Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau encountered a chilly reception as he took the stage at the North American Indigenous Games’ opening ceremony on Sunday evening.
— Keean Bexte (@TheRealKeean) July 17, 2023
The sold-out crowd at Halifax’s Scotiabank Centre expressed their discontent through a chorus of boos throughout Trudeau’s speech, particularly when he mentioned the alleged commitment of his Liberal government to assisting indigenous communities.
The vocal disapproval began as soon as Trudeau began to speak, reverberating through the packed stadium as he approached the glass podium to deliver his remarks. “Hello my friends,” Trudeau began, his voice nearly drowned out by the surrounding chorus of disapproval. After the boos subsided, he expressed gratitude to the attendees for the “incredibly warm welcome.”
The crowd cheered when Trudeau praised Indigenous leaders and emphasized the significance of Liberal funding for supporting the games. However, their cheers swiftly transformed into boos when he touched upon his government’s dedication to Truth and Reconciliation, an aspect that many claim has fallen short of expectations.
Hecklers emerged when Trudeau broached the topic of residential schools, which has become a contentious area between the prime minister and endemic populations since his decision to decline an invitation to visit one on Canada’s inaugural Truth and Reconciliation Day, instead opting to go surfing in Tofino.
As Trudeau concluded his speech and departed from the stage, the boos nearly overwhelmed the applause. The audience exclusively responded negatively to the prime minister’s remarks concerning his commitments to Indigenous people.
Conversely, they responded with resounding enthusiasm when he introduced the various participants of the games, underscoring the significance of the event to their collective pride.
This is not the first instance of Trudeau facing disapproval from critics over his treatment of tribal communities.
In 2022, just moments after commencing the COP15 Summit in Montreal, he was disrupted by protestors who referred to him as a “colonizer.” He also encountered heckling during a visit to Kamloops shortly after the aforementioned misstep on Truth and Reconciliation Day.
“Take your disrespect out of our tribe!” One individual scolded him as he pretended not to hear while posing for photographs with supporters. Trudeau’s reception at the North American Indigenous Games opening ceremony highlights his poor leadership skills and the rising tensions between his administration and ancestral communities.