HAT Forum
Sat June 4th 2016
11 a.m. To 1 pm
519 Church Street Room 303 or 304
Topic: “The State Apology"
Facilitator: Moses Klein

Thinking about examples of political leaders who have, on behalf of their country, apologized for past actions.

1. What functions do or should such apologies serve?
2. When is a public apology appropriate? When is it not appropriate?
3. When are apologies enough? When are apologies not enough? What more needs to be done?
4. On May 18th, Justin Trudeau made two widely reported apologies in the House of Commons. At 3 PM he apologized for Canada turning away the Komagata Maru in 1914; at 6 PM he apologized for his role in the now-infamous altercation on the House floor. How are these two apologies different?

A few examples of public apologies to consider:
(a) Justin Trudeau’s apology for the Komagata Maru on May 18th.
(b) Stephen Harper’s 2008 apology for the residential schools.
(c) The 1988 apologies of Ronald Reagan and Brian Mulroney for the internment of Japanese-Americans and Japanese-Canadians respectively during WWII.
(d) Bill Clinton’s 1998 apology, during a visit to Africa, for the slave trade.
(e) Barack Obama’s 2009 apology for Jim Crow.
(f) David Cameron’s 2010 recognition of Bloody Sunday as “unjustified and unjustifiable”.
(g) Gordon Brown’s 2009 apology for the treatment of Alan Turing.
(h) Nestor Kirchner’s 2004 apology for Argentina’s Dirty War.
(i) F.W. de Klerk’s apology in 1996 to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for apartheid.
(j) Konrad Adenauer’s apology for the Holocaust.
(k) Shinzo Abe’s 2007 apology to comfort women.
(l) Kevin Rudd’s 2008 apology for the treatment of aboriginal people.
(m) John Paul II’s 1992 apology for the persecution of Galileo.