A photo has emerged of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wearing ‘brownface’ make-up to a party at a school where he was teaching in 2001, at a time when the leader is battling for re-election. 

The yearbook picture, obtained by Time Magazine, shows Mr Trudeau wearing a turban and skin darkening make-up on his face, neck and hands for an 'Arabian Nights' costume party at the West Point Grey Academy in Vancouver. 

The prime minister has since apologised for the photo. 

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The picture's release is particularly embarrassing for Mr Trudeau, as he is currently campaigning for re-election on 21 October on a number of progressive policies.

He is already facing criticism over a long-running corruption scandal. 

During his time as prime minister, Mr Trudeau has advocated for the rights of minority groups in Canada. 

A spokesperson for Mr Trudeau’s Liberal Party confirmed the validity of the photo to the magazine.

“It was a photo taken while he was teaching in Vancouver, at the school’s annual dinner which had a costume theme of ‘Arabian Nights'", said media relations lead Zita Astravas.

"He attended with friends and colleagues dressed as a character from Aladdin,” she said.

Mr Trudeau is expected to address to reporters about the photo. 

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