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Vicky Mochama: The voice of Metro News.

UN report proves Canada has work to do on eliminating racism: Mochama

It's an exhaustive list of recommendations. Altogether, they don't exactly paint a pretty picture of Canada as the welcoming utopia we tell Americans we have, writes Vicky Mochama.

Debbie Douglas, Executive Director of Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, travelled to Geneva to present before the UN committee.

Eduardo Lima / Metro Order this photo

Debbie Douglas, Executive Director of Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, travelled to Geneva to present before the UN committee.

Many Canadians would be surprised to find out that there's still racism here to even eliminate, yet a United Nations panel has delivered quite a to-do list for Canada.

After hearing testimony from Canada and a number of organizations, a panel of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination published its report detailing a number of glaring failures here.

Patchy and inconsistent data on race and gender is a constant bother for me. Lucky for me and less luckily for public policy, the CERD panel decries "the lack of detailed data and information on the representation of minority groups in public and political life" in Canada. Even the UN wants Canada to bring the receipts.

Statistics Canada's upcoming release of diversity data would be an opportune moment to provide said receipts. However, federal data relies heavily on the category of "visible minority" which, according to the panel, "renders invisible the differences in the lived experiences of the diverse communities."

So much for that. But the panel is just getting started. Much like when your boss asks if you "have some time" this afternoon, this is just the beginning of a lot of work for Canada.

Data comes up again. The committee asks for Canada to look into racist hate crimes against Muslims which have increased 61 per cent. It also wants highly-detailed data on immigrant detention and stops conducted by law enforcement officers.

Okay, so we just have to fill out more Excel documents. Think again. There's a lot more to.

After much gesturing from Canada at reconciliation, the panel wants "a concrete action plan" for how exactly we're going to get to that. They'd really like us to suspend construction of the Site C dam. And like anyone with a conscience, the committee really wants Canada to comply with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling and make funding for Indigenous children equal to the rest of the nation's residents.

It's an exhaustive list of recommendations. Altogether, they don't exactly paint a pretty picture of Canada as the welcoming utopia we tell Americans we have. Instead, they reveal the policies and deficits that are behind the difficult realities of many racialized and Indigenous people.

Earlier this month, a car belonging to the president of a Quebec City mosque was torched in his driveway. This is the same mosque where six men were killed in January. A Toronto police officer and his brother face serious charges after beating a Black teen which led to the loss of his eye. The long-awaited missing and murdered Indigenous women's inquiry looks to be in disarray.

For each of us, for the institutions we interact with daily and for the federal government, we have a long way to go to get rid of racism.

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