PRIME Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday issued the following statement on Canadian Multiculturalism Day:
“Today, on Canadian Multiculturalism Day, I join people from coast to coast to coast to celebrate one of our country’s greatest strengths – our diversity. Cultural communities have always been integral to the fabric of Canada, and Canadians celebrate their diverse cultural heritage and identity with great pride.
“Our multiculturalism makes us who we are as Canadians, and many cultural communities have a long history of contributing to our country. As Canadians and partners, we acknowledge that First Nations, Inuit, and Métis have called these lands home for millennia.
“Canada’s proud and longstanding tradition of welcoming people from around the world with open arms continues to shape our country today. Last year, the Government of Canada welcomed over 405,000 new permanent residents into the country, the largest number of newcomers to Canada in a single year, surpassing the previous record from 1913. Canada was also the global leader in resettling refugees in 2021, helping them establish roots and start a new life here. All across the country, newcomers start businesses in their communities, volunteer to help those who need it, and contribute fully to our local economies. Canada is better for it.
“The government is building on Canada’s global reputation as an open and compassionate society. While we have much to celebrate, many Canadians still face systemic barriers and discrimination based on the colour of their skin, their background, or their faith, and we recognize there is still more work to do to achieve a truly equitable country. Through the Community Support, Multiculturalism, and Anti-Racism Initiatives Program, a renewed Anti-Racism Strategy, and a new National Action Plan on Combatting Hate, we are improving our understanding of the challenges faced by Indigenous Peoples, Black and racialized and religious minority communities and driving action to make Canada more inclusive for everyone.
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I invite everyone to participate in Canadian Multiculturalism Day by taking part in activities and events across the country. Today and every day, let us celebrate the differences that make Canada one of the best places in the world to live.”
B.C. Premier John Horgan said in a statement:
“Today, we celebrate Canadian Multiculturalism Day, an opportunity to reflect on our shared work to create a British Columbia that is a welcoming place for everyone.
“Indigenous Peoples have called this land home since time immemorial. For more than a century and a half, people from around the world have come to British Columbia to build better lives for themselves and their communities. As we celebrate this day, we acknowledge the territories of Indigenous people, and we again reconfirm our commitment to reconciliation in partnership with Indigenous people and communities.
“Multiculturalism is a hallmark of Canadian identity. We celebrate it as a central part of our national character. Our country and our province are stronger because of our diversity.
“At the same time, we must acknowledge the deep inequalities Canadians face, especially those from racialized communities. Discrimination in housing, education, public services and job opportunities are a lived reality for too many. Systemic racism and the long-lasting effects of colonialism have unfairly held people back. These injustices are compounded when Indigenous people and racialized communities ask for action, only to be told by government to provide evidence using data that is not being collected.
“As a step to dismantle systemic racism and discrimination, our government introduced the Anti-Racism Data Act. It is an important tool to build a more equitable province by shining a light on barriers that exist. By doing so, we will improve services and make life better for everyone.
“It is time to move beyond simply embracing multiculturalism to becoming actively anti-racist. By doing so, we will create a safer, more equitable society for us all.
“We are all responsible for building a place where everyone – regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality or gender identity – is free to be who they are.
“On Canadian Multiculturalism Day, let us celebrate what we have accomplished and pledge anew to build a better world for us all.”