On November 28, 2017, the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau spoke out and apologized to the LGBTQ+ community at the House of Commons in Ottawa. He acknowledged the years of discrimination that the federal agencies have caused and confessed to many decades of injustice. He apologized to all the LGBTQ+ Canadians who had been fired from their jobs and the military during the Cold War. During his speech, he vowed to never repeat the injustices brought upon the LGBTQ+ community and promised to make a difference in Canada. By apologizing for having failed LGBTQ+ people over the years, Trudeau proposed a bill that would let courts remove the records of people charged with crimes due to their sexuality or gender identification. While reminding Canada to not forget its past, Trudeau’s apology made an impact that has opened many doors for change.
Riverside’s “You and Us” club leader, Sheri Thomasen described Mr. Trudeau’s apology to the LGBTQ+ community as symbolic. “The apology showed that the Canadian government has recognized the mistakes they have made in policies and laws, and by apologizing on record, one would hope this historical event will be remembered in the future,” she said. Thomasen also believes that the formal speech will show students that Canada has realized its mistakes and it is beginning to grow into a system where their gender and sexuality will not be criteria for job dismissal. “One would hope that Canada will make more of an effort to be more inclusive and recognize the full range of sexualities and gender expression when creating laws, policies and institutions,” said Thomasen.
Riverside grade 11 student, Naomi Nadin, also shared her opinion on the matter, describing the apology as a great way to spread awareness about the history of LGBTQ+ individuals. “In my opinion, Mr. Trudeau’s apology gave closure to a lot of LGBTQ+ people in the community, especially those from generations who went through the police brutalities, injustices and abuse from the government officials that restricted them from their lifestyles,” said Nadin. She described the apology as an act that brought the community together, making them aware of their own history and the support the government is giving them. “The government has its flaws and it will continue with its flaws, but now they’re putting in the effort to make a difference,” said Nadin. “I believe that there will be a development in Canada; it may take time, but it opened up a door for change in attitudes.”
By becoming an important historical record, Trudeau’s apology has made a positive impact toward all LGBTQ+ people in Canada.