Right and wrong (Truth and Reconciliation)
Right and wrong (Truth and Reconciliation)

Right and wrong (Truth and Reconciliation)

I have this sort of instinct­ive thing where I cat­egor­ize stuff as right or wrong. Good or bad. Do oth­er people do that? Books, or movies, or shows… you either like it or you don’t. It interests you or it does­n’t. Some of those things are trick­i­er than oth­ers to put in one box or the oth­er. Eth­ic­al ques­tions can be tricky for someone who is a black & white thinker. It’s some­thing I con­tin­ue to work on…the trick­i­er ones. To take a step back and look at a thing in a dif­fer­ent way. Hear oth­er points of view, so I can make a choice that’s based on a wider per­spect­ive. But there are some things that are easy, or they should be.

Now last week, Septem­ber 30th, was the first ever Nation­al Day of Truth and Recon­cili­ation. This was num­ber 80 on the list of 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Recon­cili­ation Com­mis­sion. It reads like this:

  1. We call upon the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, in col­lab­or­a­tion with Abori­gin­al peoples, to estab­lish, as a stat­utory hol­i­day, a Nation­al Day for Truth and Recon­cili­ation to hon­our Sur­viv­ors, their fam­il­ies, and com­munit­ies, and ensure that pub­lic com­mem­or­a­tion of the his­tory and leg­acy of res­id­en­tial schools remains a vital com­pon­ent of the recon­cili­ation process.

So as I said, last week on Septem­ber 30th was the first of these days. Now how this fits into my state­ment about black & white, right & wrong, is that I think it should have been pretty freakin’ obvi­ous that the right thing for the Prime Min­is­ter to do on that day–the first EVER NDTR, would NOT be to treat it like a vaca­tion and take his fam­ily to Tofino.

Hey, Tofino’s a fab­ulous place! On the west coast of Van­couver Island, home to an amaz­ing surf­ing com­munity, as well as a cool place for storm watch­ing. You should totally go there! There’s a large Indi­gen­ous pop­u­la­tion there, too, so when I heard that’s where he was going I thought, cool. Great place to meet with First Nations people and hear their stor­ies. .… But no. He took his fam­ily there … for a vacation.

Remem­ber back at the begin­ning of June when I talked about the 215 unmarked graves loc­ated by ground pen­et­rat­ing radar at the Kam­loops Res­id­en­tial school? That very First Nation invited the PM to attend their cere­mony on Septem­ber 30, not once but twice they invited him. And he did­n’t go. Appar­ently he spent the day before on the phone speak­ing to sev­er­al, like eight, res­id­en­tial school sur­viv­ors, hear­ing their stor­ies. And that’s great! But it’s not good enough. To me, it’s pretty frickin’ obvi­ous that on the VERY FIRST EVER NDTR, the fuck­ing Prime fuck­ing Min­is­ter should not be on fuck­ing vaca­tion. He should be immers­ing him­self in the event he and his gov­ern­ment claim to espouse. And because the recent out­pour­ing of grief that inspired such an enorm­ous response across the coun­try began with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, and they invited him to attend their cere­mony, that is where he should have been. This is a no brainer.

And of course he has now apo­lo­gized. And that pisses me off, because I’m so sick of people doing some­thing shitty and then apo­lo­giz­ing, instead of just doing the right thing first.

I had a teach­er in high school who, if a stu­dent was late or… made some oth­er mis­take, and said, “Sorry,” this teach­er would say, “Don’t be sorry. Just don’t do it.” And at the time I thought… what an asso­hol­ic thing to say! But as I grew older I learned what he meant.

Like Remem­brance Day, the NDTR is not a vaca­tion day. It’s a day for listen­ing, for learn­ing, for reflec­tion, with a goal toward change. Justin Trudeau: Don’t be sorry. Just don’t do it.