OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday came under fire for his decision to fly to British Columbia to spend time with his family on the first National Day of Truth and Reunion.
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) says it is surprising that Trudeau has “completely gone nick” from a national day to reflect the residential school’s legacy.
Lynn Grolux, head of the political advocacy organization for Indigenous women, said in a statement that she was surprised to see the “cruel dimension” of the decision to travel to BC instead of attending the event to mark Trudeau BC’s historic day.
He added that it showed that “the first race, the Metis and the Inuit, as a result of colonization, ignored what they had endured.”
The prime minister flew to Tofino in BC on Thursday, where Global News refused to comment to him, depicting him walking on the beach at one point.
Later Thursday, Trudeau tweeted that he had spent the day in telephone conversations with survivors of residential schools across Canada, “listening to their stories and getting their advice on the way forward.”
Prime Minister’s spokesman Alex Welstead said Friday that Trudeau “spoke with survivors from eight residential schools across the country for several hours yesterday. It was an important opportunity to hear stories of their injuries and healing and to hear their advice on the way forward.
The National Day for Truth and Reunion was inaugurated on Thursday, in response to one of the 94 calls made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission this spring to document government-funded atrocities against First Race, Metis and Inuit children. , A church-run residential school for more than a century.
The day was already known as Orange Shirt Day in honor of Phyllis Webstad’s experience from Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation in BC, whose first day at residential school was a gift of clothing from her grandmother.
Grolux said in a statement that while Trudeau was out of the public eye, millions of people across the country wore orange shirts, spoke on social media and attended the event, which was “a dark history of Canada’s treatment of Indigenous people and what needs to be improved.”
Trudeau attended a ceremony near Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill on Wednesday night, where stuffed toys and a pair of shoes were placed in honor of children who have not returned from residential school.
Judith Cyrus, president of the Nu-Chah-Nolth Tribal Council on Vancouver Island, which includes the Tofino area, said Friday that the organization had not heard from Trudeau and had no idea he might be in the area on Thursday. He said he could have joined Tofino’s Nu-Chah-Nalth for some brief remarks and left.
“I understand he is on vacation and wants some time off, but for truth and reunion his first national day should have been a priority. It’s big here for us and us. It was a really important day, “said Cyrus.
Trudeau said indigenous peoples are the most important relationship, but he didn’t show it. He always speaks well but does not follow it with action.
Health Minister Patty Hajdu, who said she attended a ceremony marking the day in her Thunder Bay, Ontario constituency, declined to answer questions about Trudeau’s visit on Friday.
“I can’t talk to others’ schedules, ”Hajdu said. “What I saw in my community was the promise of reunion.”
“For me, it’s hard to put into words how dynamic that day was,” he said at a news conference in Ottawa on Friday, “and you know for sure how much I was moved to see so many citizens meet with aborigines and hear stories that no one has ever heard before. ”
Blake Deszarlis, a Metis leader and newly elected NDP MP from Edmonton Grisbach, said Trudeau’s move raised public awareness that Thursday was a family day rather than a day of serious reflection on the treatment of indigenous peoples.
“We need a precedent from the first day,” Desjarlais said. “It is difficult to imagine the future of September 30 without the sympathy, presence and message of the Prime Minister.”
Trudeau’s daily public itinerary initially said he was in a “private meeting” in Ottawa on Thursday, although it was later changed to reflect his actual position.
A 75-year-old survivor who spoke to Trudeau on Thursday “never thought in his lifetime that the prime minister would have an ear to talk about what he gave as a child,” according to his mentor Sharna Sugarman.
Sugerman said the man told him he was upset with the media coverage focused on the prime minister’s family tofino visit rather than truth and reunion issues.
Sugarman, a Blackfoot survivor in the sixties whose parents and grandparents went to boarding school, Trudeau defended his decision to spend time with his children. He said he has a track record of fighting for indigenous peoples.
“The Prime Minister, in my opinion, has done his job, and if it had not been for his government, (t0 September) would not have been marked as a day of mourning and reflection. This is not a holiday, ”he said.
“He has made a lot of promises to my people. Is he perfect? No. No one is perfect except a newborn baby.
Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, who was in Italy on Thursday for global environmental talks, said the prime minister had made it clear that there was no more important relationship with indigenous peoples than the government’s relationship.
“He’s talked to survivors across the country,” he said. “I know how important it is to him.”
Grolox said Trudeau did not take the issue seriously, instead of “taking the time to reflect on the tragedy of Indian boarding schools” instead of “going to Tofino for the holidays.”
“It’s almost like announcing a statutory holiday, checking a call-off from the TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Commission), then wiping his hands and saying, ‘Done, let’s go,'” he added.
Kamloops-Thompson-Caribbean Conservative MP Frank Caputo wrote a letter to Trudeau on Friday asking why he had not visited the site of a former boarding school in Kamloops, BC, where earlier this year Tak’imlopus Sequipemic First Nation had identified the infested radar. There are.
“Despite being in the province and a little away from the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, you have chosen this important day for the holiday,” he wrote.
On Thursday, Rosan Casimier, head of Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation, said the community had twice invited Trudeau to survive a boarding school and join their family.
With files by Nick Wells of Vancouver and Mia Robson of Ottawa.
By Mary Wolf
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times