'Have to be honest with Canadians' when vying to become PM: Trudeau on Scheer's citizenship
OTTAWA - Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said anyone seeking the top political post in Canada must be transparent with Canadians about their past, as he responded to questions about his main opponent’s citizenship.
Speaking to reporters in Quebec City this morning, Trudeau was asked about his views on Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s dual citizenship in the United States – news unearthed Thursday in the Globe and Mail.
Trudeau said "there’s nothing wrong about having dual citizenship that should disqualify anyone from being a politician."
He added that "honesty," however, is of upmost importance.
"I do think you have to be honest with Canadians when you’re applying for a job to be prime minister of 37 million Canadians. I think that’s what Mr. Scheer needs to answer for."
This comes after news broke earlier in the campaign that Trudeau had appeared multiple times in blackface and brownface years ago, once when he was a teacher in Vancouver. He has since been asked, including on Friday during his press conference, why he didn’t reveal this information earlier to Canadian voters.
"I took responsibility for the mistakes I've made in the past, I apologize for them. Mr. Scheer continues to not take responsibility for his choices of the past, his actions of the past, his mistakes of the past and that's a question for him," said Trudeau.
The Liberal leader visited with families at a local diner before touting the party’s already promised tax break on the first $15,000 of income for most Canadians.
Meanwhile, Scheer is in Toronto today, where he made an announcement about increasing border security to prevent the illegal smuggling of guns into Canada.
When asked about his dual citizenship – something that doesn’t prevent him from running as an MP in Canada – Scheer said "it wasn’t a secret" and that he has always followed tax laws in both countries. He added that he’s in the process of revoking his U.S. citizenship.
"Everyone who knows me or knows my family knows that my father was born in the United States, I’ve been open with that," said Scheer. "It’s not a big deal in Canada for people to have dual citizenship. There are millions of Canadians who had one or another parent born in another country."
Both Scheer and other Conservatives have publicly criticized other political figures for holding two passports.
The Conservative and Liberal leader have been labelled "hypocrites" since the first French-language debate on Wednesday evening, which has prompted the hashtags #TrudeauTheHypocrite and #ScheerHypocrisy on Twitter.
Conservatives are pointing the phony finger at the Liberal camp for flying with two campaign planes while plugging their party’s climate forward policies. Meanwhile, Scheer’s citizenship and his resume – having previously claimed he was an insurance broker when he had only taken one of four courses – have been the source of Liberal attacks.