Parks Canada is under fire from twitter users after a race-baiting tweet got all the facts wrong on slavery in Canada.
The tweet, sent out on Friday to promote a Parks Canada press release on slavery designations, claimed that “between 1629 and 1834” Canada held “4,000 people of African descent” as slaves, going on to state that this history resulted in a “legacy of discrimination and systemic racism” that affects Black Canadians today.
Twitter users were quick to point out that Canada did not exist until the Confederation Act was signed in 1867.
While others were confused as to why Parks Canada, a public service with designation over our national parks, forests, and green spaces, was taking a lead on an social anti-racism project.
In addition to claiming Canada existed 238 years prior to when it actually did, Parks Canada’s tweet also contradicts other Government-sponsored official information on slavery in Canada.
According to the Canadian Museum of History, 4,200 slaves were catalogued as existing in what is now Canada between 1671 and 1834 only one-third of which were of African descent, the remainder being Indigenous.
The Museum goes on to note that for the entire 17th Century, only 35 slaves existed in the British colony, of which only seven were African. After 1760, the population increased to 800. No where does it state that 4,000 African slaves existed in the British Canada, and the information in the Parks Canada release is not sourced.
In 1807, the British empire signed the Slave Trade Act, which outlawed the international slave trade. As the trade continued, the Empire signed additional acts which criminalized slaving, even dedicating a fleet of the Royal Navy to capturing slave ships and freeing those on board. It is estimated that between 1806 and 1860 that the British fleet freed 150,000 enslaved persons.
Slavery was officially abolished in all British colonies in 1833, freeing over 800,000 enslaved persons in the Caribbean, South Africa, and Canada.