Anti-racism secretariat needed in Ontario, says...
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Dec 16, 2015  |  Vote 0    0

Anti-racism secretariat needed in Ontario, says NDP

NDP pushes for Ontario to set up anti-racism secretariat in wake of recent incidents

OurWindsor.Ca

Recent attacks on Muslims and the pending influx of Syrian refugees point to the need for Ontario to create an anti-racism secretariat, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says.

While the Liberal government passed legislation in 2006 to set up a secretariat to do public education and research on racism, no action was taken and systemic discrimination against members of the black and aboriginal communities and others remain, Horwath said Wednesday.

“It’s certainly a failure,” she told a news conference with a Muslim activist who said she is now wary given rising anti-Islam sentiment in the wake of the terrorist tragedy in Paris last month and remarks from U.S. Republican hopeful Donald Trump.

“I am extra cautious when I’m on the subway,” said Jasmine Noureddin, past director of the Canadian Arab Federation, referring to recent incidents in Toronto.

“If I’m going out alone I do check out my surroundings, which is something I’ve never done before. Even after Sept. 11 I never felt that pressure.”

Anthony Morgan of the African Canadian Legal Clinic said black people continue to be the victims of “overtly racist views” and “negative racial stereotypes,” leading to unwarranted carding by police, shootings by police, a higher rate of suspensions and expulsions in schools, and hate crimes.

He called on Premier Kathleen Wynne to “fulfill your legislative obligation” and set up the secretariat.

“We can no longer simply turn away from these issues . . . it won’t happen without pro-active action,” Horwath said. “Face up to what’s happening in the province.”

Wynne’s office did not mention any specific plans to create an anti-racism secretariat but said some measures are coming.

“We do not tolerate racism or marginalization of any kind,” spokeswoman Jennifer Beaudry said in a statement, noting the government is viewing any new policies with a “race lens.”

“The premier has already spoken of the need for Ontario to do more. We will have more to say soon.”

Ontario first created an anti-racism secretariat in 1991 under the NDP government of former premier Bob Rae but it was eliminated after Progressive Conservative premier Mike Harris won the 1995 election, Horwath’s office said.

Toronto Star

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