In his Thanksgiving Day statement Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau avoided any reference to thanking God.
The Canadian holiday, like the U.S. celebration in November, was set aside as a time of national thanksgiving for the blessings of God.
In an official proclamation from Jan. 31, 1957, Canadian Governor General Vincent Massey announced a “Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed — to be observed on the second Monday in October.”
Instead, Trudeau insisted Thanksgiving was “a time to celebrate the harvest, and a chance to appreciate the many people who contribute every day to our communities.”
Trudeau also remembered “the people who work each day to change our lives for the better. People across Canada contribute in thousands of ways to keep us healthy and safe, and to make our communities stronger and more open.”
These same people make Canada “strong, inclusive and prosperous,” he said.
Read the full statement below:
“Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate the harvest, and a chance to appreciate the many people who contribute every day to our communities. We honour our service members, who courageously and selflessly defend our country’s fundamental values of justice, democracy, and freedom. We also give thanks for the people who work each day to change our lives for the better. People across Canada contribute in thousands of ways to keep us healthy and safe, and to make our communities stronger and more open.
“This holiday also reminds us that many people, in Canada and around the world, do not share equally in the benefits we enjoy. Thanksgiving asks us to remember those less fortunate, and to show compassion to those in need – not only today, but every day.
“This year, as we mark 150 years of Confederation, we recognize the countless people and communities who help make Canada strong, inclusive, and prosperous. As we give thanks for our blessings, let us look for new ways to give generously of ourselves, too. All of our actions, no matter how small, have an impact on the world – and each of us has a role to play to change our world for the better.
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, Sophie and I wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving.”