Justin Trudeau Celebrates Canada Day With Message Of Diversity, Inclusion

The prime minister acknowledged those new to the country and those who lived on the land before Canada existed.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered a statement of diversity and inclusion in celebration of the country's national holiday Saturday. Canada Day, celebrated each year on July 1, marks the day the three separate colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick unified under the name "Canada" as a self-governing territory in the British Empire. 

This year marks 150 years since confederation. 

Trudeau honored the holiday via a video posted on his Twitter in advance of his public statement later in the day. The prime minister referenced immigrants and refugees, the county's complicated relationship with Indigenous Peoples and his hopes for the future in the two-and-a-half-minute speech. 

"This country has given us so much to be thankful for, and our greatest pride is that you can come here from anywhere in the world and build a good life," Trudeau said. "We don't care where you're from or what religion you practice or who you love — you are all welcome in Canada."

He continued:

"Diversity has been at the very core of Canada for centuries. It is the foundation on which our great country was built. But today, while many of us celebrate Canada 150, others do not. Indigenous Peoples in this country have faced racism and oppression for centuries, since early explorers believed they had found a new world. As a society, we must acknowledge and apologize for past wrongs and chart a path forward, one that promises a bright future for all Canadians." 

Earlier in the week, Trudeau visited a "reoccupation" camp in Ontario built by activists from the Bawaating Water Protectors in order to draw attention to the history of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.  Nine people were arrested after erecting a teepee on Parliament Hill but were later released. Trudeau met with the group and discussed the issues with laws and treaties that currently affect aboriginal peoples. 

"We've got a long way to go to make things right with Indigenous Peoples in Canada, but we have begun that journey," Trudeau said in his address Saturday. "And in doing so, we vow to set a new course for the next 150 years."

(H/T Huffington Post)

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