Racism is perhaps the highest hurdle that Canada faces in its quest to be the most multicultural nation
TORONTO, April 10, 2008 /CNW/ - A lesson in discrimination prepared for third grade francophone pupils in Québec is one of seven finalists for the coveted Award of Excellence presented biennially by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF). The Université du Québec à Montréal who produced "La Leçon de discrimination" receives $2,000 by virtue of being a finalist, and is now eligible for the top prize of $10,000 which will be announced at the Award of Excellence Gala and Symposium from April 30 to May 2, 2008 at the Coast Plaza Hotel and Conference Centre in Calgary, Alberta.
The other six finalists are: The Chinese Canadian National Council (Ontario) for its work on the Chinese Canadian Head Tax, The Newfoundland Head Tax and the Chinese Exclusion Act; The Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations (Québec) for its multi-faceted campaign to address racial profiling; "The Great White North Project: Exploring Whiteness, Privilege, Racism and Identity in Canada", a collection of essays on white privilege and racism by Dr. Darren Lund (and Dr. Paul Carr) of the University of Calgary (Alberta); The Youth Action Network (Ontario) for its annual anti-racism conference; Le Carrefour BLE (Québec) a workplace integration program which assists international graduates with degrees in agriculture, and SaskTel (Saskatchewan) for its Representative Workforce Strategy and Aboriginal Participation Initiative.
"The aim of the Award of Excellence recognizes organizations and the programs they establish to combat racism and racial discrimination whether in the workplace, the community or in an academic setting," said Zenana Akande, a retired educator and former Ontario cabinet minister who was the chairperson of the independent jury panel which assessed the entries. What's most important, and what we look for, is the systemic effect of these programs; that is, their success in changing attitudes and the potential for long-term change.
The finalists will be invited to participate in the Award of Excellence Symposium in Calgary which will feature model anti-racism education and training workshops and panel discussions on anti-racism policies. Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity, Jason Kenney will be among the keynote speakers.
"Racism is perhaps the highest hurdle that Canada faces in its quest to be the most multicultural nation," said the Chair of the CRRF Board, Albert Lo. "The Award of Excellence demonstrates what can be achieved by organizations determined to make the effort. Congratulations to the finalists and honourable mentions and my gratitude to the members of the Jury for their time and dedication to this effort."
The jury panel also awarded Honourable Mention to another seven entries. The Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies (AMSSA) (British Columbia), Equitas (Québec), Canadian Pacific Railway (Alberta), Media Awareness Network (Ontario), Sioux Lookout Anti-Racism Committee (SLARC)(Ontario), Women Diversity & Teaching Group, Mount St. Vincent University (New Brunswick) and YOUCAN (Ontario).
"We are very heartened by the quality of the entries," remarked Ayman Al-Yassini, Senior Executive Vice President of the CRRF. "It is quite evident from the initiatives submitted that there are a number of organizations who are doing some very serious and creative work in tackling racism. We are encouraged by that. Congratulations to the finalists and to those awarded Honourable Mention."