Trudeau flew to Tofino, B.C., with family on 1st National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau flew to Tofino, B.C., with his family Thursday as Canadians marked the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, his office has confirmed.
Though Trudeau’s itinerary for Thursday initially stated he was in “private meetings” in Ottawa, it was later updated to note he was in Tofino.
“Yes, the PM is spending time in Tofino with family for a few days,” the prime minister’s spokesperson, Alex Wellstead, told CBC News in a statement.
“And, following his participation in last night’s ceremony marking the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, he is speaking today with residential school survivors from across the country.”
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was made a federal statutory holiday this year and will be marked annually on Sept. 30. The day honours the children who died while being forced to attend the church-run and government-funded residential schools as well as the survivors and Indigenous communities impacted by the system’s legacy.
More than 150,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit children attended schools between the 1870s and 1997.
in 2015, Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommended in its 94 calls to action that the federal government establish the holiday “to honour survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”
Trudeau spoke at sombre ceremony Wednesday
Trudeau spoke at an outdoor ceremony on Parliament Hill Wednesday after residential school survivors shared stories of the trauma and pain they endured.
“All of us — all of us — need to hold these stories in our hearts,” Trudeau said. “In our understanding, not just as we reflect on reconciliation, but as we reflect on this country.”
The prime minister stressed that the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is not just a day for Indigenous peoples, but for all Canadians to reflect on “the truth of the mistakes, of the evil that we did in the past” and the work that needs to be done to address injustice.
“Do not tell me, or try to explain, that the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation is a day for Indigenous Canadians, it is a day for all Canadians,” he said.
“So tomorrow … take a moment to listen to the stories of a survivor, to an Indigenous elder who shares their perspective and their experiences in this country. And know that that story, their story, is your story as well.”