“All Canadians benefit when we embrace diversity,” Trudeau's Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault wrote in a recent report. But it turns out that the report contains the completely made-up "fact" that black people have been present in Nunavut since the 1600s. In fact, there is no evidence that people of African descent were in the region until after 1931.
“Unknown to many Iqaluit residents and most Canadians, people of African descent have been present in the Canadian territory since the early 1600s ... The event was a resounding success, demonstrating the bridge built between Inuit and African cultures throughout Canadian history,” the report said.
The report in question was the Annual Report On The Operation Of The Canadian Multiculturalism Act. Inside the report was acknowledgment that the Nunavut Black History Society celebrated Black History Month in February with a $57,800 grant from the Trudeau government.
The Department of Canadian Heritage has since admitted to the mistake by the heritage minister. “The passage you were asking about references Mathieu Da Costa, the first recorded Black person to come to the territory now known as Canada in the early 1600s,” Heritage spokesperson Martine Courage told Blacklock's.
There is no definitive evidence that Da Costa, a black sailor and interpreter for Samuel de Champlain, ever stepped foot in Canada, and if he did, it would have been 1,800 kilometres from Nunavut, according to the Canadian Encyclopedia.
Guilbeault has been prone to gaffes and blunders during his tenure as heritage minister. He made waves around the world for endorsing the idea of a "media licence" for news outlets in order to ensure "trustworthy" and "accurate" information. After being embarrassed by media for the Orwellian idea, he walked back his comments.