Ottawa, ON — The Hon. Pierre Poilievre, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and the Official Opposition, released the following statement on Emancipation Day: 

“The transatlantic slave trade inflicted horrific pain and suffering on millions of people. They were torn from their families, removed from their culture, and sold into bondage through one of the most inhumane institutions to ever exist. 

“Today, we mark 189 years since the Slavery Abolition Act came into force, fully abolishing slavery across Canada and the entire British Empire and freeing millions of people. This came 40 years after Canada was the first country in the British Empire to limit slavery through John Simcoe’s Act to prevent the further introduction of slaves and to limit the term of contract for servitude within this province

“This cruel system of oppression was finally ended through the conviction of abolitionists like William Wilberforce and the testimony of formerly enslaved people such as Olaudah Equiano.  

“The legacy of the Act and the heroes that ushered in its passage have been an incredible blessing to Canada. Over the years, it has inspired us to continuously pursue equality and seek reconciliation wherever we have failed to live up to the values of freedom and justice. 

“As we consider the impact of the Slavery Abolition Act and remember how it has shaped our history, I encourage all Canadians to reflect on how we can continue to build on the powerful vision of freedom and equality it established.”