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HomeBusinessExclusive: Inside the West Point Grey Academy yearbooks, which Justin Trudeau helped produce

Exclusive: Inside the West Point Grey Academy yearbooks, which Justin Trudeau helped produce


Bob Mackin

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau was hands-on with the West Point Grey Academy yearbook.

Justin Trudeau as James Bond (West Point Grey Academy)


The future Prime Minister of Canada is infamous for painting his face, neck, arms and hands black and wearing a turban at an Arabian Nights-themed fundraiser in 2001, as revealed by Time Magazine 18 years later.

Trudeau could not have easily forgotten the incident, for which he apologized, because he features so prominently in editions of the yearbook during his three years at the school. He even trained students to produce the hardcover annual at the co-ed Vancouver private school.

“A yearbook elective was taught by Mr. Trudeau to Grade 10 and 11 students,” said the entry in the 1999-2000 edition of The View. “These students began the process of turning The View into a completely student-created book – our ultimate goal. Ms. Oliver oversaw the editing and completion of the book. Teachers, staff and students contributed writing, art and photography.”

Justin Trudeau in blackface, getting cozy with Mariam Matossian in 2001 at West Point Grey Academy’s Arabian Nights.

Trudeau’s painted right hand and forearm in the 2001 yearbook rests around the shoulder of fellow teacher Mariam Matossian in the infamous Arabian Nights photograph, which has no cutline attached. Matossian, who also served as a staff liaison to student council, is now an Armenian folk singer based in Greenville, S.C. and married to a real estate agency owner who doubles as her music manager. Matossian did not respond for comment. The 2001 yearbook was a milestone for the private school, because it was West Point Grey Academy’s first Grade 12 graduating class, with just 31 members.

The year before Arabian Nights, in 2000, the fundraiser was 007 night. Self-proclaimed feminist Trudeau portrayed the movie franchise’s womanizing main character.

A photograph shows Trudeau surrounded by six women at the gala, brandishing a weapon with his right hand and wearing a tuxedo. Two women appear to grasp his legs.

Justin Trudeau in the West Point Grey Academy yearbooks.

“The theme was James Bond and who better to fit the role, none other than Mr. Trudeau, who came equipped with a tux, martini glass (shaken not stirred), and plastic squirt gun. His archrival for the evening was the evil Blowfeld, who was played by [headmaster] Mr. Austin,” reads the caption.

There are two photos of Trudeau wearing a kilt: one in a French class for kindergarten children, the other on the ultimate frisbee field, where players on the school’s team painted their faces a la Braveheart and other characters. Trudeau wore sunglasses, but no face paint.

In the 1998-1999 edition, the drama and math teacher revealed his idol was fighter and poet Cyrano de Bergerac, his favourite movies are Star Wars and Leonard Cohen his favourite singer.

“His worst fear is betrayal of trust,” it said.

Two decades later, several opinion polls have suggested many Canadians feel Trudeau betrayed their trust.

Since leading the Liberals to the 2015 election win, Trudeau backed-off from promised electoral reform, bought the Trans Mountain pipeline, approved an LNG plant for Howe Sound, broke a promise to run a transparent, “disclosure by default” government, committed conflict of interest over the SNC-Lavalin scandal and a trip to the Aga Khan’s private island, and was caught hiding three, racist blackface incidents from Canadians.

Election day is Oct. 21.

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