An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
I’M WONDERING IF WE COULD get a list together of all the things Canada has done wrong and apologize for all of them at once.
Canada Day might be a good time to do that. Apparently, our country has a lot of which to be ashamed.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau now says an apology is in order for the mistreatment of Italians in Canada during World War II.
He’s already apologized for the mistreatment of Inuit with tuberculosis, and of residential school students in Newfoundland and Labrador.
He’s apologized to LGBTQ2 Canadians and soldiers in the armed forces, to Omar Khadr, and for the Komagata Maru and MS St. Louis incidents.
He’s exonerated Chief Poundmaker and a half dozen Tsilhqot’in warriors for wrongful convictions.
He’s even apologized for eating a chocolate bar in the House of Commons.
Justin Trudeau isn’t the first prime minister to apologize. Stephen Harper apologized for residential schools, and to Chinese Canadians for the head tax. Brian Mulroney apologized to Japanese Canadians for internment during World War II. He, too, apologized for the Komagata Maru and to the Italians.
All those incidents and situations deserve acknowledgement and action. I’m guessing there will be many more apologies. But how long will it continue?
The question of whether or not apologies are the right measure to take is past — this is the age of apologies. How long will today’s Canadians — many of them brand new to the country — be apologizing for the acts of past generations?
Maybe a commission of inquiry should be called to review Canada’s history and sort out the events deserving apologies, or at least statements of regret, and make recommendations on compensation.
Canadians love to say “sorry.” Let’s collect all the “sorries” and get them done.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at email@example.com.