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Civil society groups express shock at lack of Alberta, Quebec ministers at human rights meeting

    November 09, 2020

    Civil society groups are outraged and deeply disappointed that the governments of Quebec and Alberta are not participating in the Federal-Provincial-Territorial ministerial human rights meeting November 9-10.

    The organizations, including Amnesty International Canada’s English- and French-speaking sections, learned late last week that the Alberta and Quebec governments will send observers to the meeting, instead of their ministers responsible for human rights. The Quebec government has made it clear that it opposes plans to reference “systemic racism” in a joint media release that will be issued following the meeting, while the Alberta government refuses to recognize that Canada’s international human rights obligations are binding on the province.

    The Federal, Provincial and Territorial ministers responsible for human rights will be meeting, virtually, to discuss their collective responsibility to ensure that the human rights of all people are protected across the country. This is only the third meeting of its kind in the past 32 years, with the other meetings having taken place in 1988 and 2017.

    In advance of the meeting, the group of civil society organizations that took part in the 2017 meeting have written the attached letter to Ministers highlighting the crucial importance of advancing the commitments they made at that time to improve their record of implementing and complying with Canada’s international human rights obligations. Progress to date has been slow and disappointing. Some of those groups will also take part in a limited panel discussion and question and answer session with ministers on November 10.

    Representatives from civil society groups will be available to provide reaction to the outcome of the meeting when it concludes at the end of the afternoon on November 10.

    Requests for interviews can be directed to:

    Lucy Scholey, Media Relations Officer, Amnesty International Canada (English branch), 613-853-2142, lscholey@amnesty.ca

    Camille Ducroquet, Responsable des communications, Amnistie internationale Canada francophone, 514-766-9777 poste 5236, cducroquet@amnistie.ca

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