Local Indigenous advocate condemns Trudeau’s Tofino vacation

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Tofino vacation on the first National Day for Truth and …

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Tofino vacation on the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation shows where his priorities really lie, says a local Indigenous advocate.

Trudeau flooded headlines leading into the weekend after it was confirmed by his office that he was on vacation Thursday despite his itinerary stating he was in meetings in Ottawa.

“This nation, and the leaders that it has had in the past, have taught its citizens how to treat Indigenous people. A sitting Prime Minister, who knowingly and willfully went on vacation on Truth and Reconciliation day instead of standing with the people he represents says a lot,” says Connie Greyeyes, with the Indian Residential School Survivors Society.

Trudeau was invited to Kamloops twice to participate in the Thursday’s events by Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, the BC First Nation, who discovered the bodies of 215 children at the site of a former residential school earlier this year.

A statement put out by his office on Thursday states the Prime Minister went on vacation after a ceremony on Wednesday marking the first National Day for Truth & Reconciliation. It also mentions that Trudeau was on the phone with residential school survivors on Thursday.

Greyeyes says a true leader should be with survivors and their descendants instead of doing damage control because of his decisions.

“All indigenous people across Canada, we are all impacted by residential schools, day schools. The amount of disrespect that it takes to willfully not show up to the location where the 215 were found says a lot about who our Prime Minister is.”

Greyeyes echoed former NDP MP Romeo Saganash, who said that Trudeau “doesn’t give a f—k about Indigenous rights” in the House of Commons back in 2018.

“He hit the nail on the head,” says Greyeyes.

“After the discovery of all of these children, how can you not want to participate in some way.”

Greyeyes says she is mentally exhausted after hosting Thursday’s event at Centennial Park in Fort St. John, especially after hearing from residential school survivors, and  family members affected by the school system.

Hundreds of Peace region residents gathered for the day’s events that featured an opening prayer, drumming, a community barbecue, and tours of the Tse’K’wa cave.

“As a daughter of survivors, it really warmed my heart to see so many people there.”

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will take place on September 30th, coinciding with Orange Shirt Day, every year to commemorate the tragic history of residential schools in Canada.

 

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