On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement in support of Canada's multiculturalism policy on the 50th anniversary of its enactment.
"On this day in 1971, Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau announced multiculturalism as an official government policy – the first of its kind in the world – to recognize the contribution of cultural diversity and multicultural citizenship to the Canadian social fabric," the statement from Trudeau began.
"The diversity of Canadians is a fundamental characteristic of our heritage and identity. For generations, newcomers from all over the world, of all backgrounds, ethnicities, faiths, cultures, and languages, have been coming to Canada with the hopes of making it their home," he said.
"Today, in addition to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples, people from more than 250 ethnic groups call Canada home and celebrate their cultural heritage with pride – they are at the heart of our success as a vibrant, prosperous, and progressive country," Trudeau continued.
Trudeau pointed out that the policy was enacted based on the recommendation of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, with those recommendations coming in response to urges from numerous ethnocultural groups across Canada.
"The policy promotes respect for cultural diversity, acknowledges the freedom of all members of Canadian society to preserve, enhance, and share their own cultural heritage, and considers their cultural contributions throughout the country as essential to Canada," said Trudeau.
Trudeau noted that "while the policy continues to give vitality to Canadian society, reflect its multicultural reality, and inspire people and countries around the world," there is still work to be done in Canada to make the country "inclusive, fair, and equitable for all."
"This year, several disturbing and divisive incidents motivated by hate have reminded us that prejudice, systemic racism, and discrimination continue to be a lived reality for many Indigenous and Black peoples, religious minorities, and racialized communities," said Trudeau.
"As we continue to build a more inclusive and open country, we recognize that a multicultural society is a work in progress. We must continue to promote the values of respect and inclusion that the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, the Charter, human rights legislation, and many other commitments have sought to promote," Trudeau continued.
"Along with Canada's strong multiculturalism policy, we must also recognize the rich cultures of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples, and our commitments to respecting their Aboriginal, treaty, and human rights and advancing reconciliation," he added.
"This requires us to confront painful truths about our history and society, learn from them, and take meaningful action together to address systemic discrimination and ensure everyone is treated with respect and able to participate equitably in economic, social, cultural, and political life in Canada," said Trudeau.
Trudeau's statement on Indigenous Peoples comes just over a week after his Truth and Reconciliation Day vacation debacle, when Trudeau was seen surfing in Tofino, British Columbia.
He had received invitations from First Nations groups to observe the day in their communities. The holiday was instituted this year to remember those who died in or were effected by the nation's residential school programs.