Justin Trudeau chose travel and recreation on the day the nation observed truth and reconciliation.
At his first press conference since returning from Vancouver Island, the Prime Minister called this a mistake he regrets.
Instead of donning an orange shirt at one of the many September 30 ceremonies in Canada, he embarked on a long vacation weekend at his favorite surf spot. Its staff even tried to keep it a secret.
âI think how it happened is much less important than what happened, which I regret,â he told reporters in Ottawa on October 6.
It was not the first time that a BC politician has snubbed First Nations and triggered a public backlash.
Four months before Trudeau brought the Liberals back to power, British Columbia Liberal Premier Christy Clark decided to close the Burrard Bridge in Vancouver for a mass yoga class on International Day of the yoga from the United Nations on June 21, 2015.
She called it âOm the Bridgeâ and it would cost taxpayers $ 150,000. The sponsors were Lululemon and AltaGas. Meanwhile, across the city, signs for Adidas and Russian oil and gas giant Gazprom were prominent on the pitch during the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada at BC Place Stadium.
Clark announced his event three days after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its synthesis report. British Columbians were quick to notice that June 21 was also National Aboriginal Day.
An outcry on social media ensued. Protesters had planned to disrupt the yoga event.
Clark doubled the bet. She tweeted a selfie outside a Tai Chi studio under the message “Hey, those who hate yoga, I bet you can’t wait for International Tai Chi Day”.
The next day, the sponsors withdrew. Then Clark, too: âYoga Day is a great time to celebrate peace and harmony – it’s not about politics. I do not intend to participate.
Who was advising Clark? His main communications assistant was Ben Chin, who now works in Trudeau’s office.
No yoga photoshoot for Clark. But unlike Trudeau on Truth and Reconciliation Day 2021, Clark attended a 2015 Indigenous Day event.
She flew a private chartered jet to the riding she represented in Kelowna and tweeted a photo taken during the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society’s Indigenous Day celebration. Clark quickly returned to Vancouver to witness Canada’s Women’s World Cup victory over Switzerland at BC Place Stadium.
But the damage was already done, even without a single dog descending on the bridge.
The mid-term error marked the beginning of the end of his political career. A little over two years later, the NDP and the Greens joined forces to defeat their minority government in a spectacular vote of confidence.
Barely 10 days after failing to transform his minority into a majority, Trudeau turned his back on Indigenous Canadians and went for a walk in the sand.
Was this the beginning of the end for him?
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