Tamara Jansen. (Langley Advance Times files)

Conservative candidate mum on ‘Black Peter’ controversy

Tamara Jansen has not spoken to the media since Thursday

Cloverdale-Langley City candidate Tamara Jansen has not spoken to the media since photos were circulated of performers in blackface at events held at her family’s greenhouses in recent years.

After photos of people made up in blackface to play Black Peter, or Zwarte Piet, at Sinterklaas celebrations were released online by the comedy persona Ed the Sock, multiple news organizations, including the Langley Advance Times, CBC, and local radio stations, attempted to contact Jansen or her constituency office for comment.

Attempts by the Advance Times to reach Jansen included emailing, texting, and calling her campaign office.

Jansen’s campaign’s Facebook page does not have any posts addressing the controversy, but has updated regularly with posts about the candidate out doorknocking or meeting the public over the weekend.

A federal Conservative spokesperson confirmed the events were held at one of Jansen’s family greenhouses in recent years and that Jansen attended, but did not wear blackface. The Conservative statement attacked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his own past blackface incidents, which came to light last week and included dressing as “Aladdin” with heavy makeup in 2001, along with at least two other incidents in the early 1990s.

The Advance Times contacted the campaign office again on Monday and the person who answered the phone said Jansen would be too busy to speak with reporters that day.

The Sinterklaas celebrations have taken place among Dutch-Canadian communities in the Lower Mainland for decades, but the largest celebration, hosted until 2011 at the New Westminster Quay, left that venue in 2011 after controversy over whether or not the Zwarte Piet figure is offensive to black people.

READ MORE: Cloverdale-Langley City candidate attended event with blackface characters

The character is seen as traditionally representing a Moor, or a person from North Africa, but is performed by a white person in black or brown makeup.

Recent Sinterklaas celebrations in the Fraser Valley have seen fewer Black Peter figures in blackface, with most of the performers in colourful makeup including orange, purple, and green.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Langley’s Liam Visram has been named a community hero

Hockey player who has diabetes inspired a young fan with the same condition

Langley astronomy teacher hopes to answer questions about the universe at public presentation

Beyond the Stars runs 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 29, at Walnut Grove Secondary School

VIDEO: Langley woman without a home after houseboat sinks during snowy weather

A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help the Grant’s Landing resident replace her possessions

VIDEO: Nickelback gears up for nostalgia tour

Canadian band joins Stone Temple Pilots for a summer tour that includes just one stop in Canada

Province asks health-care staff to be ‘vigilant’ in screening for possible coronavirus cases

This comes after U.S. health officials confirmed a case of the virus in Washington State

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Deer carcass strung up at Surrey fire hall prompts investigation

Investigation underway following complaint a Surrey firefighter hung a deer carcass in a fire hall

Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after take off

Mission Hill cellarman fired after mistakenly dumping $162K of wine down the drain

The former employee filed a grievance with the West Kelowna winery but was unsuccesful

Most Read