FREDERICTON (GNB) – With the full support of the legislative assembly, the provincial government on Wednesday proclaimed Aug. 1 be known as Emancipation Day.

Arlene Dunn, minister responsible for Immigration, introduced the motion, which was seconded by David Coon, the leader of the Green party. The motion passed unanimously.

“This is a historic day for New Brunswick and all those of African descent who call our beautiful province home,” said Dunn, who is also the minister of Aboriginal Affairs, minister responsible for Opportunities New Brunswick and minister responsible for Economic Development and Small Business. “I am proud to be part of this non-partisan effort and I’m looking forward to celebrating our province’s first Emancipation Day just weeks from now.”

British parliament abolished slavery on Aug. 1, 1834, freeing about 800,000 enslaved people of African descent throughout the British colonies, including upper and lower Canada.

New Brunswick joins other provinces such as Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia in designating Aug. 1 as Emancipation Day. The federal government has also done so.