Editorial

It’s more than a bit ironic — and, certainly, a whole lot more than slightly galling — that Canada’s prime minister would mark the nation’s inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with a big, outrageous, insulting, arrogant and defiantly audacious lie.

It’s more than a bit ironic — and, certainly, a whole lot more than slightly galling — that Canada’s prime minister would mark the nation’s inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with a big, outrageous, insulting, arrogant and defiantly audacious lie.

After attending a public ceremony on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday evening, Justin Trudeau very quietly joined his family on an early-morning flight that spirited them off to Tofino, B.C., for a vacation. To reiterate: the prime minister opted not to attend any of the ceremonies that actually took place on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation; instead, he went for a walk on the beach with his wife.

Trudeau faces backlash over Tofino trip

Click to Expand
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to media as he visits a vaccine clinic in Ottawa on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to media as he visits a vaccine clinic in Ottawa on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Posted: 7:56 PM Oct. 1, 2021

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faced backlash Friday over his decision to fly to British Columbia to spend time with his family on the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) said it is shocked that Trudeau “ducked out entirely” from a national day set aside to reflect on the legacy of residential schools.

Read Full Story

This was occurring at the same time the posted itinerary issued by the Prime Minister’s Office stated he was in "private meetings" in Ottawa. It wasn’t until a Global TV news crew located Mr. Trudeau on the beach in Tofino and attempted to question him about his choice of relaxation over retrospection that the PMO replaced the scheduling misdirection with the vacation-travel truth.

Officials then attempted to buttress the feeble fib — and one can only imagine the desperate, futile scrambling that went into crafting this "rationale" — by stating the prime minister spent a good portion of his holiday-bound jet flight talking on the phone with residential-school survivors.

According to Mr. Trudeau’s official Twitter account: "I spent some time on the phone today with residential school survivors from across the country, hearing their stories and getting their advice on the path forward. By listening and learning, we can walk down that path — and advance meaningful reconciliation — together."

Seriously. It makes reference to "walk(ing) down that path ... together," when the prime minister’s clear intention Thursday was the pursuit of a leisurely stroll in the sand.

If you’re going to lie about your primary objective on a day set aside for the solemn consideration of truth, at least summon up the courtesy of making the prevarication mildly plausible.

When confronted by the Global TV reporter with questions about why he hadn’t accepted invitations from First Nations to attend ceremonies in B.C., Mr. Trudeau offered no response. In Global’s posted footage, he doesn’t even turn to face the camera to acknowledge he’s been caught. Instead, he keeps his back turned and continues his beach walking, eventually slinking away through an opening in the pines as security personnel keep the TV crew at bay.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his remarks during a ceremony on Parliament Hill on the eve of the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, on Sept. 29, 2021 in Ottawa.

ADRIAN WYLD - THE CANADIAN PRESS

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his remarks during a ceremony on Parliament Hill on the eve of the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, on Sept. 29, 2021 in Ottawa.

One might be inclined to suggest, in a tone revealing a justifiable level of outrage, that the prime minister owes Canadians an explanation. But really, he does not — the explanation for Thursday’s display of reality detachment can be found in the catalogue of Mr. Trudeau’s past entitlement-imbued missteps.

From visits to the Aga Khan’s island to the bungling of the SNC-Lavalin scandal to the clumsy serio-comedy of the WE Charity unravelling, he has consistently and without much hint of self-awareness shown himself to be a product of privilege who seems to consider himself unbound by the rules that apply to ordinary folk.

That he has expended so much of his political capital proclaiming himself to be an ally of Indigenous peoples and a champion of reconciliation does, however, make Thursday’s vacation promenade something of an unsolvable problem. Mr. Trudeau need not feel compelled to explain himself, but neither should he expect Canadians — Indigenous and otherwise — to forgive or forget his decision to turn this Sept. 30 into a personal day for untruth and recreation.