B'nai Brith Canada on Monday hailed the good work of the Government of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador to confront antisemitism and other forms of racism and hate.
B'nai Brith had contacted Premier Andrew Furey, as a follow-up to its 2021 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents in Canada, alerting him that the number of incidents in the province had remained at about the 2020 level, despite the Audit having shown that there had been an overall decline in antisemitic incidents in the Maritimes.
The number of incidents recorded in the region in 2021 fell to 80 from the 199 registered in 2020, however, unfortunately, Newfoundland and Labrador bucked this encouraging trend.
The Premier instructed Gerry Byrne, Member of the House of Assembly for Corner Brook and Minister responsible for Immigration, Population Growth, and Skills, to follow up and respond to the concerns raised by B'nai Brith, the organization said on Monday.
Byrne informed B'nai Brith that the provincial government is not complacent and recognizes much work remains to be done towards a racism-free Newfoundland and Labrador. Earlier this year, the province struck a Ministerial Committee on Anti-Racism mandated to work towards building a diverse, inclusive, and equitable society in the province that is void of racism and discrimination.
"We strongly approve of the preliminary measures that the Furey government is putting in place," said Marvin Rotrand, B'nai Brith's National Director of its League for Human Rights.
"The province is assisting the local synagogue to obtain funding from the Federal Security Infrastructure Program. It is also working on improving cultural sensitivity training in the provincial civil service by creating a new Intercultural Competency Training for the Public Service. These measures show the province is implementing what it hears from the Jewish and other minority communities," he added.
Minister Byrne has pledged to launch a public educational program targeting antisemitism, anti-Indigenous, anti-Black, anti-Asian racism and Islamophobia, B'nai Brith has offered its support to the Ministerial Committee.
"We are always ready to partner with the provinces as they have a leading role to play in combating hate," said Michael Mostyn, B'nai Brith's Chief Executive Officer. "We appreciate the seriousness Premier Furey and Minister Byrne have demonstrated in responding to our concerns. It is encouraging to see the Premier and Minister have read our Audit, as well as the province's willingness to work with B'nai Brith going forward."
Earlier this month, B’nai Brith Canada called on Canadian lawmakers to combat rising antisemitism.