When will Canada apologize to the families of murdered pregnant women for not charging their killers with the crime of killing their unborn family members?
Last week in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister of Canada apologized for 1914 Komagata Maru incident.
In this instance, Canada turned away a Japanese steamship in order to prevent 376 passengers of Sikh, Muslim and Hindu origin from immigrating to the country. They came here like millions before and since to find a better life in Canada. Our government denied them refuge.
Trudeau apologized on behalf of Canadians for what he called, “Our indifference to your plight.”
In 2008 Stephan Harper, then Prime Minister of Canada, apologized for Canada’s role in the “aggressive assimilation” of Aboriginal children through the government-supported residential schools.
The known purpose of these schools was to “to kill the Indian in the child” – essentially, to erase the cultures of the aboriginal families. The children endured physical and emotional abuses and were made to live in substandard conditions for decades.
He apologized on behalf of Canadians and stated, “Today, we recognize that this policy of assimilation was wrong, has caused great harm, and has no place in our country.”
Both of these incidents seem to me unquestionably wrong and I can’t help but think that the government at the time should have been able to see that – even back then.
So how then can they continue their indifference to the plight of the families of murdered pregnant women seeking justice for the lives of the members who are ignored in any judicial process against their known killers?
How can the government of a country such as Canada continue to do nothing to change the fact that it is not illegal to kill an unborn baby against the will of a mother?
I should not say all government. There have been Members of Parliament who try. I’d imagine there were those that argued Canada should welcome the passengers of the Komagata Maru. Just the same, I’d imagine there were those who spoke against the aggressive assimilation of Aboriginal children.
But it is the responsibility of the government as one to act against such atrocities – and in these cases they did not.
Whether it was the veil of bigotry, political convenience at the time, or simple shortcoming of humanity and compassion – when such failures occur they will continue to hurt all of us.
Just like back then – Canada is thought to be a civilized country. How can such obvious things slip through the cracks? And how many decades will pass before a government can see the error of its ways?
Owning up to its own mistakes is a sign of a civilized culture – but to ignore common decency for people and families as you make them, is anything but.
In the meantime each one of us should consider it out obligation to hold our government to a higher standard than the ones that have allowed such indiscretions to manifest in a future apology.