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Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on Black History Month

Ottawa, Ontario
February 1, 2017
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement to celebrate Black History Month:

“Throughout our history, Black Canadians have played a key role in building and shaping the diverse, compassionate, and prosperous country that we are all so proud to call home.

“Every February, Canadians celebrate Black History Month by acknowledging the remarkable achievements and contributions that Canadians of African and Caribbean descent have made to Canada.

“I urge all Canadians to reflect on the bravery and courage of individuals like Viola Desmond, a prominent Black Canadian businesswoman who changed the course of Canadian history by defiantly refusing to leave a whites-only area of a movie theatre in 1946.

“In recognition of her impact on the civil rights and freedoms movement in Canada, the Government of Canada chose Viola Desmond as the face of Canada’s ten dollar bank note.

“This year, as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, let us never forget the stories of Black Canadians’ courage in the face of intolerance. Diversity is our greatest strength, and we must always continue to build a country that affords equality and opportunity for all.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, Sophie and I encourage all Canadians to participate in the many events that will take place across the country throughout February.

“Together, let us celebrate the heritage of Black Canadians, and honour the integral role they have played in shaping our democratic and free society.”

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