APTN National News
The Canadian Human Rights Commission has sent Prime Minister-Designate Justin Trudeau a list of recommendations to “repair” human rights in Canada.
The day after Trudeau won a commanding majority in the Oct. 19 election, Chief Commissioner Marie-Claude Landry wrote a very pointed message outlining her concerns with legislation that has been passed in Canada’s Parliament.
“I call on our newly elected Parliament to begin repairing the erosion of human rights in Canada, and to move swiftly to repeal legislation and reverse policies that promote discrimination and prejudice,” said Landry in a statement. “No one should live in fear because of who they are or because they have a belief that is not shared by the majority.”
The Commission also sent a list of recommendations for the new Parliament, now made up of 338 seats, to start work on.
- rewrite and rename the Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act, to remove any insinuation that certain religions are a threat to Canadian society;
- accelerate the process for bringing in refugees and asylum seekers fleeing war, persecution and environmental devastation, and ensure that the selection process is not discriminatory;
- ensure that the arbitrary detention and imprisonment of thousands of undocumented people seeking asylum in Canada, many of whom are suffering from mental illness, is brought to an end;
- immediately convene a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and develop a national action plan;
- ensure that all people in Canada have access to safe drinking water and adequate housing;
- end the inequitable funding of child welfare services and schools on First Nations reserves;
- amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to explicitly protect transgender people from discrimination;
- stop the overuse of prolonged periods of solitary confinement to manage offenders, a practice disproportionally applied to black and Aboriginal inmates, and offenders with mental illness; and
- protect the rights of all women to express their religion.
Landry was also very direct in her opinion of how the Conservative government led by Stephen Harper played out the 78-day campaign.
“Canadians have rejected the divisive rhetoric that became prominent in the latter days of the election campaign,” she said. “Difficult as it was, the Canadian Human Rights Commission remained silent in deference to the electoral process. With the election now behind us, it’s time for all Canadians to work together to restore the values of mutual respect and dignity that have for so long defined this country. My Canada includes everyone.”