March 20, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The following statement was issued by Business New Brunswick Minister Greg Byrne, who is also the minister responsible for the Population Growth Secretariat, to mark the International Day of the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Saturday, March 21:
Observed annually on March 21 since its establishment by the United Nations in 1966, this day commemorates the peaceful anti-apartheid demonstrators who were killed and wounded in the Sharpeville massacre in South Africa, as well as anyone who has ever been a victim of racial discrimination.
As New Brunswickers, we are fortunate to live in a place where we can be ourselves and belong, regardless of differences in language, creed, culture, religion, or race. Our province is a place where diversity is known to be a source of cultural enrichment and strength as we continue our journey to self-sufficiency.
Nevertheless, elements of racism and discrimination do still appear in our everyday lives. It is, therefore, incumbent on all of us to work together continually to combat racism by promoting respect and acceptance of others.
Government must lead the way by making our province a more welcoming place. This is why we have doubled the multicultural grants program to support significant multicultural events that foster cross-cultural understanding such as the Multicultural Festival held here in Fredericton yesterday.
To mark this important day, I am happy to announce that we will provide funding for several new programs in the Fredericton area to facilitate the integration, participation and engagement of newcomer youth in this community. This will include international music classes, a multicultural homework club and a summer camp that will bring together youth from various cultural backgrounds.
We will also partner with the Multicultural Association of the Greater Moncton Area to hold public education sessions for members of that community, including the business community, who are interested in learning more about other cultures.
As minister responsible for the Population Growth Secretariat, I encourage all New Brunswickers to be engaged in the effort to end racial discrimination within Canada and New Brunswick. Each of us can play a role in ensuring that our province continues to be a place where all residents and newcomers feel welcome.