The Loyalist Day Proclamation was read at the Manitoba legislature on May 23 by The Honourable Cathy Cox, Minister of Sport, Culture and Heritage.
Many Branch members attended.
Lunch was enjoyed at The Met after the ceremony.
MINISTERIAL STATEMENTS [From Hansard]
United Empire Loyalists Day
Hon. Cathy Cox (Minister of Sport, Culture and Heritage): I am pleased to rise in the Chamber to celebrate and recognize United Empire Loyalists Day, which will officially be commemorated on June the 12th by the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada.
The United Empire Loyalists were, for the most part, settlers in the Thirteen Colonies who chose to remain loyal to the British Crown at the outbreak of the American Revolution.
And during the 18th century, displaced United Empire Loyalists fled the United States to Canada among other destinations. They came from every class, occupation and economic status. They were English, Dutch, German, French Huguenot, First Nations, Scottish and African.
And of the approximately 70,000 Loyalists who left the United States, about 50,000 migrated to the British colonies of Quebec, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. This influx of diversity played a very important role in shaping Canada's history.
The Loyalist tradition and commitment to the parliamentary system of government and the common law legal system influenced the passage of the Constitutional Act of 1871, now known as the Canada Act. This framework lays the foundation for the future development of Canada as a nation.
And today, Madam Speaker, we remind ourselves of the spirit of these very early pioneers who, because of the–loyalty to the British Crown, sacrificed their lives, their homes and their professions to migrate to a new land, with hopes of building a better life for themselves and their descendants.
Madam Speaker, I encourage all Manitobans to join me in acknowledging United Empire Loyalists' Day in Manitoba on June 12th, 2019, and to recognize the historic contributions that the United Empire Loyalists have made here in Manitoba.
Madam Speaker: I would indicate that the required 90 minutes notice prior to routine proceedings had been provided in accordance with rule 26(2).
Ms. Flor Marcelino (Logan): In May of 1783, the first United Empire Loyalists arrived on the shores of Canada to take refuge under the British Crown in Parr Town, Saint John, Nova Scotia. These Loyalists had been dispossessed of their land, their belongings, and forced to leave due to their loyalty to the British Empire.
Upon Confederation in 1870, many of these Loyalist settlers immigrated to our province of Manitoba and were known as the United Empire Loyalists.
Among the United Empire Loyalists who came to Canada were many peoples from a diverse range of ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds. They arrived in Canada seeking a new beginning and represent a part of the mosaic that makes up both our nation and our province.
Through their hard work, they established a vibrant economic multicultural community within our province, and their descendants continue that tradition today.
The story of the Loyalists speaks to the desire of many Canadians to have their home be a place where people can live together despite their differences.
I would like to recognize the United Empire Loyalists for incredibly important contributions they have had in building Canada, in creating a unique aspect of our country, our province and our cultural heritage.
Mr. Dougald Lamont (Leader of the Second Opposition): Today we recognize United Empire Loyalist Day, and we commemorate the ancestors of six million Canadians, the Loyalists, who fled the colonies during the American War of Independence. It was an era of profound and dangerous discontent and revolution, and these refugees from the American Revolution lost everything and went on to change Canada.
As Manitobans living in the 21st century, we may look at that period of history with a different lens. History is not one-sided, nor it–should it be. We should remember that history is sadder, richer and more complex, and that one person's or people's 'triumphses'–triumphs are another's losses.
When the Loyalists arrived, there were conflicts between indigenous peoples as well as with French-Canadians, and there was sometimes an expectation of assimilation, but this was the birth of Canada as a diverse nation.
Since that time, the simple conception of Canada as two solitudes, or of French and English, has evolved as we have recognized that the story is not so simple and never was. Since before the first explorer from Europe ever set foot on our shores, there have been many peoples living here, and the place we know as Canada has been home to many people–indigenous, English, French, African, Asian–for centuries.
There are times we've been united and fought shoulder to shoulder. There are times we’ve been divided and at war with ourselves.
Today, as we remember those Loyalists who changed Canada, let us also recall the spirit in which indigenous peoples first welcomed us and the diversity that has always defined Canada.