Notes for Remarks by
HON. RALPH GOODALE, PC, MP (REGINA-WASCANA)
Minister of Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness
20th Annual Family Day Celebration of
SPRING FREE FROM RACISM
March 24, 2019
Thank you, Chair Barb Dedi.
Your Honour. Distinguished guests. Ladies and gentlemen
As we gather on the territory of Treaty #4 and in the homeland of the Metis, I bring the greetings and good wishes of the Government of Canada.
For 20 years now – thanks to the Saskatchewan Association on Human Rights and the “Spring Free from Racism Committee” – we have come together on this weekend to commemorate Sharpeville, an evil racist massacre in South Africa in 1960.
It’s our “Regina way” of participating in the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
So, the biggest possible thanks to Barb Dedi, her committee, exhibitors, performers, sponsors, organizers and volunteers for presenting this important opportunity every year.
It’s especially important this year in the wake of the hatred and terror that claimed 50 innocent lives in a Mosque in New Zealand, just over a week ago.
We also recall the vicious attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh last October.
And last April, the brutal van attack that killed 10 people along Yonge Street in Toronto.
And before that, the racist violence in Charlottesville in August of 2017.
And before that, in January of 2017, the murder of six Canadian citizens, for the sole reason that they were Muslims at prayer in a Mosque in Ste. Foy, Quebec.
All these horrific events flowed from a common, depraved mentality … ultra-right-wing, neo-Nazi, white supremacist extremism. It shows itself in violent anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism and misogyny.
Of course, we need to examine all our laws and protections to ensure we’re doing everything possible to keep people safe and secure.
But even more important, all Canadians need to stand in lock-step together to condemn right-wing extremism – like any other form of hatred or terrorism that leads to violence and death.
And we need to defend the diversity, inclusion, mutual respect and accommodation which have been hallmarks of Canadian nationhood.
We like to believe that Canada is the finest example of pluralism the world has ever known. And it probably is.
But we’re far from perfect:
- Remember more than 150 years without reconciliation with Indigenous people;
- Remember that in our own province, back in 1929, we duly elected a provincial government that embraced the support of the Ku Klux Klan.
- Remember the Chinese head tax, the internments in Two World Wars, the desperate human beings who were turned away on the Komagata Maru and the MS St. Louis.
- Remember the modern-day slurs and even violence against newcomers and refugees.
So we have no room to be smug or complacent. No room to take anything for granted.
We need to work very hard every day to build our communities, our province and our country as open, inclusive, safe, compassionate, generous and respectful places in which – as Martin Luther King once said – our children will be judged, NOT by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.
It takes work and unshakeable commitment.
And more than anything else, it depends every day on how we decide to treat one another in our daily lives.
Racism, and the fight against it, are intensely personal.
And that’s why I’m so grateful that Regina has citizens like Barb Dedi – and all of you – to put a “spring” in our step as we combat racism together, and celebrate the diversity that is our great strength.
Enjoy this fine spring day.