(Image: Mel Rothenburger video)
An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU came, he saw, he apologized.
Surely, no one has ever apologized so many times in a single day as he did yesterday. He apologized to individuals, to Tk’emlups te Secwempc and to indigenous people everywhere for not showing up on National Truth and Reconciliation Day.
The event at the Powwow Arbour attracted about 300 people and had a festive feel but this was no love-in. TteS Chief Rosanne Casimir set the tone by saying Trudeau’s Sept. 30 brushoff caused shock and anger.
Trudeau listened with a stoic expression reflecting his acknowledgement that he blew it, that he understands he has undermined the trust he so badly wanted to build at the start of his stewardship.
There was much talk of truth vs. reconciliation, and the need for action to follow the words.
But there were few specifics, and that remains the challenge. Other than federal funding for a residential-school survivors healing centre, and reference to unspecified “restitution,” it remains unclear what should come next.
According to a review earlier this year, of the 94 calls to action in the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation report, 13 have been fully implemented, 60 have been partly implemented and 21 remain to be acted upon.
Goals involving the justice system and overrepresentation of Aboriginal youth in custody are among those unrealized, and the Pope has yet to come to Canada to apologize for the Catholic church’s involvement in residential schools.
On the other hand, a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls was completed. And Call to Action Number 80 was what yesterday was all about — the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
If Trudeau’s visit was about resetting the agenda, hard priorities need to be clearly listed.
The new national angst over reconciliation clearly requires a fresh examination of those 94 calls to action; maybe even a complete restart with a Truth and Reconciliation Commission 2.0.
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 email@example.com.