“All Canadians have a role to play in ending racism. This makes recent comments and actions by the federal Conservative government all the more unacceptable.” — James Clancy, National President of the National Union of Public and General Employees
Ottawa (19 March 2015) — As March 21st approaches, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) had some pointed comments to make about the federal Conservative government.
“All Canadians have a role to play in ending racism. This makes recent comments and policies of the federal Conservative government all the more unacceptable,” said James Clancy, National President of NUPGE.
Using racism as an electoral tactic?
With a federal election looming, the Prime Minister and the governing Conservatives have been directing comments at Muslims as a way to court favour with their electoral base.
“The Prime Minister and his government have created a controversy over Muslim women wearing a veil to create an us versus them mentality in Canadians,” said James Clancy, National President of NUPGE.
“Just this week, MP Larry Miller told Muslim women who don’t want to reveal their faces at citizenship ceremonies to ‘stay the hell where you came from.’ This is completely unacceptable, and the mild criticism of his comments from the office of the Prime Minister speaks volumes.”
Inaction on discrimination against Aboriginal women
“While the attack on Muslim women is shameful, the refusal to address the ongoing violence against Aboriginal women in Canada is almost criminal,” said Clancy.
Just prior to International Women’s Day, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) released a report that concludes that Canada’s ongoing failure to address violence against Aboriginal women and girls constitutes a grave violation of their human rights. CEDAW's report directs Canada to take immediate action to address the root causes of violence, which include the social and economic disadvantages suffered by Aboriginal women and girls.
“In spite of growing demand, the federal Conservatives have steadfastly refused to convene a national public inquiry in to missing and murdered Aboriginal women,” explained Clancy. “This government told CEDAW that it was strongly opposed to creating a national action plan to address this problem.”
Failure to meet international obligation to report to UN Committee
The federal government continues to ignore its international obligation to report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).
“What happened to Canada’s commitment to multiculturalism?” asked Clancy. “While never perfect, this country used to pride itself in working towards building a nation that respected and valued all people. We were committed to ending discrimination and racism. How far we have fallen!”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE