From Bernie’s piece in The Star:The latest hullaballoo around renaming Toronto’s Union Station after Sir John A. Macdonald should have and could have been avoided from the start. It simply boggles the mind that Toronto Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, a savvy municipal politician, would have suggested such a change without engaging in at least some research.
From Richard Gwyn’s defense in the same paper:
About John A. Macdonald two comments can be made with near certainty.
The first is that but for him no Canadians would be reading this article because no Canadians would exist to read it other than (Read more…)
There is an ancient Jewish folktale which tells of a man visiting hell and being amazed to find its inhabitants all seated at long tables with fancy tablecloths, beautiful silverware and delicious food in front of them. Yet no one was eating. They were all wailing. On closer examination the visitor saw that none of them could bend their elbows. So while they could touch their food no one could bring the food to their mouths.The visitor then went to heaven where the scene was identical: Long tables, fancy tablecloths, beautiful silverware and delicious food. And here too people (Read more…)
Our conviction is that Canadian policy over more than 100 years can be defined as a genocide of First Nations under the 1948 UN Genocide Convention.
Read it all if you can dodge the pay-wall. I have nothing particularly interesting to add except that under such circumstances it is generally good politics and good policy to own-up and move on.
Now that Jason Kenney has left his position as Minister for Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Bernie makes some suggestions to his successor, Chris Alexander:
Refugees – Remove Hungary and Mexico from the Designated Safe Country list. This can be done immediately and without legislative reform. These designations impact vulnerable communities – ethnic minorities, the LGBTQ community and women facing gender violence. The Minister can also propose an amendment to the law to provide for an expert human rights panel to assess whether a country might be safe, rather than allow designation by statistics. And he can seek to amend (Read more…)
…whose members include Stephen Lewis, Michele Landsberg and Bernie Farber, and whose mandate includes more than just Israel 24/7 (includes, for example,Hungarian, Slovak and Czech nationals of Roma heritage). Good luck to them. Hope to hear lots from them in the future.
An odd story, this. A Canadian nutter has bequeathed $1,000,000 in ancient gold coins and other valuables to the National Alliance, an American hate/terror group. The Canadian government may be lobbied to stop the transfer. And a few familiar figures are involved. So: one to keep an eye on.
…poses with: Conservative Party organizer Georgeanne Burke, PCPO riding association president for Thornhill (MPP Peter Shurman’s riding) Gila Martow, and York U professor Merle Jacobs. Also in the picture is officer Ricky Veerappan, the fellow that got Pam Geller turfed from her Thornhill gig. Kathy Shaidle thinks there’s something scandalous going on here on Bernie’s part. I don’t see it myself, but what’s weird is how it doesn’t seem to bother Shaidle that a couple of known Tories are also “in deep”, as it were, with Veerappan. Also doesn’t seem to bother her that, according to Geller herself, Jason Kenney, (Read more…)
Yesterday, to mark both Holocaust Remembrance Day and International Roma Day, Bernie Farber and Gina Csanyi-Robah of the Toronto Roma Community Center penned this story about the Porajmos (Devouring), the genocide of Europe’s Roma population under the Nazis. It is not an easy thing to read, but remembrance is a duty we owe the past.
An interesting thing about The Jewish Tribune’s story about the death of Doug Christie, lawyer to Canada’s far right, is that it isn’t really about the death of Doug Christie. Rather, it is about the reaction to Doug Christie’s death by ex-CJC head Bernie Farber. Anyone that knows Bernie knows that he likes to play things clean, keep it classy, and so forth, so it isn’t surprising, and hardly a big deal, that he would have sent the dying barrister a conciliatory email. Nevertheless Tribune correspondent Joanne Hill spends 300 or so words trying to make something of the issue,
. . . → Read More: BigCityLib Strikes Back: A Little Perspective Please
With little fanfare, Canada was scolded earlier this year by both the United Nations and Amnesty International over its human rights record. Yes you read this correctly — Canada.
The two areas that attracted the most attention by the UN/Amnesty International human rights experts were Canada’s record when it came to refugees and, internally, the manner in which we continue to discriminate against our First Nations people.
While politicians mouth the usual platitudes in support of refugees and First Nations their actions demonstrate the platitudes are nothing but a smoke screen.
A nice column to kick off the holiday of Passover.
So, as I mentioned a couple of days ago, T.O. Sun reporter Kevin Connor wrote up a short piece re last week’s protest outside of the Israeli consulate on Bloor Street. Probably the most notable thing about it was the apology that soon a… . . . → Read More: BigCityLib Strikes Back: The Curious Case Of The Disappearing Quote
In a story about the weekend’s pro-Palestinian rally on Bloor St.:A version of this story that briefly appeared on torontosun.com contained quotes wrongly attributed to Bernie Farber, former CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress. The Sun r… . . . → Read More: BigCityLib Strikes Back: Another Sun Bung-Up
The president of Gemini Power Corporation, Dr. Michael Dan is pleased to announce the appointment of Bernie M. Farber as Senior Vice President for Government and External Relations. Mr Farber formerly the Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Jewish Congress brings to this new position over 30 years of experience in government and public relations, human rights advancement and his own personal work with Canada’s First Nations which is a key partner in Gemini’s ongoing clean and sustainable energy development.
Here’s hoping Bernie’s new responsibilities don’t stop him from penning the occasional Op-Ed piece on the same issues that have always
Members of Toronto’s Roma Community Centre will disassociate itself from a number of other groups protesting a reception for Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney–who will be honoured by the Canadian Friends of Haifa University (CFHU) on Nov. 4 at the Fairmount Royal York hotel– to symbolically show that they are not anti-Israel, merely oppose Kenney’s Bill C-31, which they feel unfairly targets the Roma community.
Everyone’s favorite human rights activist and Jewish community leader Bernie Farber, who has been helping the RCC prepare their hate-speech complaint against Ezra Levant, will nevertheless be attending the Kenney presentation as a guest:
. . . → Read More: BigCityLib Strikes Back: Update On Roma Vs. Kenney
Mostly an historical overview of the history of the LGBTQ movement in T.O.. But this little bit:Even the politics seemed more subdued. While this year a Disputes Resolutions panel agreed that QiAIA (Queers against Israeli Apartheid) could march in the parade, its numbers as reported by the Jewish Tribune were half that of the Kulanu revelers and their message muted with apparently no mentioning of “apartheid” other than in their name. …I’ve heard elsewhere as well. The “pride wars” appear to be over. . . . → Read More: BigCityLib Strikes Back: Bernie Farber On The History Of Pride
Two fellas I am proud to call friends. And I would just note that this fight is not yet over. To all you journos that teamed up with the CDN Neo-Nazi movement to effect the repeal of S13, I can’t speak for these two gentleman, but as for me I will pursue you to the gates of Hell itself, and farther if necessary. If you guys are not unemployed or in jail when I die, then that will mean that I have fucked up in life.
Bernie Farber explains why this one is. Donate here.
A useful corrective, if only because we usually hear about the museum’s various downsides.
I was lucky enough to attend the kickoff to Ontario’s first Jewish Heritage Month at Beth Torah Synagogue on Monday evening. Highlights included a choir, the name of which I forget now but they were terrific, Susan Jackman’s spirited and funny account of Jewish immigration into T.O., and of course Bernie’s speech re the Jewish contribution to the establishment of Ontario’s human rights apparatus.
On a related note, B’nai Brith Canada seems to have flipped sides at a recent meeting of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, and now apparently are in favor of a straight out
. . . → Read More: BigCityLib Strikes Back: Bernie Farber At The Kickoff To Ontario Jewish Heritage Month
Bernie Farber has a new piece on Huffpo. He says it better than I could:
The hunting down of war criminals sends a universal message that such unspeakable crimes will not be tolerated by a civil society. It tells potential perpetrators that there is no place to hide; that they will be hunted for the rest of their lives.
Bernie has a nice piece in the Citizen:
Recently there has been a debate raging here in Canada regarding the necessity of antihate laws. There are those who believe that any restriction on speech whatsoever is an infringement on our valued right to free-speech. In 1990 the Supreme Court of Canada upheld our anti-hate laws by a slim margin. While it found that such laws were a limitation on speech, given the serious need to ensure protection of vulnerable minorities such an infringement, it argued, was justified.
I agree. We are a democracy based on justice and law. We understand
. . . → Read More: BigCityLib Strikes Back: Farber On The Gatineau Mosque And Other Recent Hate Crimes
Opponents of Section 13 argue that it is an assault on free speech. They claim that it targets speech that may merely offend those with thin skins. If the target of the law were merely “offensive” statements, we would wholeheartedly agree. But this is not the case. The law aims at expression that causes members of our society to be treated as less worthy than their neighbours merely because of who they are, rather than what they have done. The small number of cases that have made it to the act’s tribunal stage have been among the worst of the
. . . → Read More: BigCityLib Strikes Back: Farber And Kurz On Section 13
…on Hudak’s promise to put crooks in your parks:Ontario has long been a province of tough, practical people. The Ontario way is to ask: “what works?” and make decisions based on reality, not ideology. But ideology, rather than reality, is behind Pete… . . . → Read More: BigCityLib Strikes Back: The Slightly Shorter Farber
Back a week or so, CJC head and provincial Liberal Party candidate for Thornhill Bernie Farber penned a column for Shalom Life in which he was critical of Ontario’s health-care system circa the Mike Harris Gov. He used as an example the… . . . → Read More: BigCityLib Strikes Back: Farber On Healthcare, Redux