Emancipation Day recognizes the end of slavery in Canada
Emancipation Day recognizes the end of slavery in Canada

Emancipation Day recognizes the end of slavery in Canada

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August 1 marks Emancipation Day in Canada, recognizing the day in 1834 that the Abolition of Slavery Act came into effect.

The move effectively ended slavery in most of the British colonies and freed more than 800,000 people.

House of Commons vote unanimously to establish August 1st Emancipation Day in Canada last year, on March 24.

“Canadians were not always aware that Blacks and Indigenous Peoples were once enslaved in the lands of what is now Canada. Those who fought slavery were vital in shaping our society to be as diverse as it is today,” notes the Canadian Government website, inviting Canadians to reflect and educate themselves on the country’s history of discrimination and racism.

“Despite the abolition of slavery nearly two centuries ago, the legacy of anti-Black racism in Canada and around the world is still prevalent today,” said Minister for Diversity and Inclusion Ahmed Hussen on Monday.

“We cannot accept that this is the situation. Let me be clear: There is no place for racism or hate in Canada. On Emancipation Day, we remember the destructive effects of the slave trade and its devastating effects on society. But let us also recommit to building a safer and more inclusive future for our children, our grandchildren and for generations to come.”

Despite the declaration, many black leaders and scholars have continued to call on the federal government to make a formal apology for the country’s history of slavery and intergenerational corruption.

Nova Scotia Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard said the apology was empty without action, showing there is a significant need for education.

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