OTTAWA — Kids splashed in boggy mud puddles and brandished sodden paper Maple Leaf flags Saturday as a waterlogged rainbow coalition of rain slickers, ponchos and umbrellas assembled under grey skies on Parliament Hill to mark Canada’s 150th anniversary.
By midday, however, the rains had relented as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and their children arrived, along with Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, to take in the day’s performances, including a rousing version of "Carry On" by Buffy Sainte-Marie.
A CF-18 streaked over the Centre Block, drowning out the final notes of O Canada, before Heritage Minister Melanie Joly kicked off the proceedings in earnest: "Welcome to Canada Day," she enthused.
Rain clouds weren’t the only damper on the day, however.
Canada 150 celebrations have been tinged with the resentment and frustration of #indigenous people who don’t share the festive mood, preferring instead to emphasize the country’s oppressive, colonial past — a sentiment symbolized by the teepee erected not far from the stage.
"Our past is far from perfect," Trudeau said during a stirring speech about Canada’s history. "For centuries, Indigenous Peoples have been victims of oppression, from the time when the first explorers celebrated their discovery of the new world."
He urged the crowd to acknowledge the country’s history and confront its reality.
"We must educate ourselves and dedicate our efforts to progress," he said. "It is a choice we make not because of what we did, or who we were, but because of who we are."Trudeau’s speech also included one monumental gaffe: as he recited the names of the provinces, he omitted Alberta — something not lost on co-host Sandra Oh, who noted the mistake after the prime minister left the stage.Moments later, he jumped on the front of the stage, called out, "I love you, Alberta," and […]
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