The Governor General has apologized. I wish he hadn’t.
David Johnston was in political hot water over a radio interview he gave, where he said (and I am paraphrasing) that all Canadians were immigrants; it was only a matter of when your ancestors came to this country. Even Canada’s First Nations, our aboriginal peoples, were not originally from here.
I heard the interview when it was broadcast and thought nothing of it. I learned in grade school that humans came to North America several millennia ago, crossing from what is now called Siberia to what is now called Alaska. Anthropologists and archeologists are in agreement that is what happened; before that there were no humans in North (or South) America.
If you don’t subscribe to the Biblical creation account in Genesis, you probably accept that human life originated in Africa’s Rift Valley (in modern-day Kenya). From that you could argue that anyone who doesn’t live there could be considered an immigrant since they can trace their origins elsewhere. You wouldn’t think such a statement would be controversial.
Though apparently it is to indigenous Canadians. I don’t know what narrative they wish the rest of us to accept. No-one disputes that they were here first. However, as I understand it, it is scientifically false to claim they have been here forever.
In the face of the outrage the Governor General apologized. For telling the truth. I know we Canadians have a reputation for saying “sorry,” but even for us that is a bit much. I must admit, it is even more confusing to have our head of state apologizing for speaking the truth and having that truth be called lies. In the country to the south of us the head of state occasionally speaks verifiable lies and insists they are the truth. We share a border, but it seems not much else these days.
So why are Canada’s First Nations so upset when the Governor General speaks the truth? It wouldn’t have anything to do with land clams and reparations for the abysmal way they have been treated by European immigrants and their heirs would it? Maybe they think their case is stronger if they too weren’t immigrants at one time.
David Johnston had nothing to apologize for. He spoke the truth, but it was an inconvenient one. In public life these days that is just not allowed.