Racism: Any individual action, or institutional practice which treats people differently because of their colour or ethnicity. This distinction is often used to justify discrimination
Colonialism: The process of invasion, dispossession, genocide and subjugation of a people. The result is the dispossession of vast amounts of lands from the original inhabitants and the long-term result is institutionalized inequality. The colonizer/colonized relationship is by nature an unequal one that benefits the colonizer at the expense of the colonized. Settler colonialism — such as in the case of Canada — is the unique process where the colonizing population does not leave the territory, asserts ongoing sovereignty to the land, actively seeks to assimilate the Indigenous populations, and extinguishes their cultures, traditions, and ties to the land. Colonialism refers to the ideology or method that makes way for colonization.
Enslavement: The act of controlling someone’s actions, thoughts, emotions, or life completely. Slavery is the ownership of a person as property, especially in regard to their labour. Slavery typically involves compulsory work with the slave’s location of work and residence dictated by the party that holds them in bondage. Enslavement is the placement of a person into slavery.
Marginalized groups/ Marginalization/ Marginalized: A social process by which individuals or groups are (intentionally or unintentionally) distanced from access to power and resources and constructed as insignificant, peripheral, or less valuable/privileged to a community or “mainstream” society.
Statement by the Prime Minister on Emancipation Day
August 1, 2021
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, issued the following statement on Emancipation Day.
“On this day in 1834, the British Parliament’s Slavery Abolition Act, 1833, came into effect and laid the pathway to freeing enslaved people of African descent across most of the British Empire. Since then, many people of African descent and their allies commemorate August 1 as Emancipation Day, an important milestone on the quest for freedom, justice, and equality.
“Slavery existed in what is now Canada from the 16th century until its abolition in 1834 – Black people’s fight for freedom and emancipation in Canada was far from over. After slavery was abolished, people of African descent in Canada still had to face exclusion from public spaces, such as restaurants and theatres, as well as segregation in housing, schooling, and employment through specific laws and practices.
“Despite the abolition of enslavement nearly two centuries ago, the legacy of anti-Black racism is still prevalent today, entrenched in our institutions, policies, and practices. Canada’s history of enslavement, racial segregation, and marginalization of people of African descent is a part of Canadian history that is often forgotten, functionally normalizing institutional and systemic forms of racism or rendering them invisible.
“Today, Black Canadians continue to face prejudice, discrimination, and longstanding disparities in access to education, housing, and employment that limit their full and equal participation in society. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has only further highlighted the social, health, and economic disparities that undermine the livelihoods of Black Canadians and many other people in Canada.”