Good Morning everyone. I’m Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s Ambassador to the United States. Today, we mark Canada Day from the Embassy of Canada in Washington, D.C.
This year, more than ever, Canada Day presents us with an opportunity to demonstrate solidarity, understanding, and resilience. An opportunity for Canadians to come together to reflect on our history and culture.
Most importantly, Canada Day provides us with the space to hold a truthful and inclusive dialogue, grounded in reconciliation. To strengthen the ties that unite us, and to look forward to our country’s future with optimism while at the same acknowledging the past.
As many of you know, unmarked burial sites of hundreds of children were recently found on or near the grounds of former residential schools in Kamloops, British Columbia, and the Cowessess First Nation, in Saskatchewan.
Today I’m wearing orange to commemorate the children whose lives were lost as a result of mistreatment at residential schools. I’m wearing orange in support of the families left behind, and in solidarity with the survivors and communities who continue to feel the impacts of residential schools to this day.
Canada is a country that came into being without the meaningful participation of those who lived here first.
On this Canada Day, I encourage each of you to make a commitment to learn more about the Indigenous communities around you. Discover Indigenous culture. Educate yourself on the painful era of residential schools. Engage in meaningful discussions about our history and our past.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report is an excellent place to start and serves as a testament to the courage of each and every survivor and family member who shared their story.
We must unreservedly address historical and ongoing wrongs so we can build a better future.
While Canada and the United States have different histories and different truths to face, we also have an unique opportunity to walk this path together, as we so often do as friends, neighbours and allies.
Racism and hatred do not belong in any of our communities. Together we will continue to work tirelessly to end racism and to ensure our communities are safe and inclusive. We will learn from each other and share best practices in the promotion of diversity and inclusion.
Canada Day is about celebrating the diversity that makes up our country. Happy Canada Day everyone.