The Government of Canada celebrates Black History Month
I recently received an invitation from The Honorable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, on behalf of the Government of Canada. The invitation was to a reception celebrating Black History Month at the Grand Hall, of the Canadian Museum of History – which is located in Gatineau, Quebec.
The Grand Hall is beautiful room that showcases some amazing Aboriginal art. The ceremony was opened by Greg Fergus, who is a Member of Parliament. He spoke about how “Black History Month, provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the many ways that Canadian’s of African and Caribbean descent have helped to shape Canadian heritage and identity”. It was followed by the national anthem, sang my lovely young lady that did a fantastic job. It was then followed with two other performances, that include a song and a comedic act.
Mathieu Da Costa
It was now time for the unveiling of the covered display, that was on stage. MP Fergus invited the Honourable Judy M. Foote (Minister of Public Services and Procurement), the Honourable Ahmed D. Hussen (Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship) and Deepak Chopra (Canada Post CEO). They then presented the to the crowd, the stamp that was to commemorate Mathieu Da Costa. Da Costa was a free Black African, who in 1600s was employed as a translator by Dutch and French explorers and traders. During this time, it was not uncommon for Africans to act as translators for Europeans. He spoke Dutch, Portuguese and French. What made him quite extraordinary is that he knew how to interpret “pidgin”, which was a dialect spoken by the Mi’kmaq and Montagnais. The unveiling of the stamp was a real crowd pleaser!
“While the full story of Mathieu Da Costa may never be known, interest in his life and in his unique connection with our country is a reminder of the values of respect, acceptance and diversity that Canadians cherish,” says CEO Deepak Chopra
Ahmed D. Hussen
After the unveiling of the stamp, Ahmed D. Hussen addressed the crowd. A little background on Mr Hussen:
- newly appointed to his current role.
- born and raised in Somalia and immigrated to Canada in 1993.
- has a Bachelor of Arts (History) from York University and his Law Degree from the University of Ottawa.
Mr Hessen spoke of his experience and the challenges he faced, when he first immigrated to Canada. He also spoke of his achievements and successes – which was nice to listen to. He also touched on the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program . Ahmed also spoke about the rich, diverse and long history, that Black Canadian’s have in this country. To conclude, Ahmed said that Canada has a great system (that has room for improvement) and strongly encourage the audience to learn more about the contribution and hardship that Black’s have had Canada.
Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly, also took the stage. She spoke about the importance of multiculturalism and how inclusion and equality is something that Canadians need to know about. She ended her speech with the words ‘the moment you have been waiting all night for is hear!’. Which confused the crowd. She then announced the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau was going coming to the stage – which have everybody shocked because he was expected to be there. The Prime Minister made a speech of focused on inclusion, the importance of multiculturalism and denouncing the recent attack on a Mosque in Quebec city. This was a great way to conclude this wonderful evening!
Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau
I’m very happy to have been part of this event. I got to mingle with new people and see old work colleagues and friends. I hope to attend next years event.