election night."
Canadians head to the polls on Oct. 21.