June 12, 2024
Someone tell Trudeau he can't be a reconciliation champion and the overseer of genocide at the same time
Lorelei Williams, centre, whose cousin Tanya Holyk was murdered by serial killer Robert Pickton and aunt Belinda Williams went missing in 1978, wipes away tears while seated with Rhiannon Bennett, left, and Sophie Merasty, right, after responding to the report on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, along with other Indigenous women and allies in Vancouver, on June 3, 2019.
Lorelei Williams, centre, whose cousin Tanya Holyk was murdered by serial killer Robert Pickton and aunt Belinda Williams went missing in 1978, wipes away tears while seated with Rhiannon Bennett, left, and Sophie Merasty, right, after responding to the report on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, along with other Indigenous women and allies in Vancouver, on June 3, 2019.

Six days after acknowledging that his country was guilty of genocide, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a press conference outside of Montreal and announced that Canada was going to take a hard line on single-use plastic items such as straws, water bottles and cutlery. The leader of the nation he agrees is actively trying to destroy a segment of its population went on to add, “We need to cover all of Canada with this decision and that’s why the federal government is moving forward on a science-based approach to establishing which harmful single-use plastics we will be eliminating as of 2021.” 

If you’re pressed for time, dear reader, you can probably just stop now. I’m going to keep going for a while to actually fill out the column, but if there is anything you should take away from this, it’s that the prime minister pivoted from a crime against humanity to the crime of the drinking straw in your smoothie in about 140 hours. 

This is the problem the prime minister faces — arguably more than even the average Canadian PM would. This prime minister has spoken often of his desire for a better relationship with Indigenous communities and people. He’s spoken a lot about reconciliation. He’s had some major flops on that front, too, of course, from his flippant “Thank you for your donation” dismissal of a protest over poor environmental conditions on a First Nations reserve (for which he apologized) to the obvious damage inflicted by the prolonged and public battle between the Prime Minister’s Office and former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, an Indigenous woman. Still, if only as a matter of political branding, the PM has tried to sell himself as the federal leader most committed to reconciliation.

So what do you do when a report your government commissioned and spent almost $100 million on concludes that the government you’re running is genocidal? 

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