Justin Trudeau embroiled in brownface photo scandal
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has apologised after a photo emerged of him wearing brownface during a school event in 2001.
"I shouldn't have done it. I should have known better, but I didn't," he told reporters on a plane today.
"And I'm really sorry."
The photo was taken when he was a teacher in 2001, attending an end-of-the-year gala with an "Arabian Nights" theme, he said.
"I'm pissed off at myself, I'm disappointed in myself," Mr Trudeau said.
The future prime minister attended the event with friends and colleagues dressed as a character from Aladdin, said Zita Astravas, speaking on behalf of Mr Trudeau's party, the Liberal Party of Canada.
He was wearing a turban.
The existence of the photograph was first reported by Time.
Mr Trudeau said he also put on makeup for a high school talent show in which he sang.
Mr Trudeau is running for reelection. He is in a virtual tie for the election with Conservative Andrew Scheer.
"I stand here before Canadians as I will throughout this campaign and talk about the work we have to do to make a better country together," he said.
"And I am going to continue to stay focused on that and continue to work to fight intolerance and discrimination, even though obviously I made a mistake in the past."
The election is October 21.
The leader of the Green Party, Elizabeth May, said she was "deeply shocked by the racism shown in the photograph."
"He must apologize for the harm done and commit to learning and appreciating the requirement to model social justice leadership at all levels of government," May tweeted.
"In this matter he has failed."
Mr Trudeau has been admired by liberals around the world for his progressive policies in the Trump era, with Canada accepting more refugees than the United States.
His Liberal government has also strongly advocated free trade.
But the 47-year-old son of late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was already vulnerable following one of the biggest scandals in Canadian political history, which arose when Mr Trudeau's former attorney-general said he improperly pressured her to halt the criminal prosecution of a company in Quebec.
Mr Trudeau has said he was standing up for jobs.
© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2019