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Thursday, December 01, 2022

The federal government will formally apologize to the relatives of the Construction Battalion No. 2 | Nation World News

The federal government will formally apologize to the descendants and relatives of the men of Construction Battalion No. 2 on Saturday afternoon, 106 years after the formation of the historic battalion that confronted anti-Black racism during World War I.

The Nova Scotia-based battalion was the first military unit in Canada to be composed primarily of black personnel. The battalion was used primarily in non-combat situations to cut down trees, build roads, and maintain railway tracks.

No 2 Construction Battalion
The men first deployed to France, building roads and providing other enlisted men with water. (Nova Scotia Archives)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Anita Anand, the minister of national defense, and Lt. Gen. Frances Allen, deputy chief of defense staff, and members of the national apology advisory committee attended the event in Truro, NS

The event began with a parade at 12:30 p.m. AT and a ceremony to follow at the Truro Amateur Athletics Club, the same area where the No. 2 Construction Battalion would have trained.

“No words can make up for these historic mistakes, and we are committed to learning from this history to build a more inclusive Canadian Armed Forces and attract talented people who reflect Canada’s diversity to the armed forces,” Anand told CBC. informative morning host Portia Clark on Friday.

Information Tomorrow – NS8:21Canadian Minister of Defense in national apology to Construction Battalion No. 2

Anita Anand will represent the Trudeau government in Truro, at the federal government’s official apology to the descendants and members of the No. 2 Construction Battalion. As well as being Minister of National Defence, she also grew up in Kentville. Listen to her interview.

She said the federal government is implementing diversity and inclusion training within the Canadian Armed Forces, surveys to address harassment and discrimination, and created an anti-racism panel that outlined 13 areas to address discrimination.

“We need to make sure that we are building a Canadian Armed Forces where everyone who wears a uniform can serve safely, respected and protected,” Anand said.

“This is a challenge, especially in today’s polarized environment, but it is an issue that we are taking very seriously to ensure that we have a military where equality, non-discrimination and equal treatment characterize the institution.”

Meaningful Action

Black Battalion
Members of the No. 2 Construction Battalion line up in Truro before leaving for England and France in the First World War. (Submitted by George Borden)

But some anti-racism activists and descendants of battalion members hope the federal government will go beyond a formal apology and take “meaningful steps” to do more for black communities, improving health and wellness, education and opportunity. economic and labor of blacks.

The Nova Scotia Black Cultural Center, in conjunction with the federal government, developed a database to help identify battalion members and their descendants.

People from Canada, the United States, Barbados and the West Indies with ties to the battalion were expected to travel to Truro.

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