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October 1, 2021
OTTAWA – It was with shock and dismay that The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) learned that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau chose to take a vacation day rather than mark the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation which his government declared less than two months ago.
This is a Prime Minister who came into office saying no relationship is more important to his government than its relationship with the Indigenous people of this country.
“Those words ring incredibly hollow when Mr. Trudeau could not take the time that his own government set aside to reflect upon the tragedy of the Indian residential schools and instead chose to flit off to Tofino for a holiday,” said Lynne Groulx, the CEO of NWAC. “The government of Canada has received two separate reports, including that of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, that say a genocide has been perpetrated against the Indigenous people of this country. Yet Mr. Trudeau does not believe those findings are so significant enough that he should take the time to reflect upon their meaning,”
While millions of people across Canada donned orange shirts, spoke out on social media, took part in special ceremonies, and reflected on the dark history of Canada’s treatment of Indigenous people and what needs to be improved going forward, The Prime Minister was enjoying his down time, said Ms. Groulx, “It is almost as if he checked off one of the Calls to Action of the TRC by declaring the statutory holiday, and then wiped his hands and said ‘job done, let’s move on,’” she said.
It is no coincidence, said Ms. Groulx, that Mr. Trudeau opted to stay out of the public eye on the day after the Federal Court upheld the compensation awarded by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal to First Nations children who had been apprehended under the First Nations child and family service program, and to their families.
“His government’s continual attempts to appeal that order have been nothing less than shameful, and I can understand his reluctance to answer questions about those legal actions when there is simply no moral explanation available to him,” said Ms. Groulx. “But the decision to duck out entirely on the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation is astounding for its sheer level of callousness and disregard for what the First Nations, Métis and Inuit people have endured as a result of colonization.”
Romeo Saganash, the former New Democrat MP, once said that Mr. Trudeau does not “Give an f*” about Indigenous rights. “If we need any more proof of that observation,” said Ms. Groulx, “we need only to look at his actions of September 30, 2021.”
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About The Native Women’s Association of Canada
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is a National Indigenous Organization representing the political voice of Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people in Canada, inclusive of First Nations on and off reserve, status and non-status, disenfranchised, Métis and Inuit. An aggregate of Indigenous women’s organizations from across the country, NWAC was founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of Indigenous women within their respective communities and Canada societies.