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International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

For many months Canadians have watched the political climate across the border, seen the polarization of the American people and gaped in shock as events unfolded. While our attention was diverted, we somehow failed to perceive the deepening personal and political divisions of people in Canada. If not outright apathetic, we were willfully or ignorantly blind to the rise of fear and of hate in our country, perhaps because we thought we were immune.

The attack on the mosque in Quebec City that left 6 racialized, Muslim men dead was a shocking event that left many wondering how this could happen? How in Canada, a country known for its peace and politeness, could there be a killing of 6 innocent people in a place of worship, of refuge and sanctuary? This crime of hate against racialized, Muslim Canadians, because they were racialized and Muslim, seemed unimaginable.

We were forced from our complacency by the violent truth of these acts of hate. Much of the country responded with support. There appeared to be a common understanding that when we shut our eyes and our hearts to the injustices perpetrated against others racism and discrimination flourish. We took to the streets, we wrapped our arms and hearts around places of worship, we demanded a world where fear and hate, bigotry and racism are not allowed to impoverish the world and divide humanity against itself.

Our words and our actions following the attacks at the mosque are not enough. Racial discrimination and hate-motivated actions and crimes remain prevalent in Canada and around the world. Social media continues to abound with anti-Muslim, anti-migrant, anti-refugee rhetoric. Our would-be political leaders attend public forums and speak of “Canadian values” while calling for “screening” of immigrants and refugees, ignoring the fact that everyone who steps foot in Canada is screened. They construct an “us” against “them” story that is taking root, causing people to believe they are defending something not being attacked.

On March 21, 2017, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, we call for a national conversation about racism and the rise of hate. We call on trade unionists, social justice activists and advocates, political parties, non-governmental actors and grass roots organizations to engage with one another, to create a forum where we can begin the process of reweaving the social fabric that binds us all together.

International Women’s Day – March 8, 2017

On March 8, Unifor marks International Women’s Day with the theme Persistence with solidarity toward equality. The past year has brought intense attacks on equality, in Canada and worldwide. In response, we have risen to these challenges and have mobilized across communities. The strength of the Women’s Marches demonstrates our commitment to moving forward with a diverse, intersectional movement.

Over the past year, Unifor has been actively working to close the gender wage gap, increase access to good jobs including in the skilled trades, and end harassment at work. The government has a role to play in advancing women’s equality. We’ve been active on two fronts in particular. Unifor calls on the federal government to work with the provinces and territories to create a national child care program because affordable, quality, public child care is integral to women’s economic empowerment and financial security. Unifor is also active in the effort to legislate paid domestic violence leave to aid women who are transitioning to new lives, free of abuse. The union has already bargained paid leave provisions and the Women’s Advocate program into many of our collective agreements. Now it is time to make these supports into law. No woman should have to choose between economic security and her personal safety.

Join Unifor to bring women’s issues to the government. Call on the federal government for concrete action.

Add your name and send a message to the federal government. Sign today to ask your Member of Parliament (MP) to enact a national child care program and paid domestic leave though the Canada Labour Code (http://www.unifor.org/en/member-services/equality/women/international-wo…)

As we celebrate at International Women’s Day events across the country let us take the opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to remove all obstacles to gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

The struggle for equality will take persistence.

International Women’s Day – March 8, 2017