An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
SO PRIME MINISTER Justin Trudeau has apologized to Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir for not showing up here on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Exactly what he said by way of apology hasn’t been shared but it better have been a good one.
As the whole country now knows, he skipped attending ceremonies hosted by TteS and, instead, took a brief vacation with his family at a beach house in Tofino. Nobody begrudges him a couple of days off from his heavy workload every once in awhile, but this was an important occasion.
So, he’s apologized. Well, an apology is better than nothing. Nobody can stay mad for too long at somebody who apologizes for doing something stupid. The problem is, though, that Justin Trudeau has to apologize way too often.
So often that it’s getting hard to keep track. There was the brownface incident from his past. That one was “absolutely unacceptable,” he said. There was the WE Charity scandal in which he showed such terrible judgment. He really apologized for that one. And there were his apologies for ethics breaches.
He also apologizes a lot for things that others have done, such as the internment of Italian Canadians during war and apologies to the LGBTQ2 community.
Trudeau has apologized many times to indigenous peoples for various injustices. He’s apologized to residential school survivors, apologized for mistreatment of Inuit, he’s apologized to Tsilhqot’in chiefs, for the tribulations of Chief Poundmaker, and for 751 unmarked graves in Saskatchewan.
He’s even asked Pope Francis to apologize for the Catholic Church’s role in residential schools.
Those are good apologies; the ones for his personal failures are the disturbing ones. Disturbing because as leader of the nation he’s supposed to know better.
So, one more apology. How many more will there be? How many more times must he be forgiven?
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.