Trudeau apologizes for Tofino trip

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau makes campaign stop in Windsor, September 17, 2021. (Photo by Maureen Revait)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has apologized publicly for his trip to Tofino, British Columbia last week during the inaugural National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.

Trudeau took his family on vacation September 30, 2021 and did not attend services to remember survivors and the children who died at residential schools in Canada, including a service in Kamloops, B.C. where unmarked graves with the remains of 200 children were first discovered in May at a former residential school.

Trudeau said the trip was a mistake and he regrets it.

“The first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation was a time for Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people alike to reflect and connect to the past but also focus on the future,” he said.

The Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Nation in Kamloops said on social media that it invited the Prime Minister twice to join survivors and their families on the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.

The Prime Minister said he spoke with Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Chief Roseann Casimir in Kamloops over the weekend and apologized to her for not being there with her and her community for that important day. He said he promised to visit her community in the coming weeks.

Trudeau added there’s a lot of work to do when it comes to reconciliation and he’s committed to doing it, whether it’s continuing to eliminate long term boil water advisories, making better investments in housing, or support for Indigenous children to go to new and better schools.

But National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations RoseAnne Archibald recently said the time for apologies is over.

“As I stated to the Catholic church, hollow apologies will no longer be accepted,” Archibald wrote in a statement on Sunday. “I expect concrete action and  changed behaviours. The Prime Minister must demonstrate through actions that he is committed to the healing path forward.”