A sorry state

There was a time when governments never apologized, neither for what they did, nor for past transgressions. Pierre Trudeau comes to mind. He always said he was looking forward, not back. But, as time has passed, other prime ministers have taken a different approach. Brian Mulroney, for example, apologized for the internment of Japanese-Canadians during the Second World War. Stephen Harper apologized for what was done to young aboriginals at residential schools.

No prime minister, however, has been such a profuse apologist as Justin Trudeau. Being Canadian has come to mean always having to say you’re sorry. His list already includes: the Komagata Maru, a Japanese steamship turned away from Vancouver harbour in 1914 with some 400 Sikh migrants; and Omar Khadr who not only got the words but also the money, $10.5 million.

The apologies are becoming so numerous that they’re now stacked up like aircraft circling under the direction of traffic control. Coming soon, we are told, is an apology for the MS St. Louis, a vessel turned away in 1939 with 900 Jews seeking asylum, many of whom later died in concentration camps. And the wording doesn’t just combust, you know. A committee has been struck to draft an apology to LGBT Canadians for abuses by the federal government.

But of all of this year’s apologies, my favourite was from the drunken guy in Halifax who tried to break into the apartment of a women who sent him scurrying to safety. In the morning, he left her a note of apology and a six-pack of beer. I’m still waiting for my apology from Ottawa. I may be the last man standing who does not have someone in Ottawa, kneeling, ready to make amends. Any show of repentance would be fine with me. I can buy my own beer.

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