CALGARY, AB: The Hon. Jason Kenney, Leader of the United Conservatives, issued the following statement in celebration of Black History Month:
“Every February, Black History Month serves as an important opportunity to reflect on the contributions, sacrifices, and legacy of Canadians who trace their heritage to Africa and the Caribbean.
“Often fleeing persecution, many black Canadians settled in the prairies, trading immense hardships for other, new challenges. Despite the near constant difficulties, individuals such as John Ware became instrumental in shaping the Alberta we know today. It was Ware who introduced longhorn cattle to our prairies, and in the process, helped found our ranching industry. Moreover, it was Ware who popularized steer wrestling in Alberta, a highlight of the Calgary Stampede and other rodeos. Many Albertans are unaware that these prominent features of our provincial landscape are a result of the contributions of Alberta’s first black rancher.
“Albertans also boast a proud tradition in the fields of law and government. Canada’s first black female lawyer, Violet King was also the first person of colour to be called to the Alberta Bar. Her tireless work on anti-racism and gender equality initiatives broke down barriers for visible minorities and women in Canada, making her an inspiration for all Canadians.
“John Ware and Violet King are just two examples of the pioneering Albertans of African and Caribbean descent. The contributions from them, and so many others, form the foundation of our Canadian society, one that is set in a tradition of excellence and hard work. This spirit continues to be reflected in Alberta’s black communities today.
“As Leader of the United Conservative Party of Alberta, I encourage Albertans to learn, and to participate in the many celebrations and events that will take place across the province throughout February in honour of Black History Month.”