TRUTH AND RECREATION: Criticism mounting over PM’s reconciliation day vacation

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau chose Canada’s first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation to take a beach vacation at an $18-million oceanfront estate

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It’s not a holiday, it’s a day of atonement.


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Those harsh words from veteran NDP MP Charlie Angus set the tone for the backlash leveled against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to commemorate Canada’s first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation by going on vacation.

“No public official goes skiing on Nov. 11, because we show respect to the veterans,” Angus remarked. “On this day of reconciliation, you don’t skip town and go to the beach because it’s about showing respect to survivors.”

Trudeau arrived Thursday at a rented $18-million, six-bedroom, oceanside estate — with servant’s quarters — on the idyllic Chesterman Beach near Tofino, British Columbia.

The PM and his family departed Ottawa aboard a Canadian Forces jet shortly after 8 a.m., landing five hours later at the tiny Tofino-Long Beach airport.

Trudeau ignored questions from a Global News journalist who tracked him down on Chesterman beach.

The vacation sparked anger in Indigenous communities, with many questioning his sincerity in pursuing reconciliation.

The PM’s snubbed invitations included Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc First Nation near Kamloops, B.C., home of the residential school where the bodies of at least 200 children are thought to be buried.


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“Justin Trudeau’s arrogant dismissal of @Tkemlups invitation represents a ‘slap in the face’ to all IRS survivors, especially grieving families of the children that never came home,“ the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs tweeted. “If this event was before the election; Trudeau would be there on both knees!”

Mariah Charleson of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council told the Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News Trudeau was a disappointing no-show at Vancouver Island ceremonies.

“We have to demand more from the head of a government that continues to say that reconciliation is a top priority,” she told the paper. “It speaks volumes the fact that he’s in Tla-o-qui-aht territory and hasn’t acknowledged the significance of what today means.”


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  1. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau in Richmond, B.C., on Sept. 14, 2021.

    SURF’S UP: PM spends Canada’s first Truth and Reconciliation Day on vacation

  2. A woman holds a sleeping child as drummers play and people sing during a Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc ceremony to honour residential school survivors and mark the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, in Kamloops, BC., on Thursday, September 30, 2021.

    LILLEY: No sense to be made of Trudeau’s inexplicable surf trip

  3. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau watches a blessing as Elder Commanda delivers a prayer including a smudging ceremony, on the eve of Canada's first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, honouring the lost children and survivors of Indigenous residential schools, their families and communities on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Sept. 29, 2021.

    EDITORIAL: Trudeau utterly tone deaf — again

Native Women’s Association of Canada CEO Lynne Groulx told the Sun she was left shocked by Trudeau’s decision.

“We just came out of an election where there were a lot of promises made, and a lot of discussion about reconciliation and what that means,” she said. “He needed to be publicly present and there for the community … this is such a critical day for us.”

Groulx said Trudeau’s decision greatly sets back reconciliation efforts in Canada and won’t be soon forgotten by the Indigenous community.

Groulx channeled former NDP MP Romeo Saganash, who in 2018 famously remarked in the House that the Prime Minister “doesn’t  give a f—” about Canada’s indigenous peoples.

“We need only to look at his actions on Sept. 30,” she said.
On Twitter: @bryanpassifiume


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