February 01, 2017

Statement by Andrew Scheer recognizing Black History Month

February marks the beginning of Black History Month, an annual celebration to recognize the legacy and achievements of Black Canadians who trace their family heritage to Africa and the Caribbean.

Black History Month provides an opportunity for all of us to look back at many contributions that Black Canadians have made throughout history and honour those who fought for equal rights, and the abolition of slavery.

Canada is the proud home of a number of significant moments in Black history such as The Abolition Act of 1793 that put an end to slavery in what was then Upper Canada.

Black Canadians have been very successful in such areas as education, medicine, art, culture, public service, economic development, politics and human rights. Their presence in Canada is well established but not so well-known.

Black History Month creates a wonderful chance for people of our country to learn about Black Canadian icons such as Lincoln Alexander, the first Black member of parliament in Canadian history; Mifflin Wistar Gibbs, a tireless defender of human rights and the recognized leader of the West Coast African Canadian community; Donovan Bailey, one of the greatest sprinters of all time; Mary Ann Shadd Cary, the first woman publisher in Canada; Rev. Addie Aylestock, the first ordained Black woman minister in Canada, and many others.   

As we celebrate Black History Month and commemorate contributions and legacy of Black Canadians, let’s remember our shared responsibility to eliminate racism and multiple forms of discrimination.  

I encourage all Canadian families to participate in the events and activities taking place across Canada to mark this important part of our heritage. Let us celebrate achievements of Black Canadians who have done so much to make our country the culturally diverse and prosperous place it is today.