TORONTO, May 4, 2005 – The Catholic Civil Rights League (ccrl.ca) today expressed alarm that recent news stories have raised serious concerns that racist and bigoted attitudes remain prevalent, and need to be immediately countered with vigour, failing which racism and bigotry become trivialized. Likewise, false allegations of racism from senior Ministers of the Crown cannot be countenanced.
In Toronto, several teenagers were suspended and/or expelled from their school for posting vile anti-Semitism to a website. The league commends the actions of school administrators who acted swiftly to correct such abuses when discovered.
We commented last week on a disgraceful insult to the late Pope John Paul II and to Roman Catholic priests by the Toronto give-away newspaper Eye Weekly, owned by a division of the Torstar media chain.
Yesterday, Immigration Minister Joe Volpe exceeded the bounds of civil discourse in objecting to the unfortunate linkage of senior ministers of the Crown to a fictional TV series by suggesting that political opponents would be at home in the Ku Klux Klan. Racism and anti-Semitism are totally unacceptable and have no place in civil debate or political discourse,” said Phil Horgan, president of the CCRL.
Earlier this week, the cover of The Western Standard published a mock-up photo of Prime Minister Martin and former Prime Minister Chretien with other high-ranking Liberals and called it “The Libranos,” a take-off on the popular Mafia-based TV series The Sopranos. In response, Immigration Minister Joe Volpe told reporters that the Conservative party is made up of racists who could be comfortable in the Ku Klux Klan.
“These are the same Conservatives who think that every immigrant is a potential terrorist and criminal and everything else and that they parade up and down and say that everybody that doesn’t look lily white like them is some refugee from high level detention,” Mr. Volpe said in a scrum with reporters. “Am I calling these guys racist? Aside from the fact that they are recognizable notwithstanding that they don’t have their cowl and their cape, the Klan looks like it’s still very much alive.”
Said Mr. Horgan, “These allegations are remarkable for their insensitivity. The Ku Klux Klan’s tentacles extended into Canada in the early part of the 20th century, and it engaged in particularly heinous offences against non-Caucasians, Roman Catholics and Jews. It has become altogether too acceptable to toss around charges of racism. We think it’s a new low in debate when senior ministers of the Crown can casually suggest that people who don’t agree with them are Klansmen.”
Several years ago, the CCRL took issue with former cabinet minister Hedy Fry, who alleged in the House of Commons without foundation that cross-burning incidents
had occurred in her home province.
Catholic Civil Rights League (www.ccrl.ca) assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization. The Catholic Civil Rights League is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.
For further information: Joanne McGarry, Executive Director, 416-466-8244; email@example.com