Prime Minister Trudeau speaks at a ceremony unveiling the symbols of Nunavut on the Centennial Flame
Thank you all. What a great pleasure to be here on this historic day. I want to give a special thanks to our Algonquin friends who welcomed us onto their territory today. But did you really have to make the friends from the north feel so welcome with the freezing cold weather, Kirby? It’s a good Nunavut day here in Ottawa.
Good afternoon, everyone. Unasakut. Thank you so much for joining us here on Parliament Hill for this truly historic day. I’m pleased to be here with Nunavut’s new Premier, Paul Quassa. Thank you. Welcome to Ottawa, Paul.
A little more than 50 years ago Lester B. Pearson stood in this spot and spoke to the lighting of this centennial flame. The occasion was a grand one, kicking off Canada’s centennial celebrations, our 100th birthday. More than 32 years later Nunavut would become Canada’s third territory. And today we finally add our 13th crest to this iconic symbol.
Since its creation…
Great to see so many friends here. The leader of the Green Party, Elizabeth May, great to see you. Natan Obed, Hunter Tootoo, many MPs, thank you very much for being here as well.
Since its creation, the Territory of Nunavut has contributed to the Canadian story in so many ways, from culture and language, to food and Inuit values, the people of Nunavut are an essential part of what makes Canada Canada.
During the 2015 campaign I was lucky to bring both my wife and my youngest son to experience Nunavut for themselves and they absolutely loved it, which didn’t surprise me in the slightest, because anyone who visits falls in love with our extraordinary north.
I had the chance to visit again in February this past year and was reminded all over again of the true unparalleled beauty of Canada’s north and the warmth of the welcome you receive.
But perhaps most importantly, I was reminded of the fundamental importance we must place on the generations-long process of reconciliation with indigenous peoples here in Canada including the Inuit.
The road to reconciliation is a long one. But we must proceed down this path. Indigenous peoples have faced centuries of oppression and discrimination in this country, but they will not face centuries more.
As we look back on where we’ve been, and look forward on where we’re going, we know that respect, inclusion, and full participation for the people of Nunavut will be essential to the progress of Canada.
Half a century ago in this spot, Prime Minister Pearson captured the importance of this moment... of this symbol. He said:
“As this symbolic flame burns, so let pride in our country burn in the hearts of all Canadians where the real meaning of Canada must ever be found.”
Today let us remember his words and take pride in this great country of ours, the true north strong and free.
Thank you very much. Qujannamiik. Thank you.