Kenney disputes UN report on Canada’s treatment of minorities

Posted by admin on Mar 17th, 2010

By Norma Greenaway, Canwest News Service, March 17, 2010

Canada’s record for accepting and integrating minorities and newcomers is imperfect but undeserving of criticism levelled in a new United Nations report, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Wednesday. Kenney said that rather than taking Canada to task over its treatment of minorities, the UN should be looking at the “dozens of regimes around the world that are engaged in widespread and systematic violation of minority rights.”  The report, released Tuesday, was written by Gay McDougall, the UN’s Independent Expert on Minority Issues.

McDougall, who spent 10 days travelling across Canada last fall, said that although diversity is celebrated in Canada, minorities are victims of disproportionate levels of poverty, discrimination in the workplace and job market, and racial profiling by police.

Kenney acknowledged domestic reports from such agencies as Statistics Canada have said immigrants are worse off than their Canadian-born counterparts.

“We always need to make more progress in creating opportunities for members of our cultural communities, for newcomers, for visible minorities,” he said.

All levels of government and many agencies have taken up the challenge, he said.

“We’re not perfect, but we’re pretty darn good,” he told reporters on Parliament Hill.

During a parliamentary committee hearing Tuesday, Kenney said Canada does not have the capacity to process and absorb the tens of thousands of refugees who want to come to Canada to escape persecution in their native countries.

“People from around the world, from minority communities, want to come to Canada precisely because they see this as a model of protection for their rights to maintain their identity,” he said.

“I just think they (the UN) have got their priorities wrong.”
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