Your Tax Dollars and Union Dues at Work – Guess who’s at Durban ll on your dime!

The Federal Government wisely decided to boycott Durban ll. That won’t mean the lack of a Canadian prescence. The Canadian Arab Federation released this statement yesterday condemning the Canadian government for boycotting Durban II co-signed by a number of NGO’s. A look at funding for these organizations is in order.

April 20, 2009

Canadian civil society is at the UN Durban Review Conference but Canadian Government is not.
Canadian groups at Geneva UN conference express dismay with Canada’s refusal to participate.

(Geneva April 20.09) Canadian civil society condemned Canada’s withdrawal from the Durban Review Conference (DRC) in a statement at the United Nations.

Speaking to the Preparatory Committee of the DRC today, Canadian civil society representatives denounced the shameful absence of the federal government from this important anti-racism conference.

Canadian anti-racism NGO’s and labour organizations are in Geneva advocating for measures to combat racism at international and national levels. In Canada, racism continues to be a harsh everyday reality for Aboriginal and racialized communities who suffer disproportionate levels of poverty, social exclusion, access to decent employment, and social services such as education, housing and healthcare. Too many aboriginal peoples must struggle for the most basic of human and environmental rights.

“African Canadians continue to struggle against anti-Black racism. We suffer high levels of poverty and hate crime victimization, criminalization and racial profiling.” said Margaret Parsons of the African Canadian Legal Clinic.

After 9/11, Arabs and Muslims were targeted for hate crimes and racial and religious profiling by overzealous security legislation. “Arab Canadians such as Mahar Arar, Abousfian Abdelrazik, have been marooned in their birth countries by our government. They have been subjected to torture and horrific human rights violations because of flawed anti-terrorism measures and willful political negligence “added Mohamed Boudjenane from the Canadian Arab Federation.

Karl Flecker the Human Rights Director for the Canadian Labor Congress said “The Canadian government should have been a part of this process. We consider the government’s shameful withdrawal nothing less than a failure to conform to its UN obligations. Fortunately civil society groups are here to share with the international community inputs designed to eliminate the pernicious grip of racism.”

The statement was endorsed by the following Canadian civil society groups:

Canadian Labour Congress
African Canadian Legal Clinic
Canadian Arab Federation
Metro Toronto Chinese and South East Asian Clinic
Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants
National Anti-Racism Council of Canada
Colour of Poverty
Karuna Community Services
Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (Canada)

Funding (Note how the same organisations keep popping up)

Canadian Arab Federation – needs no introduction, although I note that aside from Federal funding they also received 25K in 2008 from the City of Toronto.

African Canadian Legal Clinic – funded by Legal Aid Ontario

Metro Toronto Chinese and South East Asian Clinic – funded by Legal Aid Ontario

OCASI – Ontario Council of Agencies Serving ImmigrantsOCASI believes that citizenship legislation should assert the principles of equity and fairness, by clearly stating that all citizens, NO MATTER HOW they acquired citizenship, have the same status. Uh huh. Largest single contributor in 2006 ( This is the most recent report available) – Citizenship and Immigration Canada $ 1,006,183

National Anti-Racism Council of Canada – primary funding Heritage Canada & Human Resources and Skills Development Canada No current finacial report available.
However -TORONTO, April 7, 2009 – The Honourable James M. Flaherty, Minister of Finance, today announced, on behalf of the Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada federal funding of $103,140

Colour of Poverty – Funded by Heritage Canada. In addition to MTCSALC, the project is a joint effort of several organizations including: African Canadian Legal Clinic, Canadian Arab Federation, Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter, Hispanic Development Council, Midaynta Community Services, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, and the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario (SALCO).

Karuna Community Services – Little information available other than on its former spokesman Michael Kerr, oh and one of it’s primary activities is listed as Multicultural Food Catering!!!

Michael Kerr, seems well ensconced in the “poverty activist” industry, all the same names and associations keep poppoing upMichael Kerr is a long-time community development worker and equity and human rights advocate currently serving as Coordinator of the Colour of Poverty Network of Ontario – having come into the Colour of Poverty initiative representing and serving as Coordinator with Karuna Community Services – a community development and social service volunteer network in the greater Toronto area. Having worked in a number of capacities with several newcomer settlement and refugee advocacy groups and organizations over many years, and been active if any number of equity, human rights and racial justice advocacy efforts and community-based campaigns – he most recently was the founding Coordinator for its first five years of existence of the National Anti-Racism Council of Canada – NARCC (2001-2006).

There don’t you feel better knowing your hard earned dollars are so well spent?