NCCM testifies on systemic racism and discrimination at parliamentary committee

-For Immediate Release-

Urges government to take “concrete” policy actions to address discrimination and racism

(Ottawa – October 4, 2017) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a prominent civil liberties & advocacy organization, testified today before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage regarding its study on systemic racism and religious discrimination.

Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee and Public Affairs Coordinator (Quebec) Eve Torres represented the NCCM at the hearing. During its oral testimony, the NCCM stated, in part:

“This committee’s study is also important because of the devastating attack on January 29, 2017, at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City, that left six worshippers dead, many injured and families shattered. This was the single most horrific mass killing at a place of worship in Canadian history and it occurred in the context of well-documented growing expressions of hate and discrimination against Muslims.”

The NCCM went on to discuss the impact of Islamophobia and other forms of hate and discrimination.

“Although hate expression outside of its identified legal limits is legal and a necessary consequence of the protection of free speech, it must be understood that it is toxic to the social cohesion of Canadian society, and that it places tremendous burdens on targeted minority groups.”

Among its key recommendations, the NCCM called for the following concrete measures and policy actions:

  • Declaration: Parliament should declare January 29th as a national day of remembrance and action on Islamophobia in Canada.
  • Federal budget: The federal budget should be subjected to a diversity, equity and inclusion analysis to ensure spending decisions are tied to policy and the rationales that underpin them.
  • Agency: An Anti-Racism Directorate should be established within the Department of Canadian Heritage and it should be tasked with leading the development of a federal action plan against racism.
  • Enhancing accountability: The federal government should pass legislation requiring the public service to collect, analyse, act on, and report on disaggregated race data in order to identify disproportionate service provisions and detect signs of systemic discrimination.

“Today, the NCCM offered the standing committee clear policy proposals on how to deal with the challenge of systemic racism and discrimination, including Islamophobia, in Canada. We look forward to working with coalition partners in civil society, and with the government and opposition parties, to advance these critical goals,” says NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee.

The NCCM is an independent, non-partisan and non-profit advocacy organization that is a leading voice for Muslim civic engagement and the promotion of human rights.