Senator Don Meredith is proposing a national commemorative ceremony honouring Afro-Canadian soldiers.
“The educational benefits…are abundant,” he told a Commons Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs meeting discussing commemoration in the 21st Century. “Our black ancestors fought hard to break down barriers and open doors for those who follow. Their efforts should no longer be hidden, but should serve as inspiration and encouragement for our youth that they too can overcome the odds.”
Black veterans, he said, struggled for their right to defend their country and deserve a national ceremony commemorating their contributions. He suggests such a ceremony be conducted on Emancipation Day, the first Monday in August, which celebrates the abolition of slavery in the British Empire, and thus Canada, in 1834.
National Defence and the Canadian Forces honoured Afro Canadian Forces on its website during Black History Month. The Historica-Dominion Institute has a Black History Canada timeline and the Ontario Black History society website includes information on Afro=Canadian military participation from the War of 1812 through founding of the “all-Black” No. 2 Construction Battalion in the First World War, and acceptance of Afro-Canadian soldiers during the Second World War. The Veterans Affairs Canada website points out Afro-Canadian military achievements predate Confederation.