Executive Director's Message

In Memoriam

Sometimes symmetry is what you don’t want to happen, even when it benefits one’s cause. This is the situation we find ourselves in as we launch the first phase of the Council’s campaign against racism, Islamophobia and xenophobia. In our very many discussions and debates about the content, analysis, tone and messaging of the campaign we talked about competing isms, about intersectionalities, about social construction of identities and about the very real soul destroying experiences of individuals and communities who are marginalized, excluded and ‘othered’ within our society.

Dancing to the Revolution

We often speak about the success of second and third generation immigrant youth in terms of educational attainment, professional status achieved or public profile received because they have been appointed by one government or another to a public role. Rarely do we pay attention and applaud when they are engaged in political activism on the ground following their gut instincts, that when the most vulnerable amongst us are hurt, abused and even killed, they have a responsibility to speak out to try to right the wrongs - in short to spark a revolution. Hyperbole, maybe, but the young Black women and their allies who have put their bodies on the line in opposition to police violence against primarily Black and Indigenous men and increasingly those with mental health challenges, have been nothing short of awe-inspiring. They have demonstrated in no uncertain terms what it means to ‘walk the talk’.

Executive Director's Message - December 2015

The image of our new Prime Minister, in shirtsleeves greeting the first Syrian refugees airlifted from Beirut to Pearson International airport in Toronto was splashed across various media platforms from coast to coast to coast in Canada and across the globe. Accompanied by Ontario's Premier and Toronto's Mayor, the Prime Minister made a speech rich with the language of diversity and inclusion. The consensus is that his remarks captured the spirit of generosity that we've seen and heard expressed by so many residents here in Ontario and across the country.

Executive Director’s Message January 2016

On the day that I am writing this blog, the 10,000th Syrian refugee landed at Toronto Pearson airport. This fact made a small splash in the media as the conversation about whether the federal government will meet its various deadlines and arrival numbers of Government assisted and privately sponsored or the ‘best of both worlds' (as  a colleague recently said) the blended version (BVOR – Blended Visa Office Referral) continued.

Message from the Executive Director - May 2015

Earlier this year, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Minister of Education Liz Sandals unveiled the new health and human development (Sex Education) curriculum for our public (including Catholic) elementary and secondary schools. A version of this curriculum was first announced about four years ago but was shelved by then Premier McGuinty after some political push back by some religious and parents groups.

Message from the Executive Director - April 2015

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary (1985 Singh decision) of the Supreme Court of Canada's decision that recognized the rights of refugees to fundamental justice. It is a decision that we continue to celebrate. The anniversary, three decades later serves as a reminder of how collective activism can triumph and of the importance of supporting politically and financially, advocacy organizations like the Canadian Council for Refugees - who for over thirty-five years has led the national struggle for justice and fairness for those coming to our borders seeking protection and refuge.

Taking Action on Violence Against Women: A plan for Ontario.

Ontario's ‘activist' Premier, Kathleen Wynne and Minister responsible for Women's Issues, Tracy MacCharles launched their plan to combat sexual violence and harassment just in time for International Women's Day. At a time of heightened public awareness about issues of sexual violence and harassment against women, due in large part to the sensationalized case of Jian Ghomeshi , the once celebrated star and host of our public broadcaster's flagship talk show Q, and films like Fifty Shades of Grey, which some people believe normalizes sexualized violence against women, this plan is timely and necessary.

Message from the Executive Director - February 2015

“It should be without contest that a priority list in the 21st century Canada should be based on a candidacy framed by talent and merit, rather than fluency in English or French.” This is a quote from a letter sent to Federal ministers Kenney and Alexander by the National Congress of Italian Canadians in response to growing concerns by many immigrant (particularly non- English or French speaking ) communities that our new immigration policies and priorities are discriminatory.

Message from the Executive Director - January 2015

Lives Matter. The end of 2014 was a contradictory mishmash of feelings: anger, frustration, optimism and hope. All feelings shared by many around me whom I know and even more folks whom I do not know. From Lagos to New York; from Toronto to Johannesburg we heard the shouts of ‘Black Lives Matter' as Africans in the diaspora bore the brunt of violence against their (primarily) male bodies and bore witness to the callous disregard shown to Black lives by the responses of the systems – legal, political, economic and social.

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