Justin Trudeau Apologizes for Ill-Timed Vacation

He went on holiday during Canada's first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2021 12:36 AM CDT
Justin Trudeau Apologizes for Ill-Timed Vacation
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during an announcement that Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig have been released from detention in China, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021.   (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press via AP)

It was Justin Trudeau's government that designated Sept. 30 Canada's first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and yet the country's prime minister did not actually participate in events on that day. Rather, he was on vacation with his family as the country memorialized the children who died at, and the survivors of, Indigenous schools, the Guardian reports. He'd been invited to attend a ceremony at the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc first nation in British Columbia, where some of the more than 1,000 unmarked graves at two former school sites were discovered earlier this year. He did not go, and Indigenous leaders accused him of failing make reconciliation a priority, as he'd promised to do.

Trudeau said he did speak on the phone that day to victims and survivors of the so-called "residential schools," which removed about 150,000 Indigenous children from their families between 1831 and 1996, committing what has been called "cultural genocide" and subjecting some of the children to abuse, rape, and malnutrition. Despite the phone calls, however, Trudeau acknowledged that traveling to Tofino, British Columbia, with his family on his official government jet on the federal holiday Sept. 30 "was a mistake, and I regret it." He said he's "focused on making this right." His official itinerary for the day listed him as being in meetings in Ottawa, but he was spotted having a beer at the beach. The Toronto Star notes Tofino is a "popular surfing destination." Critics had been calling for an apology for days. (Read more Justin Trudeau stories.)

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