OTTAWA - NDP MPs Joe Comartin, Libby Davies and Pat Martin today launched a series of bold initiatives put forward by the NDP Diversity Advocacy Team.
"We have seen an increasing level of what can best be described as the 'criminalization of diversity' and we feel strongly that action must be taken," said Davies.
The initiative involves an act to eliminate racial profiling, tabled today in Parliament by Davies. If passed this legislation would ban racial profiling from a spectrum of federal departments and jurisdictions.
"The practice of racial profiling poses a serious threat to strongly held Canadian values of equal rights, democracy and justice. We need a legally binding mechanism to ensure the accountability of our enforcement agencies and officials", said Joe Comartin who seconded the Bill.
Raage Mohammed and Mohad Aawed of the Somali Cultural Centre in Ottawa, attended the launch to support the need to ban racial profiling. Members of the Somali community recently experienced a police raid that many allege was racially motivated.
The Diversity Advocacy Team has also been advocating for the swift passage of the "Once in A Lifetime" Bill, which would allow a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to sponsor, on one occasion, a family member who would otherwise not qualify under family class provisions. "There are serious shortcomings with the Canadian immigration system and we need a much stronger emphasis on family reunification. I believe this Bill, which has received widespread support except from the federal Liberal government, will begin to address this issue", said Davies.
The NDP Diversity Advocacy Team has launched a website to bring Canadians together who are interested in justice and diversity issues. "Our website, which can be found at www.canadians4justice.ca, offers a variety of ways for people to link into the work of our team and join various campaign to promote diversity issues", said Pat Martin. The site also invites visitors to share their "horror stories" trying to navigate the immigration system. "We are planning on bringing these accounts to the attention of the new Minister of Immigration to demand the system be reformed", added Martin.
The NDP Diversity Advocacy Team consists of members of the federal NDP Caucus as well as a range of community and organizational partners dedicated to fighting racism and discrimination in Canada.