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NEW BRUNSWICK HERITAGE WEEK

 

Honourable Senators, this week is New Brunswick Heritage Week. Forgive me if I am prejudiced, but I believe that New Brunswick is the most beautiful province in Canada, having a rich heritage that began long before Confederation. For instance, Chaleur Bay in northern New Brunswick still carries the name that Jacques Cartier gave it in 1534. When Cartier arrived, the land was already peopled by the Mi'kmaq and Maliseet nations. Our first European settlement was established by Samuel de Champlain on Saint Croix Island in 1604. Sadly, these first settlers were not prepared for the privations of the Canadian climate and many died from cold and hunger.

The Acadian settlers would be much more successful.

They established farms built on land reclaimed from wetlands with a series of dikes.

Many of these dikes can still be seen today in the Tantramar Marshes.

With its rich forests, bountiful farmland and calm harbours, New Brunswick prospered. Many of our towns were established well before the province was officially founded in 1784. There is a great sense of history in all our towns; many are very old with rich histories.

This year, Sackville is celebrating its two hundred and fiftieth anniversary. Sackville was a thriving town when Washington existed only on paper. Over the years, the people of Sackville were involved in events that shaped Canada's history.

In 1776, during the American Revolution, a local militia unit repelled a force of American invaders at Fort Cumberland. Christopher Harper, an ancestor of our Prime Minister, was part of that defending militia. Without these militiamen, Nova Scotia, which included New Brunswick, might have become the fourteenth colony of the United States.

Sackville was a thriving shipbuilding port for many years. Today it is home to Mount Allison University and was named the Cultural Capital of Canada in 2008.

Many notable people have called Sackville home, and I will name a few: Grace Lockhart, the first woman in Canada to receive a university degree, from Mount Allison University; John Peters Humphrey, author of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; George Stanley, who designed the Canadian flag, and our honoured Canadian artist, Alex Colville.

This year, Sackville will host a year-long birthday celebration, and I invite all honourable senators to come and share the fun.