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“Now we begin a new 150 years. We leave behind the first 150 years, the ones with one big problem — trying to wipe out our Indigenous people, to take their minds and hearts, to give them the choice [to] become white or get lost,” he said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also attended the We Day event and took to the stage to thank Downie.
Earlier Trudeau told the crowd that young people will be key in building a Canada that is made up of trust, openness and love.
“We see some places in the world where [differences] create fault lines and divisions, what we see in Canada is those become a source of strength. We learn from each other, we learn from our different experiences. We lean on our neighbours … that is going to be the secret to the future of the country,” he said.
The five-hour event also featured appearances by Governor-General David Johnston, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde, Chris Hadfield, Penny Oleksiak and P.K. Subban and performances from the Barenaked Ladies, Nelly Furtado and Hedley.
At 6:50 p.m. the Parliamentary Protective Service, which oversees security on the Hill grounds, says about 14,000 people attended Sunday’s event.
It lacked the long waits at security checkpoints that frustrated some people trying to get to Saturday’s shows on Parliament Hill.