A First Nations political party could achieve far more than Trudeau’s empty gestures

Sporting a new ‘do and freshly shaven mug, Justin Trudeau looks ready to rumble. In the past few days the prime minister toured a vaccination clinic in Kanata, Ont., doled out cash to a steel plant in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and appointed Canada’s first Indigenous governor-general, Mary Simon. He’s basking in headlines that predict him romping to victory in an expected September election. Three recent polls have the Liberals’ percentage of voter support in the high thirties, while the Conservatives and NDP languish in the mid and low twenties, respectively — all but guaranteeing Trudeau a majority government were the election held today.

This week’s pre-campaign energy is a contrast to last week, when the PM was all about contrition and reconciliation. There were far different headlines, as Canada convulsed with horror and guilt at reports of unmarked graves of over 1,300 children being found at three former residential schools. The PM intoned last Thursday, “This Canada Day, let’s recommit to learning from and listening to each other so we can break down the barriers that divide us, rectify the injustices of our past, and build a more fair and equitable society for everyone.”

Conveniently, Trudeau didn’t mention that two days before Canada Day, yet another First Nation had joined a class action lawsuit against the federal government over long-term boil-water advisories that still exist in over 50 Indigenous communities, despite the Liberals’ 2015 election pledge to end them. And that under his party’s watch, the federal government spent nearly $100 million over three years fighting Indigenous communities in court  — more than Stephen Harper’s Conservative government over the same time span — despite a promise to reject this “adversarial” and “profoundly damaging” approach.

Read the full column on the National Post website

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