By: Surjit Singh Flora
It’s a tale as old as time.
A boy takes his flock of sheep up the hill to enjoy the sun and the fresh green grass. When he arrives at the top, he sits for the entire day, becoming bored at the lack of things to do.
One day, he had an idea. He shouted out, “Wolf!” at the top of his lungs to get over his boredom. A group of men from the nearby town ran up the hill, pitchforks in hand, hearing a cry for help, but to their surprise, they saw no one but the boy.
The next day, the boy did it again. “Wolf! WOLF!” The boy threw stones down the hill towards the villagers, who once again ran up the hill to see what was happening. Again, the boy laughed at them, realizing he’d fooled them once again.
The villagers became furious, and told him to stop crying for help if there was no danger.
There’s another “boy who cried wolf,” and he sits in the top office of this country. Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, he thought he would play a joke on his friends one day. He covered himself in blackface and made a mockery of ethnic stereotypes. The townspeople were up in arms, but eventually excused the boy’s behaviour.
Then, the boy took the money of the people and used it on private vacations, grinning all the while as his family took photos on the people’s dime. The people shouted and cried, but the boy kept grinning, and they eventually accepted it.
The third time, in the midst of a sombre series of national remembrance for Indigenous children who died in residential schools, he was busy on vacation. When the people found him, he was busy soaking up the sun and taking selfies.
Are the people going to forgive him again?
Possibly not, if the response is any indication.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission reported 94 calls for action to alleviate the suffering of residential schools and to alleviate past suffering through honest treatment of aborigines. A 1953 survey found that 10,112 children were enrolled in residential schools at the time. Of these, 4,313 children could be called orphans because they had lost touch with their parents, or their parents had lost their children. In the 120-year history of residential schools, a total of 1.5 million children have been forced to suffer, with 3,200 children dying on school premises. 32,970 children were sexually abused.
A sexual offense is a crime that lasts a lifetime. 70,000 people still live in Canada who has lived in residential schools.
They were hopeful that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would do justice to the issue, but he instead spent Truth and Reconciliation Day on a beach in Tofino, B.C. with his family. Rather than heal the wounds, he put salt on them.
Yet again, Trudeau made a show of an “apology” to those who he offended, but that might not be enough this time around.
Assembly of First Nations National Chief RoseAnne Archibald says Trudeau’s apology after he skipped reconciliation events in favour of vacationing in Tofino on the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation is simply not good enough.
Remember the moral of the “boy who cried wolf” – that boy did see a wolf, and despite shouting out, “Wolf! WOLF!” the townspeople ignored his cries. The boy returned home with several of his sheep missing due to the wolf, while the rest of his flock fled. From that point on, the boy promised never to lie again.
So that’s what we are looking for, for the next election – when Trudeau calls for help for “Votes” – who will be there to vote for him?