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Trudeau says 'our multiculturalism makes us who we are as Canadians'

Trudeau's statement also included a paragraph on equity and anti-racism activism.

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Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal QC
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in his statement on Multiculturalism Day that Canada's identity was created by multiculturalism. The statement comes as discussions around multiculturalism re-emerge thanks to Quebec Premier Francois Legault, who said last week that he prefers promoting "interculturalism" because not all cultures are equal.

"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," Trudeau's statement said. "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," he continued.

“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.

Trudeau's statement also included a paragraph on equity and anti-racism activism.

“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," he wrote.

Trudeau infamously told the New York Times in 2015 that Canada was a "post-national state," saying that Canada has "no core identity" and no "mainstream."

"There is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada... There are shared values—openness, respect, compassion, willingness to work hard, to be there for each other, to search for equality and justice. Those qualities are what make us the first post-national state," he told the Times.

In February 1971, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, father of Justin, said that Canada "is a multicultural country" but also a “bilingual one” and on announced the implementation of a policy of "multiculturalism within a bilingual framework."

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