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January 30th Weekly Update

Message From Tony

Black History Month provides an opportunity to recognize the achievements of Canadians of African descent. This is a time to celebrate the vast contribution made by Black Canadians to our culture, our history, and to our business community.  It is also a time to reflect and acknowledge that although progress has been made, there is still much to be done to ensure equal rights and eradicate systemic racism.

Equality of opportunity must be at the forefront of all that we do. Our government is committed to investing in programs that improve the social, health, and economic well-being of Black Canadians. We recognize that diversity is our strength. And we understand that our investments need to be in initiatives that empower Black Canadians and address longstanding and systemic racism issues.

This month I have the privilege and honour of partnering with 3 Black community groups whose impact on our communities is significant and inspirational.  I want to thank Jerisha Grant-Hall – Newmarket African Caribbean Canadian Association (NACCA); Phiona Durant – Aurora Black Community and Milton Hart – Aurora Black Caucus.  Your organizations are leading us to a more equitable, more inclusive, and more welcoming place to call home.  Thank you for all that you do. 

I encourage our communities to engage in Black History Month and show your support for the programming and events put on by these organizations. On February 1, both Newmarket and Aurora will have flag raising events.  In addition, you could attend a Gala on February 3rd or an art exhibit, a speaker series, attend Black excellence in film, or join a celebration of Black History at the Newmarket Old Town Hall.  Please show your support – engage in the experience and help us build a more inclusive society.

Black History Month 2024

This Thursday kicks of the start of Black History Month 2024, honouring the legacy of Black people in Canada and celebrating their achievements and culture. This year’s theme is Black Excellence: A Heritage to Celebrate; a Future to Build.

Black Canadians and their communities have been a vital part of shaping Canada’s heritage and identity. The role of Black people and their communities have largely been ignored as a key part of Canada’s history.

Black History Month is a time to learn more about these Canadian stories and the many other important contributions that Black Canadians have made to the history and continued growth of this country.

Throughout the month of February, many events will be held to celebrate Black History Month, hosted by the Newmarket African Caribbean Canadian Association (NACCA) and the Aurora Black Community (ABC) Association.

These events consist of a Flag Raising Ceremony this Thursday for both organizations, a Black History Gala this Saturday, an Art Exhibit, and more. I encourage you to join these events and learn more about the resources NACCA and ABC offer.

The Aurora Black Caucus also provides a space to empower people of African ancestry, educate the community, and raise awareness of the issues that Black Canadians face every day.

No matter where you live, we invite all Canadians to learn more about these communities, and how they continue to help shape Canadian history.

Change the Bill Exhibit at Pickering College

At Pickering College’s Change the Bill Exhibit, I had the honour of joining their Grade 8 class to learn more about this campaign and speak about the importance of Truth and Reconciliation.

The Change the Bill campaign was created by the Native Women’s Association of Canada to promote reconciliation through art by commissioning Indigenous artists to reimagine the $20 bill with the Indigenous women who are their heroes.

The students at Pickering College were inspired by this and joined the campaign to educate more people about the legacy of Indigenous women in Canada. They researched the women that were featured on the campaign’s bills and also designed their own $20 bills to acknowledge the contributions of other 19th-century Canadian history makers.

I was proud to see the work that these students put into this exhibit and their dedication to raising awareness about Indigenous women throughout history.

Share your thoughts ahead of Budget 2024

As our government works to build the next step in our economic plan, Budget 2024, we’re inviting Canadians to share their ideas as part of pre-budget consultations on how we can best support Canadians, Canadian businesses, and the Canadian economy.

To participate in these consultations, Canadians can visit letstalkbudget24.ca and fill out the short, five-minute questionnaire and let us know how we can build an economy that works for you. Canadians are also welcome to submit their ideas and comments to the Department of Finance through a formal submission.

I encourage you to help us make Budget 2024 your budget by participating in these consultations before February 9, 2024.

Valentines for Veterans

Since 1996, thousands of valentines from children and youth have been distributed to Veterans in long-term care facilities across the country through the Valentines for Veterans program.

This program provides a learning opportunity for students and youth groups—and the valentines they create are treasured by Veterans who receive them.

To take part in this initiative, Canadians can:

  • deliver cards to Veterans in their community,
  • share photos of their valentines on the Veterans Affairs Facebook page,
  • send an e-card to a Veteran they know, or
  • send their cards to Veterans Affairs Canada, and we’ll deliver them to Veterans. Mail your  cards to:

Valentines for Vets

Veterans Affairs Canada

Commemoration, Distribution Unit

125 Maple Hills Avenue

Charlottetown, PE C1C 0B6

The Valentines for Veterans program helps us show Veterans that Canadians remember and recognize their courage, contributions, and sacrifice.

I encourage you to join me in brightening the day of Veterans or Canadian Armed Forces members this Valentine’s Day. Learn how you can send one here.

Tony Van Bynen

Member of Parliament for
Newmarket—Aurora

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