Mr. Speaker, a year ago on February 13, along with the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism, I announced the Matthieu Da Costa award. The award honours black history month by commemorating the life of Da Costa, the first recorded black person in Canada. Through literary essay and art competitions it encourages students to explore contributions made by individuals of cultural minority backgrounds to the development of Canada.
Today I am proud to announce that elementary and secondary schools all over Canada from coast to coast actively participated in the award contest. A special ceremony was held at the Canadian Museum of Civilization to honour the 1997 winners. We all congratulate Skye Smith, Caitlyn Doyle, Crystal David, Marie-France Pare, Kimahli Powell, Marie-Claude Latreille, Warren George Lefthand and Michael Lomenda.
Along with the Canadian Teachers' Federation, I invite all members to join me in celebrating this truly unique initiative which fosters a shared sense of Canadian identity.