Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he is “jealous” of immigrants to Canada and their families, who, he said, have more of a stake in the country than others.
“Anytime I meet people who got to make the deliberate choice, whose parents chose Canada, I’m jealous,” he said in an interview that aired Friday morning on CTV.
WATCH: Here are six different stereotypes about Canadians that are true
“Because I think being able to choose it, rather than being Canadian by default, is an amazing statement of attachment to Canada.”
The interview aired on the eve of the much-hyped Parliament Hill celebration for Canada Day, a date that has triggered some negative reactions.
While many Canadians from coast to coast to coast are raising their red and white flags, cooling their beer and heating up their barbecues, some Indigenous groups are planning protests and ceremonial events to remind Canadians that for them, there is nothing to celebrate.
“I always sort of laugh when you see people who are – not many of them, but – intolerant or who think, ‘Go back to your own country,’” Trudeau said in the television interview.
“No!” Trudeau continued. “You chose this country. This is your country more than it is for others because we take it for granted.”
WATCH: Indigenous protesters erect teepee on Parliament Hill
Across Canada, hate crime targeting Muslims more than tripled between 2012 and 2015, despite the overall number of such crimes decreasing over the same period, according to Statistics Canada data published earlier this month.
During a stop in Prince Edward Island yesterday, Trudeau said he understands why they won’t be celebrating and that he wants them treated with respect.
WATCH: New data on police-reported hate crimes in this country paint a disturbing picture.
— With a file from the Canadian Press
© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.