Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: State of Apologies in Canada

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: State of Apologies in Canada

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: State of apologies in Canada


An editorial from the Winnipeg Free Press, published Aug. 19:

During the past several decades there has been an avalanche of apologies from national governments for wrongdoing: the Second World War internment of Japanese in both Canada and the United States, apartheid in South Africa, Japanese war crimes, the stolen generations of Australian Aboriginals, the potato famine in Ireland.

Politicians have stood, with great solemnity, to say they were sorry, seek forgiveness and, in some cases, provide compensation for historical wrongdoing.

Earlier this month, it was announced the Trudeau government is considering a national apology for people who were imprisoned, fired from jobs or persecuted because of their sexual orientation. The government is reportedly working with Egale -- a national LGBTTQ* human rights organization -- on the details and scope of such an apology, which is expected to come as early as this autumn.

This week, over a three-day period, the Canadian government apologized for the relocation of Manitoba's Sayisi Dene First Nation people 60 years ago.

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett delivered the long-overdue apology Tuesday, first in Tadoule Lake and then in Churchill, where 250 Sayisi Dene were forced to relocate in 1956 under horrific conditions. On Wednesday, Ms. Bennett apologized again at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg. Along with the apology, the Liberal government has announced a $33.6-million compensation fund to be invested in a trust and 13,000 acres of land at Little Duck Lake.

This comes nearly a decade after the formal apology in 2008 by then-prime minister Stephen Harper to the 80,000 former students (and their families) who were victims of the residential school system. …

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