Statements on Elimination of Racial Discrimination
The Honourable Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, and Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, Commander Royal Canadian Navy and National Defence Champion for Visible Minorities, today issued statements on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan issued the following statement:
I invite all Canadians to join me in commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
In 1966, the United Nations General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination, and the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) recognize and support this very important day.
In Canada, regrettably, racism still haunts us. Within the CAF and DND, it has always been our aim to embrace and reflect the diversity of this country. We have come a long way, but we know we still have more to do.
Our personnel policies and training, as well as our education and awareness initiatives, come from a sincere desire to celebrate what makes each of us different. It is a core value that we treat each other with fairness, respect, and dignity.
In a changing world, we will strengthen policies and develop new strategies to ensure that the Defence community continues to be a welcoming environment for all who wish to serve. Together we will make this an institution of which all CAF personnel and all Canadians may be proud.
Vice-Admiral Mark Norman issued the following statement:
Today, Canada joins with many nations across the world to observe the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (IDERD).
By proclaiming this Day in 1966, the United Nations General Assembly was responding to events in Sharpeville, South Africa six years earlier, where police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration. Fifty years on, the Day has become a rallying cry to honour human rights and to fight racism and intolerance all over the world.
As part of the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces’ commemoration of this important day, we hold a national IDERD event each year to reinforce our commitment to diversity in our workforce. It is also our opportunity to celebrate the contributions of visible minorities within the Defence Team, because our people are our greatest asset.
As National Defence Champion for Visible Minorities, I encourage all members of the Defence Community to do their part in ensuring and demonstrating that ours is a workplace with an enviable culture of openness and equality. Racism and discrimination have absolutely no place in a modern and innovative organization like ours.
In order to retain the trust and confidence of the Canadians we serve, we must be above reproach in our policies of inclusion, and in our respect for all people, as we strive to attract bright new minds that reflect Canada's cultural, ethnic and linguistic makeup. Our mission success depends on it.