TORONTO, May 8, 2003 - An Open Letter to Joe Spina, Progressive Conservative MPP for Brampton Centre
Dear Mr. Spina,
On behalf of the board and staff of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF), we are writing to express our concern with regard to statements attributed to you in the media on May 8, 2003 linking the problem of SARS to 'the kind of immigration that comes in (Canada)".
The CRRF agrees the SARS virus is a definite cause for concern requiring adequate precautions against its spread. But, by attributing the prevention of SARS to an immigration-related issue, you are unfairly placing the blame on people who have and continue to make a strong contribution to building this country.
Your comments also mask a larger concern: the willingness to use immigrants as a scapegoat for issues facing our country under challenging times. SARS is a virus that does not discriminate. As Canadians, it is incumbent upon us to refrain from targeting particular groups, and to express our willingness to work together to ensure the issue is effectively addressed without negative treatment to anyone.
The public looks to elected officials, such as yourself, to have a comprehensive knowledge of the issues affecting our communities. The CRRF hopes that you will reconsider your disparaging remarks and use it as an opportunity to inform yourself and the public on the real solutions for curbing the SARS virus.
We invite you to consider this incident as a springboard for more thoughtful words and actions on issues concerning Canadians.