ROTHENBURGER – Why I’m willing to accept Justin Trudeau’s apology

(Image: File photo, PMO)

I FORGIVE JUSTIN TRUDEAU. I accept his apology.

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know the man has disappointed me in many ways, just as he’s disappointed many Canadians.

I had high hopes for him. Who wouldn’t have high hopes for a guy with great hair who looks good in a suit and has a lot of progressive ideas? Part of the disappointment comes from his lack of performance on promises, part because he’s a crappy crisis manager.

The India-trip costumes, the Wilson-Raybould crisis, bailing out on proportional representation (though I’m no fan of PR, it should have gone to a referendum). And now the brownface disaster. He just seems to get things wrong.

But I accept his apology on what I’ll call the balance of plausibilities.


Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (8247 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

7 Comments on ROTHENBURGER – Why I’m willing to accept Justin Trudeau’s apology

  1. I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Rothenburger observations that many of us grew up ignorant of our vocabulary being racist. I could relate to all the examples Mr. Rothenburger cited and could have added a few more.

    I grew up on the prairies. Every farm received a copy of the Western Producer. I don’t know if it was by subscription or it just arrived but it was there. The Producer offered something for everyone. Roles were clearly defined in the Producer. Household tips for Mom, mechanical farm stuff for Dad. Plus short story, word games for the kids. And the funnies section.

    Later in life had had to dig though the Western Producer archives at the University of Regina for a class project. Although I was doing this for an economics class I still had to checkout the funnies. Some of it in hindsight wasn’t all that funny. Jokes would often start with something such as “there was an old negro leading his mule down the road”. In invariably the “old negro” would do something stupid and be the butt of the joke, being mocked or ridiculed.

    I wish I could end this with something clever I just can’t. It is what it was. Hopefully never to be repeated.

  2. Stephen Jeffery // September 21, 2019 at 9:13 PM // Reply

    I do accept his apology being that I don’t think he’s a racist to begin with. The sincerity of the apology though, comes from putting himself in this situation. I vote right of centre and am constantly called racist by this man. I’ve helped in Rwanda because nobody else including the UN did. To be called racist is extremely insulting. For that the man can wallow a bit.

  3. I was willing to accept his apology as well, until it became clear that it was intended to mislead us. When asked, he gave us to believe that the private school costume party was the sole time he dressed that way, no doubt calculating that no evidence of the other 2 (or more?) other occasions would come to light. Bad gamble, in hindsight. An apology that contains a lie is not sincere.

    Trudeau has a pattern of making decisions based on calculations of potential damage. When he thinks he can get away with it, he doesn’t tell the (whole) truth. It’s all spin to him.

    To me, his failure to own up to the other incidents until more photos surfaced shows a callous disregard for the very openness, transparency and honesty he claims to espouse. In my books that’s the greater offense here.

    • Mel Rothenburger // September 21, 2019 at 3:41 PM // Reply

      He acknowledged the Banana Boat song at the media conference as well, so that’s two. The fact he neglected the third one is disconcerting but I still give him the benefit of the doubt – the man is not a racist.

  4. The prime minister is surrounded by trusted and competent advisers hence I would not call him a crappy crisis manager. Besides most of the stories that caused him trouble are media play-ups with relatively little adverse “national interests”. Perhaps the media should focus on the well-being of Canada at a very challenging point in history and should also focus on analyzing the true nature and intentions of the other parties, some of which despite the fanfare, are nothing more that a cult.

  5. Sean McGuinness // September 21, 2019 at 9:08 AM // Reply

    For a guy who has apologized for many of Canada’s ill historical deeds, internment camps, shunning jewish immigrants, residential schools, LGBT purges, etc the “blackface” scandal really comes as a surprise. I have issues with Trudeau; ethics yes, but not racism. Let’s be frank here. As youths (or even slightly older) we’ve all had our idiotic, ignorant, self-indulgent moments. Give this guy a break.

  6. The proclivity to apply the ever changing moral standards of the present to the past, and particularly the more distant past, raises both ethical and practical difficulties. Those of us who were born in the middle of the last century are particularly aware of the massive shifts in the prevailing cultural standards that have unfolded during our lifetimes.

    In my opinion, the greater threat ( by many orders of magnitude) to our current culture, and our survival as a civilization, arises from those who want to celebrate, and reestablish, the racist, exclusionist, and misogynist, cultural norms of the past in a populist ploy to persuade others that by doing so we can “Make …………great again.

    Until we learn, and fully accept and integrate into our core cultural values, that any and all “us and them” dichotomy is, by its essential nature, destructive to our collective community and our future, as a nation, and as individual humans, we will not make needed progress towards reconciliation and peace.

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