You may have read that Britain is apologizing for shipping thousands of poor children off to the colonies in the 19th century, including Canada, where they often faced abuse and forced labour. You may have heard that, on behalf of Australia their Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd had apologized for the abuse and conditions the children faced in his country.
How about Canada, which took even more of the poor children than Australia and also treated the children to abuse and labour? Yeah, not so much. It seems Jason Kenney doesn't see the need:
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says there's no need for Canada to apologize for abuse and exploitation suffered by thousands of poor children shipped here from Britain starting in the 19th century.
But he says there's limited public appetite for official government apologies for tragic events of the past and no demand for one in this particular case.
Really, Jason Kenney? Let's take this thing piece by piece. First of all, you say there's "limited public appetite for official government apologies for tragic events of the past" and so sorry abused poor kids, no apology for you?
That's rich coming from a minister in one of the most apology-happy governments since confederation. The Harper Conservatives have apologized for residential school abuse, for the 1914 Komagata Maru incident, for the Chinese Head Tax, the internment of Japanese-Canadians during WW II... All worthy and warranted apologies, to be sure, but it seems rich for this government to now to claim apology apathy.
Second, there's no demand for an apology, Jason? What does that mean? It seems the message is maybe Canada has done all kinds of bad things, but if no one is upset enough to lobby us about it then it's not worth apologizing over.
I'm sorry, Jason (opps, I apologized) but that's ridiculous. If something is wrong, then it's wrong. If something warrants an apology, then it warrants an apology. Lobbying or public pressure shouldn't be the deciding factor. All that should matter is if it was wrong, or not.
If you want some angry people with a group name though Jason, how's this:
Sidney Baker, 76, of Home Children Canada, said he also expects an apology from the Canadian government for the treatment of children who were scooped off streets in the U.K. and shipped to Canada between 1869 and 1939. ...So there's demand that Minister Kenney insists "doesn't exist" even though the government told this group an apology was in the works. As I said though, public pressure aside, is an apology warranted here? Let's review:
Baker said the victims and their families have never asked for compensation from the Canadian government - only an apology.
He said the group has been told that Ottawa has been working on an apology for some time.
Baker claimed that "between three and half and four million Canadians are descendants of the Home Children."
Canadian Citizenship and Immigration says on its website that many of the children, most of whom ranged from eight to ten years of age, came from families of the urban poor who could not care for them properly.
CIC says most of the children were runaways or abandoned, but some were also orphans.
Children were generally sent to Canada without the knowledge or permission of their parents, a move made legal by the British Parliament.
Studies show that more than two-thirds were abused by their patrons in Canada, Home Children says.
According to CIC, it was only after the death of one of the home-children at an Ontario farm in 1895, that Canadians would learn about the British program.
George Everitt Green, a young agricultural labourer from England, died seven months after arriving in Canada, his body emaciated and covered with sores, visible scars of the cruel treatment the CIS says he received from his employer.
Other home children committed suicide in Canada between 1923 and 1924, which prompted an investigation by the British Parliament and led to Canada's Immigration Branch introducing a regulation in 1925 that prohibited charities from bringing children under 14 years of age to this country.
Yeah, sure Jason. No need to apologize for our nation's role in that dark chapter of our history.
For god's sake, do the right thing here. You can even "paraphrase" the Australian speech, if you want. If the Conservatives insist on hewing to Kenney's ignorant, embarrassing and demonstrably false line on this, the only lesson that can be taken is that the Harper government only apologizes when there's an identifiable voter group involved that they can woo.
So, sorry abused poor British kids.
Maybe you should get organized and move to key swing ridings and then Jason Kenney will care about you.