Mr. Speaker, on December 14, 1995 the House of Commons declared February as Black History Month. From the earliest period of our history to the present, people of African origin have contributed toward making Canada one of the most envied nations in the world.
Black people, both as slaves and as free men and women, gave greatly of themselves in the development of our nation. As fishermen and domestics in New France, soldiers and labourers in early Nova Scotia, fur traders employed by the Hudson's Bay Company, prairie farmers at the turn of the century, skilled tradesmen, teachers, businessmen in pre-confederation British Columbia, black people have brought a wealth of skills to our country.
Canadians of African origin, both past and present, are as diverse as settlers from Europe and Asia but have been united by a common experience in history. With a desire to succeed in the face of adversity and weather hardship with an undaunted spirit, the history of black people will always be an integral part of Canada's history.