Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
NDP supports non-participation in flawed UN conference

“Time for Canada to show international leadership on racism” – Dewar

OTTAWA – The NDP is deeply committed to fighting racism and intolerance in Canada and around the world, said NDP Foreign Affairs Critic Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre) and NDP International Human Rights Critic Wayne Marston (Hamilton-East Stoney Creek).

“We are deeply concerned that the integrity of the UN Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance has been compromised as a result of poor structure and a lack of real anti-racism leadership on the planning committee,” said Dewar.

According to the New Democrat MPs, the first UN anti-racism conference, held in Durban in 2001, became little more than a forum for spreading hatred and was a missed opportunity to work multilaterally to fight racism, discrimination and intolerance.

“New Democrats believe that the issue of anti-racism must be led by international voices that are respected throughout the world community,” said Marston. “This conference was clearly failing to achieve that.”

The NDP MPs also called on the Harper Conservatives to show real leadership on the issue. “Canada should not only cancel its participation in Durban II, but it should also take a role in proposing an alternative,” said Dewar. “Canada should take the initiative and host an international forum on the issues of racism, discrimination, xenophobia, and intolerance. Our country can serve as a platform for a world-wide discussion committed to uprooting racism.”

“The cancellation of our participation doesn’t mean that the Harper government can continue to sit on its hands and ignore the serious problems of racism that still exist in Canada,” said Marston. “Mr. Kenney should, without delay, assure the Government of Canada’s continued funding for the Anti-Racism Council of Canada.”