Minister Alexander issues statement to recognize Emancipation Day
July 31, 2015
Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander issued the following statement to recognize Emancipation Day:
Tomorrow marks the anniversary of the abolition of slavery in 1834 throughout most of the British colonies, including British North America. The Slavery Abolition Act helped to make Canada a safe destination for Blacks seeking freedom, liberty and justice.
“For many years Canada was home to numerous groups and individuals that fought against slavery and offered settlement supports to those who made the journey to freedom.
“As early as 1793, Upper Canada – now Ontario – was among the first British colonies to begin the move towards the abolition of slavery when the first Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe passed an Act Against Slavery.
“And in 1819 Attorney General John Beverley Robinson declared that Canadian courts would protect Blacks who escaped enslavement and who made it to Canada, protecting the freedoms of all those who had been enslaved.
“In 1851, The Anti-Slavery Society of Canada was founded. Its members and associates included the Honourable George Brown, editor of The Globe and later a Father of Confederation and Harriet Tubman, one of the best known ‘conductors’ of the ‘Underground Railroad.’
“I encourage all Canadians to learn about this historic moment and the role of that our fundamental values of freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, have played in our country’s development. And let us reaffirm our commitment to those values.”