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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Photo: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's popularity was already deflating under the disillusionment that hampers many incumbents, particularly on the idealistic left, before 2 controversies that seemed almost unimaginable given his high-principled public image: first an ethics breach and now a racism scandal.

Driving the news: Since a 2001 photo of Trudeau in brownface at an Arabian Nights party was published Wednesday by TIME magazine, 2 prior instances in which he wore blackface have come to light. Speaking today, Trudeau apologized repeatedly but admitted, when pressed, that he was "wary of being definitive" about whether other images might surface.

The big picture: Trudeau’s Liberals had been neck and neck with the Conservatives ahead of the Oct. 21 election.

  • “But the Liberals were running a very specific campaign,” says Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs. They “demonized" Conservative candidates by surfacing past indiscretions as evidence the Conservatives were "intolerant and out of touch with where Canada is going.”
  • The blackface scandal "takes this well-crafted weapon the Liberals had created over a long period of time out of their hands," Bricker says.
  • "They've also opened up the opportunity for the New Democrats," he adds. That party's leader, Jagmeet Singh, is a turban-wearing Sikh who has spoken passionately about the difficulties facing minority communities.
  • As for Trudeau, Bricker says, "Part of his appeal was his international rock star status. When you expose those pictures to people in the United States, to political leaders, how do they feel?"

What to watch: If 1–2% of Liberal-leaning voters in swing districts switch to the left-wing New Democrats that could tilt the election toward the Conservatives. So could low turnout. Trudeau won in 2015 by bringing in new voters, many of whom were young or from minority backgrounds.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Sports

Unvaccinated athletes face 21-day quarantine at Beijing Olympics

Logos for the 2022 Winter Olympics at Yanqing Ice Festival in February 2021 in Beijing. Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Athletes, staff members and journalists at the 2022 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games who have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus will be required to quarantine for three weeks, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) outlined in its newly-published "playbooks."

Why it matters: The quarantine period is longer than the Games themselves, meaning vaccinations or an earlier arrival date will be required to participate in or cover the Games.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

FTX CEO predicts more U.S. crypto flight

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

FTX doesn't look much like a company valued at $25 billion. Its new headquarters, located in a sleepy part of The Bahamas, is so nondescript as to not even have a sign. But it does expect to soon have neighbors.

Driving the news: Founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried tells "Axios on HBO" to expect "more and more crypto flight from the states" if the U.S. doesn't soon create a regulatory regime for cryptocurrencies.

Developed countries reveal $100 billion climate finance plan ahead of COP26

Alok Sharma, head of the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow, speaks in Paris on Oct. 12. ( Li Yang/China News Service via Getty Images)

After 12 years of fits and starts, industrialized nations on Monday put forward a detailed plan to provide at least $100 billion annually in climate aid to developing countries starting by 2023.

Why it matters: The plan, presented by representatives of Canada and Germany, is aimed at defusing one of the biggest sources of tension at COP26, which is the failure of industrialized nations to follow through on their financial commitments.