Statement - Canada’s human rights watchdog calling for collaborative effort against hate

August 22, 2017 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Human Rights Commission

The Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, Marie-Claude Landry, issues the following statement:

These last few weeks have been filled with news of a troubling rise in intolerance throughout the world:  terror attacks in Europe, alt-right protests in the U.S., white supremacist rallies being held in cities across Canada, and organized groups protesting the arrival of refugees.  We continue to see human rights tested every day around the world.  

Last year, on December 19, 2016, we issued a statement of warning that included the following observations:

“We should be concerned that so many Canadians do not feel included. That our greatest achievement – our diversity – is being challenged. It’s being challenged by the recent rise in hate messaging and violence. It’s being challenged by a persistent xenophobic discourse cloaked in “Canadian  values.” It’s being challenged by increasing intolerance and bigotry –  acts of anti-Semitism, islamophobia, racism and misogyny. We must be continually mindful of history and the lessons it has taught us, because history is littered with subtle examples when indifference and intolerance –  the lifeblood of hate – led to devastating consequences.”

Nine months later, these words have taken on much more urgency. As Canadians continued to observe the rise in hate elsewhere in the world, here, in Canada, it has grown — emboldened by our collective silence that is only now starting to break. We must unite our voices to send a message: Canada’s strength is its diversity. We will not tolerate intolerance. We should not, and will not, remain silent in the face of hate and intolerance. Silence makes us complicit.

  • The Canadian Human Rights Commission is calling on the federal government to deploy resources to support communities looking to counter the rise in hate. We need to create together a campaign — a movement — of inclusion that is louder, more positive, than any hate message can be.  
  • We are calling on all leaders to  work to promote inclusion and diversity.
  • We are calling on NGOs to continue their hard work of rallying their communities, because we must unite before intolerance takes hold.

Hate should not go undocumented, and the Commission encourages Canadians who are or have been affected to share their stories with their local authorities, provincial and territorial human rights agencies, as well as the Canadian Human Rights Commission.  

Together, let’s ensure that “My Canada Includes Everyone” isn’t just a slogan, but it remains true today and continues to be true tomorrow.

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