As major political apologies for historic wrongs go, Prime Minister Harper's formal apology to Canada's aboriginal communities for the government's role in the systematic abuse of so many students of the country's residential school system is pretty close to perfect -- pretty high praise from our PA team whose members have been consistently relentless in our search for flaws.
The decision to apologize was endorsed by other major political parties and guided by the strong sponsorship of the leader of the New Democratic Party, Jack Layton -- a particularly noteworthy achievement in a minority government. Harper's apology was also followed by equally passionate mea-culpas from the Liberal and New Democratic Parties. Unfortunately, the Bloc Quebecoise exploited the opportunity to take a shot at the Conservatives -- probably of the most pathetic politically motivated non-apologies ever delivered.
As expected dozens of communication experts have voiced their opinions about the quality of the apology, some of which we agree with and others we reject.
For example, Michael Dorland, obviously searching for at least something negative to say, criticized Harper's delivery for a "rhythmic thing, a kind of repetition." Now, if this was a talent show for public speaking Dorland's point might be relevant. But in the context of apologizing to thousands of Canadian citizens for the government's role destroying their culture, lives and families repeating the apology is something that should be applauded not critiqued.
The last minute move to give leaders of Canada's aboriginal communities an opportunity to voice their opinions in the House of Commons was the right decision.
We give this one a 10/10.