Collusion for a good cause

Last week a number of Canadian regulatory and policy folks talked amongst themselves to craft a letter that was sent to Minister of Heritage Pablo Rodriguez, and the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion Ahmed Hussen.

The letter was an unusual display of unity, as indicated in a tweet from Teksavvy’s Andy Kaplan-Myrth: “This may be a surprising list of individuals to sign a letter together — we are rarely if ever on the same side of issues. That’s how clear, important, and nonpartisan this was.”

The letter itself opens with an introduction to the group. “We are a group of Jewish Canadian communications lawyers and professionals. We are writing in our personal capacities to express our concerns with revelations that Canadian Heritage chose to retain a person with a demonstrated history of antisemitic statements.”

The group included people from Bell, CCSA, Distributel, Rogers, Teksavvy, TELUS, a former CRTC vice-Chair, academics and lawyers from small boutique firms as well as large Bay Street firms.

While we are happy to learn that the government has terminated CMAC’s funding through this program and that there will be a review of the program from which CMAC received funding, there has been no indication that the government will undertake a broader review of its processes across Canadian Heritage or other departments, and to date no Minister and no senior public servant has taken responsibility for this affair.

In your publication “Building a Foundation for Change: Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy 2019–2022“, you state that “The Government of Canada must take a leading role addressing systemic racism and discrimination when found to exist within our federal institutions and in public policies, programs and services.” We agree, and ask that in the spirit of this commitment, you commit to the following actions:

  1. Apologize and take responsibility on behalf of Canadian Heritage for retaining Mr. Marouf to provide anti-racism training;
  2. Undertake the inquiry into how this occurred in consultation with Canadian Jewish communities, and report publicly on your findings; and
  3. Provide a detailed plan on how the Government intends to include Jewish Canadians in its anti-racism strategy going forward.

I found it particularly gratifying to see these regulatory and policy colleagues set aside their differences to come together to craft a strong message to these two cabinet members.

I thank them.

If you want to provide your support, please consider signing this petition.

In order to bookmark a few articles about the affair, let me point you to:

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