Trudeau tells Canadians to ‘be honest’ about our past in Canada Day statement – National

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau struck a distinct tone in his Canada Day statement this yr, because the nation reels from the invention of over 1,100 unmarked graves throughout three former residential faculty websites in Canada.

In the statement, Trudeau acknowledged that for some, July 1 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,” Trudeau stated.

“We as Canadians must be honest with ourselves about our past.”

Read extra:
Canada Day arrives as nation reels from residential faculty discoveries

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Last week, Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan stated {that a} floor-penetrating radar detected an estimated 751 unmarked graves on the web site the place the Marieval Indian Residential School as soon as sat. The information got here not lengthy after the stays of 215 kids had been discovered at one other former residential faculty web site in Kamloops.

Just someday earlier than Canada was set to rejoice its nationwide pleasure on July 1, the Lower Kootenay Band stated a search utilizing the identical floor-penetrating radar expertise discovered 182 human stays in unmarked graves close to a former residential faculty web site in Cranbrook, B.C.

Click to play video: '182 unmarked graves found near Cranbrook, B.C. residential school on eve of Canada Day'

182 unmarked graves discovered close to Cranbrook, B.C. residential faculty on eve of Canada Day

182 unmarked graves discovered close to Cranbrook, B.C. residential faculty on eve of Canada Day

As communities and households reel from the information, some advocates have known as on Canadians to maintain off on the fireworks and fanfare for Canada Day this yr.

“The recent discovery at Kamloops residential school has reminded us that Canada remains a country that has built its foundation on the erasure and genocide of Indigenous nations, including children,” learn a publish on Indigenous rights group Idle No More’s website.

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“We refuse to sit idle while Canada’s violent history is celebrated.”

Read extra:
O’Toole speculates he’s the ‘only’ chief who’s pleased with Canada amid calls to cancel Canada Day

The authorities has confronted questions about whether or not Canada’s authorities-run celebrations ought to nonetheless happen, given the darkish discoveries that marked current days and weeks.

Canadian Heritage remains to be holding its digital Canada Day occasions, together with a web based live performance that includes French, English and Indigenous musicians. However, as these occasions kick-off, the flag on the Peace Tower in Ottawa will sit at half-mast in recognition of the Indigenous kids who died in residential faculties throughout the nation.

Trudeau has stated he plans to spend the day celebrating along with his household. His agenda additionally lists a closed-door assembly right this moment with Phyllis Webstad, who’s the founding father of Orange Shirt Day — a nationwide day of remembrance for victims of the residential faculty system.

Click to play video: 'National Chief Bellegarde comments on residential school unmarked graves discovery near B.C.'

National Chief Bellegarde feedback on residential faculty unmarked graves discovery close to B.C.

National Chief Bellegarde feedback on residential faculty unmarked graves discovery close to B.C.

In his Thursday statement, the prime minister additionally highlighted Canada’s accomplishments in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“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,” he stated.

“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.”

Read extra:
‘No pride’: Growing calls to cancel Canada Day amid residential faculties discovery

He stated that right this moment, Canadians can replicate on our accomplishments, whereas additionally wanting ahead to “what more we have to do.”

“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,” Trudeau stated.

“Together, we will roll up our sleeves and do the hard work that is necessary to build a better Canada.”

— With information from The Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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