New Parliament must confront racism in Canada

October 22, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Human Rights Commission

Marie-Claude Landry, Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, congratulates Prime Minister Justin Trudeau along with all members of Canada's new Parliament, and issues the following statement:

“This election has left Canada fractured and many Canadians feeling marginalized and divided. There is an urgent need to reunite our country.

“I call on our newly elected Parliament to take concrete action to confront racism and intolerance, a daily reality for millions of people in Canada. No one should be made to feel like a second-class citizen because of the colour of their skin, what they believe or where they are from. Parliament must also continue to advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and address the legacy of racist laws and policies that continue to impact their daily lives.

“Specifically, I am calling on Parliament to:

  • Oppose any law in Canada that violates the human rights of minorities;
  • Strengthen and implement Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy;
  • Develop a comprehensive approach to address the rise in hate crimes, shut down online hate and hold accountable those who spread it;
  • Denounce Islamophobia and Antisemitism as well as all forms of xenophobia aimed at demonizing immigrants and refugees;
  • Undertake bold reforms to address the staggering over-representation of Indigenous and black people in Canada’s criminal justice system, including reserving mandatory minimum sentences for the most serious crimes;
  • Implement the MMIWG’s calls to justice by taking meaningful steps to address systemic discrimination and violence against Indigenous women and girls, including those who are members of the 2SLGBTQI+ community; and
  • End the inequitable funding to Indigenous communities and ensure equal access to safe drinking water, adequate housing, education, healthcare, and child and family services.

“A country that stands for diversity, freedom and inclusion must not stand by and allow racism, intolerance and inequality to undermine our peace and prosperity. Whether you make these urgent human rights issues your priority — or you ignore them — they will be a part of your legacy.”

Marie-Claude Landry, Chief Commissioner

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