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Two Different Apologies

Tue, December 05, 2017   |   Author: Peter Vogel   |   Volume 24    Issue 49   

On Nov 28th the Prime Minister made a statement in the House of Commons that was an apology to those who had engaged in “non-conforming sexual desires”.

This apology was well-delivered, as most of his prepared remarks are. He apologized for cases where people were dismissed or demoted from Canada’s public service because of their sexual practices.

On Nov 21st, there was another apology; this one was also public, but less-so. It was made by Laurier President and Vice-chancellor Deborah MacLatchy to Lindsay Shepherd, a teaching assistant at Laurier University.

While no one is doubting the sincerity of the Prime Minister’s tearful apology, the sincerity of the apology from Laurier is being doubted!

Shepherd had been chastised by higher-level faculty at Laurier for playing a video of an interview that Steve Paikin had conducted on The Agenda with Prof. Jordan Peterson. What happened next — the apology — would probably never have happened had Ms. Shepherd not secretly recorded the interview  and gone public with it.

So that is the first problem; once someone else finds out what you said, and you hear for yourself how anti-free speech you sound on the recording, it is easy to make an apology to save face! But, the apology falls flat.

If the Prime Minister had apologized for the tone of the communications that previous governments had used in criticizing the sexual practices of some people, and the abruptness with which some people had been fired or demoted, but not actually apologized for the fact that some were fired or demoted, his apology would have been met with cold indifference or worse.

But for Lindsay Shepherd, the actual issue of freedom of speech and of debating controversial issues is still in question, because the apology does not admit that the practices at Laurier are wrong or assure the public that they will change! Yes, they mention that the issues are complex and that Laurier values freedom of speech, but they don’t say that Lindsay Shepherd has the right to play such a relevant video and that the faculty were wrong to reprimand her in the first place!

On the other hand, our Prime Minister’s apology was extremely deep and thorough. He apologized for the actions of governments past to victims of years gone by. He apologized for previous laws and practices and for the funding that was spent on past programs. He apologized for damages that were done to lives through surveillance, interrogation, and other indignities. He left few stones unturned.

Beyond that, there will be reparations; financial amends will be made to people who were discriminated against in Canada’s public sector; $100 million has been set aside for this and it is expected that thousands of people will receive compensation; $250,000 will also be going towards “community projects to combat homophobia and provide support for people in crisis.”

Ultimately, there are people who were wronged and do deserve an apology, but there seems to be a trend towards making large-scale soul-searching apologies to many people — some of whom were not wronged — by people who did not wrong them, while individuals like Lindsay Shepherd get only the most formal and superficial of apologies from people who did wrong them.

Wrongs must receive an apology, and governments, unlike individuals, do have some responsibility to right wrongs that were committed by previous office-holders, but the current focus on apologies for past wrongs has become an obsession.

It is much easier to apologize for the wrongs of others than for your own. This is perhaps the biggest lesson we can learn from these stories. The other lesson is to look carefully at apologies and discern if they are being made to save face or to elevate the moral standing of the one making the apology.

Mr. Trudeau is probably sad about the events of the past on which his apology was based, but he also is looking ahead at the next election and hoping that people will see him as a strong moral leader, one capable of doing hard things like making apologies. But he is apologizing for things in which he had no part and leaving future leaders to apologize for the wrongs that he is doing now.

God willing, a government in the future will apologize for the legal killing of millions of unborn Canadians by this and previous governments. Apologies will also be made to women who were given misinformation about the science and morality of the abortion procedure. An apology of this nature is needed.

CHP Canada recognizes that there are wrongs in our history that cannot be taken lightly, but we also look to the future with firm resolve to do what is right, knowing that we are accountable to God for our actions.

Please continue your support for CHP Canada and please join if you are not a member!

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