The National Apology Advisory Committee


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks throughout a nationwide apology to the No. 2 Construction Battalion in Truro, Nova Scotia, July 9.


Riley Smith/Associated Press


We Canadians have a fame for apologizing lots, and I’m not ashamed to confess there’s fact to the stereotype. Last yr the federal government even impaneled a National Apology Advisory Committee.

A March press launch from the Canadian Armed Forces famous the committee “was established in June 2021 as a consulting arm to the Government of Canada in the shaping of the upcoming official apology” to the all-black No. 2 Construction Battalion. The Canadian military raised No. 2 in Nova Scotia throughout World War I. Its members, barred from fight service on account of their race, had been assigned to assist construct roads, clear timber and keep railway tracks—duties they carried out with bravery and honor.

Prime Minister

Justin Trudeau

delivered the official apology July 9: “For the blatant antiblack hate and systemic racism that denied these men dignity in life and in death, we are sorry.”

Plans for the apology acquired surprisingly little consideration. A couple of articles on the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. web site had been buried underneath Nova Scotia information. I discovered about it solely final month when a reader alerted me to a June 23 tweet from National Defense Minister

Anita Anand,

who had “met with the co-chairs of the National Apology Advisory Committee.”

Perhaps the low profile was as a result of Canada had already made some official amends. The Ontario Legislature devoted a plaque to the battalion in 1920, and the nationwide authorities declared its formation a nationwide historic occasion in 1992. Or perhaps it was as a result of Mr. Trudeau has weakened the forex of nationwide apologies by issuing so lots of them.

This record isn’t complete: He apologized for the 1914 Komagata Maru incident, by which a ship of largely Sikhs was turned away and despatched again to India. He apologized for turning away the MS St. Louis in 1939, dooming a whole bunch of Jewish refugees, after Cuba and the U.S. additionally refused entry. He apologized to Italian-Canadians for his or her World War II internment. He has made a number of apologies to Indigenous Canadians. He apologized to “LGBTQ2 communities”—the numeral stands for “two-spirit identities”—for previous discrimination. In June 2020 he took a knee at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Ottawa.

His acknowledgments of his personal faults are usually extra grudging. He stated he “deeply, deeply” regretted three situations of carrying blackface as a pupil and a younger trainer and “made a mistake” when he elbowed a feminine member of Parliament throughout a 2016 vote. He likewise referred to as it a “mistake” to take a browsing trip in British Columbia final September as an alternative of attending a ceremony for the primary National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, a statutory vacation for Indigenous victims of residential colleges. He did say he was “sorry” for an ethics violation after a household journey to the

Aga Khan’s

non-public island.

As for the National Apology Advisory Committee, “this is only for the issue at hand,” a National Defense Department spokesman informed the National Post. “It’s not for all apologies.” Maybe it needs to be.

Mr. Taube, a columnist with Troy Media and Loonie Politics, was a speechwriter for former Canadian Prime Minister

Stephen Harper.

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Appeared within the July 13, 2022, print version.