The Canadian Multicultural Education Foundation (CMEF) and the Edmonton Interfaith Centre (EIC) held a panel discussion over Zoom on Sunday March 21 from 1 to 2:30 for the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (IDERD), on the topic of “Confronting Inherent Racism”.
Speakers were Dr. Chaldeans Mensah, Beryl Scott and Dr. Alvin Finkel, and we are grateful for the added participation of Elder Pauline Paulson and moderator Harriet Tinka.
In 2008 we began a monthly “Lunch & Learn” program with a presentation of local interest followed by a lively discussion. It is continuing on Zoom, we’ll offer the learning part and you bring your lunch. Please join us on Tuesday May 25at noon with Mike Van Boom, Edmonton’s first housing ambassador.
The following is the text of a letter sent, by both e-mail and physical mail, to represent the Edmonton Interfaith Centre’s position regarding Bill C-15 to the four Senators that represent Alberta in the Senate of Canada:
Dear Senators Black, LaBoucane-Benson, Simons and Tannas:
It has come to our attention that Bill C-15 is currently before the Senate. We want to encourage you to pass it.
The importance of this Bill cannot be overstated. As we understand it, Bill C-15 asks the Government of Canada to examine all laws to discover where any prejudice towards indigenous peoples may occur and change those laws so that they conform with the requirements of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
This quote is from a summary statement, “Bill C-15 would affirm UNDRIP’s application to Canadian law, to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with UNDRIP and provide a framework for Canada’s implementation of UNDRIP. The principles set out in the bill are a benchmark for Canada’s conduct going forward.“
Indigenous people in Canada have suffered for many years under laws that seemed reasonable and necessary at the time. These laws have proven to be arbitrary, discriminatory and prejudicial. Acknowledging the injustice of these laws requires the passing of Bill C-15.
We also understand that a full 60% of Canadian people support this bill and want you to approve it so that discriminatory laws can be corrected.
It’s a national embarrassment that Canada, known for its fair-mindedness and support of Human Rights around the world, would be treating its own indigenous citizens so poorly. This problem has to be fixed.
Please support working for the right thing to do, freeing indigenous people from the oppressive laws that have caused them considerable harm and suffering for so long.
Vote to Pass C-15!
Thanks for your consideration,
Guy Blood, President, and the Board of Directors of the Edmonton Interfaith Centre for Education & Action
On Tuesday, May 4, 2021, the Faith in the Declaration Coalition, “a coalition of Canadian faith houses and organizations working together to support the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples [UNDRIP]”, presented an online conversation and learning event regarding the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and Bill C-15, which is currently awaiting second reading in Parliament, and intended to bring Canadian law into line with the UNDRIP. The conversation can be seen in its entirety here. For more information on Faith in the Declaration and how to support the implementation of Declaration Legislation, please visit https://www.faithinthedeclaration.ca/
On March 8 we continued our new virtual “Lunch & Learn” with a very informative talk by Gary St. Armand, CEO of the Bissell Centre. This 100+ year old agency has a simple goal: a Community Without Poverty. Gary spoke about how they are working toward this ambitious aim in these challenging times as well as his own background which makes him ideally suited for the job.
On Tuesday, February 23rd, the Parliament of the World’s Religions hosted a special observance of UN World Interfaith Harmony Week on the theme of healing and loving our neighbors.
The program featured the participation of Chicago faith leaders reflecting on “How do we as communities and individuals heal and build better together?”. While the PWR is based in Chicago, this discussion of reaching across lines of difference, and having a collective conversation about our shared truth, resonate strongly with the Edmonton Interfaith Centre’s mission.
In light of news headlines regarding GraceLife Church in Parkland County, where leaders and members have defied COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the Province, we share once again this message from a group Edmonton and area spiritual leaders, reiterating our commitment to putting safety first.
Please join us for the 2021 Building Bridges Among Faith Traditions: A Multifaith Concert, which premiered at 2 pm on Sunday, February 7, 2021. This event is presented in celebration of World Interfaith Harmony Week as well as the 25th anniversary of the Edmonton Interfaith Centre for Education and Action (EICEA). There were prayers/readings from various faith traditions and exciting performances by Ensemble Topaz, Melanie Gall, Martin Kerr and Sharmila Mathur.