Open Request Letter to MP Greg Fergus to Sponsor ‘October as Caribbean Heritage Month in Canada’ (Oct 23, 2020)

Friday, October 23, 2020

Member of Parliament Greg Fergus

House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6

Good day MP Fergus,

I am writing this letter on behalf of the Boards of Caribbean Women’s Society (CWS), Caribbean-Canadian Parents United, and Caribbean-Canadian Chamber of Commerce & Community; to request your support for the Caribbean-Canadian community by accepting the role of  Sponsor to propose ‘October as Caribbean Heritage Month in Canada’.

To preclude any misunderstanding, while February is a commemorative month to recognize Black History and the historical experience and achievements of Black Canadians, exclusively of African ancestry; Caribbean Heritage Month is intrinsically different.

In alignment with your interest to encourage a sense of belonging; and to discern, Caribbean Heritage Month recognizes, teaches, and explores the rich cultural heritage and contributions of Canadians of Caribbean descent; which infers forty-three distinct nations, counting Montserrat; a range of ethnicities, including, Amerindian, South American, Asian, African, Southeast Asian, and European; and six official languages.

Since their first arrival in Canada in the late 1700’s to present day, Caribbean-Canadians continue to contribute to Canada’s growth and prosperity; for instance, your continuous contributions to the Senate since 2018.  The Caribbean community in Canada deserves merit for further enriching Canada’s mosaic.

As background, our accomplishments to date include:

  1. In 2018, CWS was a recipient of the Multi-Cultural Community Capacity Grant-Funding from the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration; to plan and launch Caribbean Heritage Month; including the first Canadian website dedicated to sharing and promoting Caribbean Heritage Month in Canada www.ourchm.ca
  2. In partnership with Caribbean-Canadian Parents United and Caribbean-Canadian Chamber of Commerce & Community, CWS has been hosting a series of cultural events, activities, and social media campaigns throughout October in 2018, 2019 and 2020; to celebrate Caribbean Heritage Month.
  3. CWS has consistently recruited and mobilized hundreds of Caribbean-Canadian volunteers, including women, youth, and seniors, to contribute and participate in Caribbean Heritage Month activities and events since 2018.
  4. CWS hosted the first annual Caribbean Heritage Month flag-raising ceremony on October 1, 2018 at Mel Lastman Square in North York, Ontario.
  5. CWS hosted the second annual Caribbean Heritage Month flag-raising ceremony on October 1, 2019 at Ken Whillans Square in Brampton, Ontario.
  6. CWS hosted the third annual Caribbean Heritage Month flag-raising ceremony on October 1, 2020, via virtual livestream: https://youtu.be/T9-D1EN-H_4
  7. CWS has gained over 2000 signatures combined, on their Parliament of Canada petition https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-2722 and their change.org petition: http://chng.it/fndWtdwdLM.
  8. CWS has received Congratulatory letters from Premier Doug Ford and the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Elizabeth Dowdeswell.
  9. Several municipalities throughout the Ontario have proclaimed the month of October to be Caribbean Heritage Month, including Pickering, Whitby, Vaughan, Toronto, Caledon, Markham and Brampton.
  10. CWS has consistently fostered and facilitated civic engagement activities within the Caribbean-Canadian community, including women, youth, and seniors; to advocate for Caribbean Heritage Month in Canada, since 2018.
  11. CWS gained the support of MPP Michael Coteau in sponsoring Bill 134 in Ontario Parliament on October 28, 2019.

MP Fergus, I am confident that I have provided you with sufficient evidence to prove that legislating Caribbean Heritage Month in Canada is of great significance to the Caribbean-Canadian community and would benefit all Canadians.  Given your Caribbean heritage, as a descendent from the British protectorate of Montserrat; and given, approximately 11% of the 18% visible minority population (statscan 2016) of your Hull-Aylmer constituency is made up of Caribbean-Canadians, I trust that you will accept the very fitting role of Sponsor to propose ‘October as Caribbean Heritage Month in Canada’.

Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,

Camille Kerr

President