“This Canada Day, let’s recommit to learning from and listening to each other so we can break down the barriers that divide us, rectify the injustices of our past, and build a more fair and equitable society for everyone”
PRIME Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday issued the following statement on Canada Day:
“Today, we celebrate our country and everyone who calls it home. We also reflect on everything we have accomplished, and look forward to what more we have to do.
“The pandemic has changed our daily lives, taught us hard lessons, and kept us apart. But through this challenge and crisis, Canadians were there for each other. We all – young and old – made personal sacrifices to help keep our communities safe and healthy. We put signs in our windows and banged pots and pans for our front-line health care workers. We ordered takeout and shopped at our local small businesses. And once vaccines became available, we got our shots as soon as possible, so our communities could return to normal.
“Hope, hard work, kindness, resilience, and respect. These are the values that Canadians have shown in the face of the pandemic, and today we should celebrate those values and what we’ve overcome. But while we acknowledge our successes, we must also recognize that, for some, Canada Day is not yet a day of celebration.
“The horrific findings of the remains of hundreds of children at the sites of former residential schools in British Columbia and Saskatchewan have rightfully pressed us to reflect on our country’s historical failures, and the injustices that still exist for Indigenous peoples and many others in Canada. We as Canadians must be honest with ourselves about our past. And we must recognize that here in Canada there are still people who don’t feel safe walking the streets of their communities, who still don’t have the same opportunities as others, and who still face discrimination or systemic racism in their daily lives.
“While we can’t change the past, we must be resolute in confronting these truths in order to chart a new and better path forward. Together, we have a long way to go to make things right with Indigenous peoples. But if we all pledge to do the work – and if we lead with those core values of hard work, kindness, resilience, and respect – we can achieve reconciliation and build a better Canada for everyone.
“What makes Canada special is not the belief that this is the best country in the world, but the knowledge that we could be. And whether it’s finishing the fight against COVID-19, tackling the climate crisis, or walking the path of reconciliation, I know there is no challenge too great, if we face it together. Because the progress we’ve made as a country didn’t happen by accident, and it won’t continue without effort.
“This Canada Day, let’s recommit to learning from and listening to each other so we can break down the barriers that di
vide us, rectify the injustices of our past, and build a more fair and equitable society for everyone. Together, we will roll up our sleeves and do the hard work that is necessary to build a better Canada.
“From my family to yours, happy Canada Day.”
B.C. Premier John Horgan issued the following statement:
“This year, Canada Day comes at a time when we have much to be grateful for and even more to reflect on.
“By looking out for one another, Canadians have pulled through one of the most challenging periods in our country’s history. Now, we can finally see the end of the pandemic and a return to normal life. With BC’s Restart carefully moving forward, it is safe to come back together with some of the friends and loved ones we have been missing.
“This turning point is possible because people here in British Columbia and across the country stepped up in a common purpose. Canadians did the right thing by following public health advice and guidance. We made extraordinary sacrifices to protect our families and communities. And now we are being immunized in record numbers, because we share a belief in science and an understanding that vaccines are safe and effective.
“While we have seen the best of who we are as Canadians during the pandemic, we have also been recently reminded of the intergenerational trauma inflicted by colonialism and the systemic racism that remains a lived reality for too many. It is clear we have much work to do to ensure we live up to the ideal of Canada and our shared values of fairness, kindness and generosity.
“On Canada Day, let us reflect on the whole of our history and, for future generations, face these harmful impacts head on.
“Let’s commit to meaningful actions of reconciliation and to moving forward in true partnership with Indigenous peoples. Let’s pledge to do more to welcome and include people who come here from all over the world, recognizing diversity as one of our great strengths. Let’s have the difficult conversations and do the hard work, because a more just and inclusive Canada is worth the effort.
“By working together, I know we can build a country where everyone feels they belong, and no one gets left behind.
“We are also standing with the people of Lytton and all communities facing dangerous fires. Our emergency services are doing everything they can to keep everyone safe, and our entire government is focused on helping people and communities at this critical moment.”
ERIN O’Toole, Leader of Canada’s Conservatives and the Official Opposition, issued the following statement:
“On behalf of Canada’s Conservatives, I want to wish Canadians across the country and around the world a happy Canada Day. This is our national day of celebration where Canadians of every background can come together and give thanks for living in a country that has welcomed millions to our shores for opportunity, liberty, and a shared commitment to freedom.
“A century ago, Canadian science gave insulin to the world and saved millions of lives in the process. From Vimy Ridge to Kandahar, generations of Canadians stepped forward bravely to uphold our values, with thousands paying the ultimate sacrifice far from home. Canadian leadership in global affairs helped create modern peacekeeping operations and helped bring pressure to end the brutality of Apartheid. Our progress and impact as a country is profound.
“Canada is a great country and our commitment to freedom and dignity for all people also means we must acknowledge the injustices of our past and the inequalities of our present. We are not a perfect country, but our shared commitment to the values of Canada means that we should use this national day of celebration as an opportunity to recommit to building a more inclusive and just society today and in the future.
“Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples must be a central focus of the Canadian future as it is a great failure of our past. The road to reconciliation does not start by tearing Canada down, but by recommitting to building Canada and all its people up. We can celebrate the country that we are and the one we aspire to be.
“As we look to round the corner on the COVID-19 pandemic, let us also use Canada Day as another opportunity to thank the frontline healthcare workers, essential workers, charity groups, faith organizations, and volunteers who have stepped up to help their neighbours during this crisis. These community members from across our country truly embody the spirit of the true north strong and free. Happy Canada Day!”