A timeline of official apologies from the federal government
OTTAWA — When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday exonerated Chief Poundmaker in Saskatchewan, it was the latest in a long list of government efforts to apologize for past wrongs. Here are a few formal and informal apologies:
Sept. 22: Prime minister Brian Mulroney formally apologizes in the House of Commons for the internment of Japanese-Canadians during the Second World War.
Nov. 4: Mulroney offers an apology to Italian-Canadians declared “enemy aliens” when Italy declared war on Canada in 1940 and detained during the Second World War.
Dec. 11: Ron Duhamel, the minister of veterans affairs, apologizes in the House of Commons for the executions of 23 Canadian soldiers during the First World War and says their names will be added to the country’s book of remembrance.
June 22: Then-prime minister Stephen Harper apologizes in the House of Commons for the head tax imposed on Chinese immigrants between 1885 and 1923.
May 9: The federal government announces a $10-million education grant to recognize the internment of Ukrainian-Canadians during the First World War, but stops short of an official apology.
June 11: Harper apologizes in the House of Commons for Canada’s residential-schools system, which more than 150,000 First Nations, Metis and Inuit children attended from the 1840s to 1996.
Aug. 3: At an event in B.C., Harper apologizes for the Komagata Maru incident, in which a shipload of migrants from India was turned away from Vancouver in 1914, but organizers immediately demand an official apology in the House of Commons.
May 18: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologizes in the House of Commons for the Komagata Maru incident.
Nov. 24: Trudeau apologizes in Goose Bay, N.L., for abuse and cultural losses at residential schools in Newfoundland and Labrador, saying the gesture is part of recognizing “hard truths” Canada must confront as a society.
Nov. 28: Trudeau apologizes in the House of Commons for past state-sanctioned discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirited people in Canada that he said cost people their “livelihoods and in some cases, their lives.”
Nov. 2: Trudeau apologizes and exonerates six Tsilhqot’in chiefs invited by colonial officials for peace talks more than 150 years ago only to be arrested, tried and hanged, saying the incident was a “betrayal of trust” and “an injustice.”
Nov. 7: Trudeau apologizes in the House of Commons for Canada’s decision in 1939 to reject an asylum request from more than 900 German Jews, 254 of whom died in the Holocaust — a fate Trudeau says could have been avoided.
March 8: Trudeau apologizes in Iqaluit for the way Inuit in northern Canada were treated for tuberculosis in the mid-20th century, calling the policies colonial and misguided.
May 23: Trudeau exonerates Chief Poundmaker in the community that bears his name — the Poundmaker Cree Nation — and apologizes for the chief’s unjust conviction for treason more than 130 years ago.
The Canadian Press