The Canadian province of Alberta released a report on racism Wednesday that lays out a 10-point plan to fight bigotry.
The release coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, a move that made Canada the first country in the world to enshrine multiculturalism – equality for all – in law.
The Alberta report was instituted following the January 2017 attack on a mosque in Quebec City that killed six worshippers.
The report acknowledges that racism does exist in the province, where one in four residents are from different racial backgrounds. The population of Alberta is about 4.2 million.
“We do value equality, we are an open and welcoming people, and there is racism here,” state the report that was prepared by the provincial ministry of education. “That’s the bad news.”
Statistics included in the report show that hate crimes occur once every three days. Police said in 2016, there were 88 reported crimes against racial minorities and 25 against those of minority religions.
Among other initiatives, the report recommends the formation of an anti-racism council, the creation of a hate crimes unit and the provision of grant money to groups that fight racism.
Parts of the report, titled Taking Action Against Racism, will be enacted this summer.
Ahmed Abdulkadir, of the Ogaden Somali Community of Alberta Residents, said the anti-racism advisory council will be made up of members of the community, including minorities.
“That’s where the beauty of the advisory council comes in,” he said. “The community will have a voice to advocate which direction the province should go and what needs to be implemented.”
That the Alberta report acknowledged racism in the province dovetailed with remarks in Ottawa made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to highlight Canadian Multiculturalism Day.
“One-fifth of Canadians were born elsewhere,” he said. “While we have much to celebrate, we need to recognize that the Canadian reality has not been – and is not today – welcoming, fair and equal for everybody.”
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