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Local Green Party candidate apologizes for Mr. T costume

'It was not worn with malicious intent, but it does demonstrate my past misunderstanding of how hurtful blackface and similar costumes are,' Lancaster says
2019-06-20 Marty Lancaster RB 4
Marty Lancaster, shown in a file photo, is the federal Green Party candidate in Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte. Raymond Bowe/BarrieToday

The Green Party's candidate in Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte has made a public apology on social media for a costume he wore a decade ago.

Marty Lancaster says he wore a Mr. T costume that "perpetuates racist attitudes."

"It was not worn with malicious intent, but it does demonstrate my past misunderstanding of how hurtful blackface and similar costumes are," Lancaster wrote on his campaign page on Facebook, Monday night. 

Given the climate around the national campaign, with instances of Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau using blackface in the past, Lancaster says he felt it was the right step to take. 

"It’s a mistake that I deeply regret and I’m furious at myself for being so irresponsible and ignorant with my actions," Lancaster wrote in his Facebook post. 

Lancaster added: "I now know better. I will continue to educate myself and work for opportunities to rebuild the trust of my community, my family and especially the community of persons of colour whom I have hurt."

When reached on Tuesday, Lancaster stressed that making the public apology was the right thing to do. 

"It's a small apology that I want to put out and move on and focus on policy and campaigning," he said over the phone. "Because I'm a candidate, I felt I needed to put out an apology for any hurt feelings that potentially happened. That's just what candidates have to do."

Lancaster says he had been thinking about his own situation ever since the Trudeau firestorm came to light on the campaign and wanted to make the apology on his own volition.

"It's unfortunate that it is a campaign topic," Lancaster added. "What candidates (did) years ago is fairly unrelated to what we're trying to accomplish in the campaign."

Lancaster said the public reaction from friends and supporters has been positive.