Justin Trudeau’s blackface scandal always would have been a train wreck, even if he had enjoyed an unassailable reputation going into it or if he had been known for his statesmanlike demeanour. It would have been bad but it could have become a teachable moment about racial sensitivity for the whole country.
But Trudeau doesn’t have a reputation for gravitas. He is impulsive, once shoving an MP in the Commons and often sounding flippant in public comments. Even before the blackface incidents were dredged up, Trudeau had a track record of cultural gaffes, including his dress-up escapade in India and a wasted trip to China.