Trudeau was speaking at a hastily arranged, tightly scripted news scrum to address the discovery of a photo of him attending a party in 2001 at a private school where he taught showing him with his face and hands painted dark brown to imitate an arab for an Arabian Nights gala.
He stuck to the script almost to the end, repeating over and over (and over and over and over) to every question that he regretted his action "deeply" (six times), was "really sorry (twice), "deeply sorry" (twice) and apologizing to Canadians (two times). He also admitted to painting his face black in high school and singing The Banana Boat song (Day-0) popularized by Harry Belafonte.
But just before he broke off from reporters, a questioner asked him, "Do you want to tell Canadians about any other instances where you were concerned that you were racist, or had blackface or brownface on?"
The answer was a bombshell.
"I think, uh,it...it's been plenty."
IT'S BEEN PLENTY? PLENTY OF TIMES THAT HE ACTED IN A RACIST FASHION OR WORE BLACKFACE?
" Is it the only two or are there more?" the reporter asked for clarification.
Trudeau refused to answer. He just reverted to the script. "These are the situations that I regret" he said before turning and leaving.
Canadians are used to this refusal to give a direct answer. We saw a lot of it as the SNC-Lavalin scandal unfolded. When asked if he pressured the attorney general to drop criminal charges against a major corporation, Trudeau lied and said the allegations were false. That was followed by weeks of deflecting questions with non-answers or changing the subject until finally the auditor general substantiated Trudeau's pressure campaign---which is now the subject of an RCMP investigation.
When dressing up as a brown Aladdin in 2001, Trudeau was not the callow youth who sang a Jamaican folk song. He was a full-grown man, 29 years old and a French and math teacher at West Point Grey Academy, a private school in Vancouver. (A Wikipedia entry says his roommate at the school was Christopher Ingvaldson. Nine years later Ingvaldson would be arrested in Australia and charged with two counts of importing and distributing child pornography.)
Trudeau said that dressing in blackface was racist, he didn't think so at the time. While many commentators point out that the photo was taken 18 years ago, it was snapped only six years before Trudeau began his political career by expressing an interest in running in a Montreal by-election.
"And for those wondering, Trudeau's brownface photo was taken about nine months after he groped a newspaper reporter at a festival in Creston, B.C. A self-described feminist, Trudeau shrugged off the story with a canned response saying he didn't remember her complaining at the time about his copping a feel.