SIGN HERE: https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-1289
Following the Royal Commonwealth Society of Canada's successful Change.org petition of over 600 signatures for this cause, we have gained the sponsorship of Member of Parliament Nathaniel Erskine-Smith (Beaches-East York) to launch an official petition to the House of Commons. After review by the Clerk of Petitions, this petition was launched on Oct 7th 2017 on the Parliament of Canada e-Petition website!
We now have less than 120 days, or until February 15th 2018, to collect signatures for our campaign from Canadians across the country! Show your support now!
STATEMENT ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN:
Following, and further to the introduction of the significance of commemorating the beginning of freedom through the passage of the British Imperial Act in 1833, we understand that August 1st as Emancipation Day has been successfully commemorated with the City of Toronto, with Metropolitan Toronto, with the City of Ottawa and with the Province of Ontario - the latter through an all party/unanimous Bill effective in 2008. Now, a national commemoration is required.
There were efforts to abolish the enslavement of Africans in the late 1700s, but it was not until the passing of the British Imperial Act of 1833 that slavery was truly abolished throughout the British Empire which at that time included Canada. Britain and it's global colonies, were the first in the world to end this system.
This Act firmly placed Canada in the imagination of the enslaved, as well as abolitionists, as a country accepting of diversity and freedom for all. The ongoing image of Canada as a land of freedom and acceptance was born of this. It is a social justice issue, it is a Canadian issue.
Canada is the pivotal international link in the first freedom movement of the Americas - the Underground Railroad. Without the British Imperial Act, the Underground Railroad would never have evolved nor flourished. It is a great opportunity to underscore the role that Canada played in this first freedom movement of the Americas by declaring August 1st as Emancipation Day.
African Canadians had long celebrated Emancipation Day in the communities where there remained the descendants of the Underground Railroad. Communities, such as in Windsor, Owen Sound, St. Catharines, Toronto, Amherstberg and others, continued to offer spiritual commemorations in the British Methodist Episcopal Churches in their locations, and, cultural celebrations which often included parades. Over time, some of these celebrations waned due to population changes and the negative understanding/appreciation of African Canadian history. With an increase in immigration from the Caribbean by 1967, there was a renewed interest in extending this existing celebration. The celebration of Caribana was created by Black people (and others) from Canada, the Caribbean and Britain to celebrate the Centennial of Canada AND Emancipation Day with a different flair.
Further, this is the UN International Decade for People of African Descent. To declare August 1st as Emancipation Day claims for Canada a meaningful commemoration that both affirms and underpins our multicultural reality for ourselves and for the world.
As the 150th Anniversary of Canada, with a theme of appreciating our diversity, is the question not what and how was diversity supported, sustained and encouraged? It tracks back to the British Imperial Act and Canada’s unique position in relation to the United States and the rest of the world.
Support us by signing the House of Commons e-Petition to declare August 1st Emancipation Day in Canada!