WINNIPEG - It took him almost a month, but Premier Brain Pallister has apologized for controversial comments he made about Canadian history. And critics say he still hasn't really apologized, only blaming others for misunderstanding his remarks. Below is his full apology.
"Our government believes in the importance of advancing reconciliation, as do I. The events of the past two months should inspire us to make real progress on reconciliation. That progress can only be made by working collaboratively and in partnership with Indigenous leaders and communities as we chart a path forward, together.
We have a collective responsibility to acknowledge our country’s hard truths, to listen and learn, and create common understanding as a basis to move forward together.
The tragedy of residential schools is an enduring trauma for all involved. It is a tragic and shameful part of Canada’s history from which we must all learn and reflect.
I too have been reflecting.
I wish my words in speaking to Manitobans at this difficult time had been said differently so they could have been understood better. My words did not adequately convey all that I meant, which I sincerely regret.
At no time have I ever justified the existence of residential schools in Canada and the lasting harm they inflicted on Indigenous persons. This is not who I am and has never been part of my long record of advocating for progress for Indigenous peoples and the specific steps my government has taken, of which I am very proud.
My message was about building up together, on the principles of reconciliation.
My message was about our shared heritage and how we all have a stake in building Manitoba’s future. We would not be a province without the foundational contributions that First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples have made and continue to make to Manitoba. We would not have the diversity we cherish without the Indigenous peoples and immigrants who came before us. And we cannot be the province or country we want to be without reconciliation with the Indigenous peoples and mutual respect for all those who chose to make Manitoba home.
I hoped to bring us together by referring respectfully to all – not some, as has been misstated – of our ancestors. My words were misunderstood and caused hurt. I am sorry for that."