200 years since slavery ended; still no commemoration
McGuinty strikes again! This is a humdinger of an election year for the Ontario Premier, what with endangered species, minimum wage, and now an attempt to get Canada to recognize the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade. Hey, at least he's channeling the possibility of reelection into some worthwhile projects.
On March 25th, 1807 Britain legally ended its trade in African human flesh and brought to a close its 270 year participation in one of the most horrific experiences in human history: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Last year, Canada supported a United Nations resolution calling a global commemoration of the anniversary. To date, there has been little federal recognition of the event.
"Slavery was one of the world's most shameful crimes against humanity," says Terry Downey, OFL executive vice-president and a descendant of African slaves. Some 50 million Africans were sent to the Americas and sold into slavery between 1450 and the early 19th century. Unfortunately, Canada, a British colony, participated in the slave trade and also practiced institutional enslavement of African people.
Between 1800 and 1865, approximately 20,000 black people escaped to British North America via the Underground Railway.
In keeping with the United Nation's General Assembly's adaptation of a resolution to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the British abolition of the slave trade, the McGuinty government plans to launch the Ontario Bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade which will include year-long projects to remember, educate and commemorate the history of the abolition of slavery in Ontario. The Bicentenary will give all Ontarians a chance to honour those who suffered and died as a result of slavery.