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UPDATE: Trudeau visits P.E.I., says Canada's history 'not as positive' for aboriginals

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau adjusts the hat of five-month-old Lorry Martell during a meet and greet at the Montague Curling Club on Thursday, June 29, 2017.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau adjusts the hat of five-month-old Lorry Martell during a meet and greet at the Montague Curling Club on Thursday, June 29, 2017.

MONTAGUE, P.E.I. — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he recognizes indigenous Canadians may not be celebrating the country's 150th birthday in the same way as others across the country.

Speaking at a curling rink in Montague, P.E.I., Thursday, he said reconciliation with aboriginal Canadians needs to be a key theme of 150th commemorations.

He spoke after aboriginal protesters raised a large teepee in front of Parliament Hill's East Block overnight as part of a criticism of the country's treatment of its original occupants.

The protesters were initially met with resistance from police late Wednesday. Both sides had refused to budge and a spokeswoman at the scene said 10 people were briefly held in custody before being released.

Trudeau told the P.E.I. crowd that “the history of the last 150 years for indigenous peoples has not been as positive.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the Montague Curling Club in P.E.I. Thursday, June 29, 2017, for a meet and greet hosted by Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay.

He later told reporters the government is working to ensure that Canada Day celebrations reflect the diversity of the country.

“Diversity is a strength. But it doesn't just mean diversity of backgrounds, it also means diversity of views. I think it's important that even as Canada, as Canadians, celebrate Canada 150, we reflect upon the experiences and the importance of folding in and hearing the stories and the experiences of indigenous Canadians,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Trudeau and P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan sat outside a resort near Cardigan, where the prime minister told him he often hears from “fiercely proud” Island MPs in his caucus on a variety of issues, including the high cost of crossing the Confederation Bridge to the mainland.

Trudeau is scheduled to head to New Brunswick later in the day for more meet-and-greets.

More to come

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the Montague Curling Club in P.E.I. Thursday, June 29, 2017, for a meet and greet hosted by Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay.

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