Former Minister Marchi: Apologizing to Italian Canadians — maybe there’s a better way to make amends

Couldn’t resist posting this cartoon regarding the Harper government’s apologies:

Harper appology cartoon

That being said, there is considerable merit to Marchi’s arguments against apologies, even if the train left the station many governments before. But agree with his proposals to have broader discussions with all groups would be more integrative and inclusive than targeted apologies (and the one to Italian-Canadians is controversial as Michael Petrou’s article indicates The harm done by Justin Trudeau’s apology to Italian-Canadians might require an apology of its own:

Later this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans to issue a formal apology to the Italian-Canadian community over how some of our fellow citizens were interned during the Second World War. This would his fifth apology for past injustices since being elected prime minister in 2015.

To be fully transparent, while I was an Opposition MP, I, too, argued for apologies towards Japanese and Italian Canadians, based on how they were treated during that war. But I feel differently today.

I have since moved towards former prime minister Pierre Trudeau’s position. He argued that the obligation of a government is not to right the past. In the House of Commons, he stated, “It is our purpose to be just in our times.” He refused to play Monday morning quarterback. He instead encouraged us to learn from history, rather than apologize for it.

Source: Marchi: Apologizing to Italian Canadians — maybe there’s a better way to make amends

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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