REGINA, October 26, 2001 -The Canadian Race Relations Foundation has called on the federal government to meet its promise to table a Plan of Action to combat racism and discrimination in Canada. The Plan of Action to strengthen the struggle against racism and hate was a key commitment made in the lead-up to and during the recent United Nations World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) held in Durban, South Africa this past September.
"This is an extremely critical time to address the issue of racism in Canada, particularly in the shadow of the events of September 11th," said Dr Karen Mock, the CRRF's newly appointed Executive Director. "While increasing security, Canadians should be concerned about racial profiling, restrictive immigration and refugee policies, documented increases in hate crime, and unreasonable intrusions on civil and human rights. A federal Plan of Action can sharpen the focus on these and related issues through an anti-racist lens and deserves strong support."
The CRRF held its first post-WCAR community forum last night in Regina at the Saskatchewan Science Centre. The meeting, hosted by Pana Merchant, CRRF's Regina board member, was an opportunity to share the wide range of issues and activities in Durban and discuss future initiatives.
"If you read or heard the news coming out of South Africa, you would think that there were only two issues worth talking about at that conference," said the Honourable Lincoln Alexander, Chair of the CRRF and former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. "To some, it didn't matter that many world leaders were in one place, at one time, trying to come up with solutions to deal with racism world-wide. It is important for us to discuss the implications of the World Conference openly and frankly."
A panel of CRRF participants in Durban provided the catalyst for lively discussion and ideas for follow-up initiatives.
Available at the meeting was the CRRF's comprehensive position paper presented in Durban, outlining key domestic and international recommendations. As well, in the wake of September 11th, the CRRF issued an Appeal for Ongoing Vigilance to governments, communities, and public institutions. The Foundation is also distributing mini-posters and stickers with messages such as:
* Terrorists come in all colours
* Don't spread hatred
to respond to the racist reaction that has been felt in many Canadian communities.