The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Jason Kenney, Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity, today issued the following statement:

“Canada has a long and proud history of fighting racism, discrimination and intolerance in all its forms,” said Minister Bernier. “It was for this reason, and its promise of concerted global action against racism, that we participated in the 2001 World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in Durban, South Africa. Unfortunately, that conference degenerated into open and divisive expressions of intolerance and anti-Semitism that undermined the principles of the United Nations and the very goals the conference sought to achieve.”

“Secretary of State Kenney and I had hoped that the preparatory process for the 2009 Durban Review Conference would remedy the mistakes of the past,” said Minister Bernier. “We have concluded that, despite our efforts, it will not. Canada will therefore not participate in the 2009 conference.”

“Canada will continue to focus its efforts on genuine anti-racism initiatives that make a difference,” said Secretary of State Kenney. “Our government’s decision to seek full membership on the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research demonstrates that we remain committed to the fight against racism and to the promotion of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law at home and around the world.”

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Alykhan Velshi
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Jason Kenney

Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity)
Cell: 613-867-0255">

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada