Canadians need to be patient, present, unconditional with reconciliation: Trudeau

Getting reconciliation right means allowing Indigenous communities to ‘make their own mistakes’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says non-Indigenous Canadians need to be patient and unconditional in their support of Indigenous communities on the road to reconciliation and allow them to make mistakes.

“We have to be patient. We have to be present. We have to be unconditional in our support in a way a parent needs to be unconditional in their love — not that there is a parent-child dynamic here,” Trudeau said Thursday night at a Liberal fundraiser in Victoria.

Getting reconciliation right means allowing Indigenous communities to “make their own mistakes,” he said.

“No matter how well-meaning and how many experts we draw together to say: this is the solution that’s going to lift your community out of poverty, this is the solution that’s going to empower you to be business people and entrepreneurs and control your land and control your future — it can’t come from us.”

Trudeau made the remarks at the Delta Ocean Pointe Resort in Victoria during an “armchair discussion” moderated by Nikki Macdonald, who was a senior adviser to former Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien.

Trudeau had spent the early part of the day in Montreal at a European Union trade summit before flying across the country for an afternoon and evening event in Victoria.

READ MORE: Father and son unveil reconciliation pole in B.C. on Indigenous Peoples Day

He told attendees that the most powerful thing about reconciliation for him has been seeing consensus among non-Indigenous Canadians that it is time to start down a path of true respect and partnership.

He said Canadians have spent decades helping out on the world stage in areas such as poverty and human rights, while failing to see the way Canada has failed its First Peoples.

But the “heart-wrenching” level of intergenerational trauma that exists in some Indigenous communities was centuries in the making and it will take more than a few years to undo, he said. While some Indigenous communities are thriving, there continue to be stories of collective failures as a country to move forward.

“There’s a tremendous impatience out there to fix this quickly. I feel it too, but we need to get this right,” Trudeau said.

“There’s a lot of work still to do, but what keeps me convinced that we’re going to get there is continued goodwill and an emphasis on actually getting it done that I hear from non-Indigenous and Indigenous Canadians.”

Amy Smart, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Festival goers at the 27th annual Roots and Blues Festival

The Observer asked: Where are you from and what brought you to the festival?

Mistake-riddled offence leads to first loss for Okanagan Sun

The Sun lost to the Westshore Rebels 16-13

Fire departments extinguish suspicious wildfire near West Kelowna

Crews established a fire guard and knocked down the blaze before it grew to one hectare.

15-year-old boy drowns after midnight jump into Okangan Lake

The RCMP and BC Coroners Service are investigating the drowning.

Letter: LGBTQ2 are part of ‘our’ Canada

“It is all of our taxes that pay for all of us.”

70 years of lifting: Canadian man, 85, could cinch weightlifting championship

The senior gym junkie is on track to win the World Masters Weightlifting championship

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Okanagan climate advocacy group protests against Tolko

Group to demonstrate outside Vernon head office Monday over plan to log close to water supply

RCMP, search crews hunt for 4-year-old boy missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

Okanagan Cultural Connections live venue tour kicks off in Vernon

Two dozen promoters, national booking agents, and music reps to visit venues from Vernon to Oliver

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Most Read