Multi-Organizational Submission to the Anti-Racism Directorate

Canadian Friends of Sabeel is pleased to be a signatory to the following Multi-Organizational Submission to the Anti-Racism Directorate

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January 31, 2017

Submission to the Honourable Michael Coteau, Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism

Re: Ontario Government Anti-Racism Directorate 2016/17 Consultation

The Ontario Anti-Racism Directorate (ARD) has been established to address racism in all its forms, with its key focus on preventing systemic racism in Ontario. The mandate includes consideration of all the government’s policy, legislation, programs and services through an anti-racism lens.

In the contest of our full support for the struggles of Indigenous peoples against racism and colonialism and of Black Lives Matter against anti-Black racism and police violence and harassment against people in the black and other communities, and all other struggles against racism, we wish to also direct your attention to the importance of solidarity with the Palestinian people as part of the struggle against racism.

In light of your mandate, we call on you to take steps to ensure that government policy, legislation, programs and services are not discriminatory to Palestinians.

With 70 organizations signing the Open Letter to members of the Ontario legislature in September 2016, it should be clear there is much concern across Ontario’s civil society about government motions, legislation or other tactics being used to vilify and muzzle freedom of speech. Palestinians are the target of this discrimination and racism, while those who stand in solidarity with Palestinian are on occasion subject to vilification.

Given that the Liberal caucus voted in favour of Motion 36 on December 1, 2016, and Minister Coteau spoke in favour of the Motion, we are concerned that the Anti-Racism Directorate is working counter to the human rights of Palestinians.

The mandate letter from Premier Wynne (September 2016) indicated that you have established relationships with partners in the anti-racism community and worked to develop strong, productive relationships. We urge you to establish such relationships with the Palestinian human rights community, who are also engaged in anti-racism work. The struggle for justice for Palestinians is a global movement that aims to achieve Palestinians’ human rights under international law, and is in line with the Palestinians’ rights in official Canadian policy.

Thus, in making this submission to the Anti-Racism Directorate, we raise urgent and critical concerns about the tone for systemic racism and discrimination that Motion 36 sets for Palestinians in Ontario, and the vilification of the Palestinian human rights community.

 

 

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