Canada’s Trudeau draws fire for holiday on first national indigenous holiday

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 Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau drew criticism on Thursday for flying to the West Coast on holiday on the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation honoring the lost children and survivors of indigenous schools.

Trudeau s official itinerary said he would be taking a private day in Ottawa, not in Tofino, British Columbia, where he flew with his wife and three children. Global News said it had spotted his plane landing near Tofino, and later confirmed his arrival.

“The Prime Minister is spending time in Tofino with family for a few days,” said Ann-Clara Vaillancourt, a spokeswoman in the prime minister s office, in a statement. He participated in a ceremony marking the holiday in front of Parliament on Thursday evening.

“He is speaking today with residential school survivors from across the country,” she added.

Trudeau later tweeted that he had spoken by phone “with residential school survivors from across the country, hearing their stories and getting their advice on the path forward.”

Liberal leader Trudeau, who 10 days ago won a third election, made indigenous reconciliation a campaign priority, and in June his government introduced the federal holiday to underscore the legacy of the so-called residential school system.The Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc first nation in British Columbia, where unmarked graves of children were discovered earlier this year, said it had invited Trudeau to attend their ceremony. Instead, the prime minister spent “several hours” speaking to school survivors and their families, a government source said.

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