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June 30, 2016 – Democratic Republic of Congo Independence Day

I would like to take this opportunity to extend my best wishes to members of the Canadian Congolese community on the occasion of Independence Day in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

On June 30, 1960, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) achieved independence from Belgian rule.  Today, independence observances are taking place in a somber atmosphere as the country struggles to gain stability amid escalating armed conflict.

On the eve of independence, The Democratic Republic of Congo, a territory larger than Western Europe, bordering on nine other African colonies/states, was seriously underdeveloped. There were no African army officers, only three African managers in the entire civil service, and only 30 university graduates. Yet Western investments in Congo’s mineral resources (copper, gold, tin, cobalt, diamonds, manganese, zinc) were colossal.

Canada established formal diplomatic relations with the Democratic Republic of Congo 1965.  Since 1999, Canada has sent peacekeepers to the DRC and contributed millions of dollars in aid.

Our city flourishes because of the diversity of people who have chosen to make Toronto their home. Toronto’s diverse communities share and celebrate their cultures and traditions with residents in every corner of our city.

As a city proud of its multiculturalism, each and every community plays a part in enhancing Toronto’s social and cultural landscape.