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Federal government to formally apologize to relatives of No. 2 Construction Battalion

The federal authorities will formally apologize to descendants and relations of the boys of the No. 2 Development Battalion Saturday afternoon, 106 years after the formation of the historic battalion that confronted anti-Black racism through the First World Struggle.

The Nova Scotia-based battalion was the primary army unit in Canada made up of principally Black personnel. The battalion was primarily utilized in non-combat conditions to clear timber, construct roads, and keep railway tracks.

The lads have been first deployed in France, constructing roads and offering water to different enlisted males. (Nova Scotia Archives)

Anita Anand, the minister of nationwide defence, and Frances Allen, vice-chief of the protection workers lieutenant-general, and members of the nationwide apology advisory committee will attend the occasion in Truro, NS

The occasion begins as we speak with a parade at 12:30 pm AT and a ceremony to comply with at Truro’s Novice Athletics Membership — the identical space the place the No. 2 Development Battalion would have educated.

“No phrases can ever make up for these historic wrongs, and we’re dedicated to studying from this historical past to constructing a extra inclusive Canadian Armed Forces and to attracting gifted folks to the army who mirror Canada’s variety,” Anand informed CBC’s Data Morning visitor Portia Clark on Friday.

Data Morning – NS8:21 amCanada’s protection minister on nationwide apology to the No. 2 Development Battalion

Anita Anand will signify the Trudeau authorities in Truro, on the federal authorities’s official apology to descendants and members of the No. 2 Development Battalion. Along with being the Minister of Nationwide Defence, she additionally grew up in Kentville. Hear her interview.

She stated the federal authorities is implementing variety and inclusion coaching throughout the Canadian Armed Forces, surveys to handle harassment and discrimination, and created an anti-racism panel that outlined 13 areas to handle discrimination.

“We have to make it possible for we’re constructing a Canadian Armed Forces the place everybody who places on a uniform can serve in a protected, revered and guarded method,” Anand stated.

“This can be a problem, particularly in as we speak’s polarized surroundings, nevertheless it is a matter that we’re taking very critically to make it possible for we’ve an armed forces the place equality and non-discrimination and equal remedy writ massive characterize the establishment.”

Significant motion

Members of the No. 2 Development Battalion lined up in Truro earlier than they left for England and France within the First World Struggle. (Submitted by George Borden)

However some anti-racism activists and descendants of battalion members hope the federal authorities will transcend a proper apology and take “significant motion” to do extra for Black communities, by bettering Black well being and wellness, schooling, and financial and employment alternatives.

Nova Scotia’s Black Cultural Centre, with the federal authorities, developed a database to assist establish members of the battalion and their descendants.

Folks from Canada, the US, Barbados and the West Indies with ties to the battalion are anticipated to journey to Truro.

For extra tales in regards to the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success tales throughout the Black group — take a look at Being Black in Canada, a CBC mission Black Canadians could be pleased with. You possibly can learn extra tales right here.


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