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March 18, 2016
For immediate release
March 21 is a reminder to eliminate racial discrimination
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“Prince Edward Island welcomes any and all people who are willing to help enrich our Island community,” said the Premier. “We must raise our voices together against discrimination and continue to build a public service and a culture that strengthens racial harmony and embraces inclusiveness.”
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was first proclaimed by the United Nations in 1966 and is observed annually on March 21. Canada was one of the first countries to support the declaration, committing through the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to develop and promote universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Prince Edward Island's Public Service Diversity Policy supports creating a workplace that is free from any form of discrimination. The Public Service Commission's annual diversity calendar (www.gov.pe.ca/diversity) is a daily reminder of the rich cultural makeup of our province, and its Diversity Consultant and Diversity Advisory Committee coordinate training and promotional activities for employees in the Public Service.
“Recent history is replete with examples of national race laws leading to barbarous acts of racism,” said Brenda Picard, executive director of the PEI Human Rights Commission. “Our mandate is to educate the public on the often too-predictable tactics of discrimination, and we believe educating our youth is the most vital strategy to eliminate racism in our communities.”
As part of its education mandate, the commission is drafting and facilitating the delivery of curriculum-based resources for grade 9 students that explore the history and legacy of Canada’s Indian Residential Schooling System. This work is being done in partnership with the Department of Education, Early Learning and Culture, the University of Prince Edward Island education faculty, and the PEI Teachers Federation and in consultation with the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI.
There are some 90 different ethnic groups in Prince Edward Island, including its original inhabitants the Mi'kmaq as well as people of European descent. Members of the Lebanese community who first immigrated in the 1880s, as well as more recent Chinese immigrant communities have become two of the largest ethno-cultural groups on the Island. Government is also in the process of welcoming 250 Syrian refugees to the province.
For more information, on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, visit www.unorg/en/events/racialdiscriminationday/background.shtml. In addition, the town of Stratford will hold an event on March 21 www.townofstratford.ca/celebrating-our-growing-diversity.