This year, OPSEU’s 2018 Human Rights Conference—United: We Call for Action!—was held November 30th to December 2nd. Below are some of the Human Rights Conference resources, including opening remarks of the Co-Chair of the Provincial Human Rights Committee at the 2018 Conference, the conference video, and some of the activities at the conference.
Please check back on this page, as we will be adding highlights and updates on the human rights conference.
2018 Human Rights Conference Video
To view the conference video https://youtu.be/WcrguoO9l0s
2018 Conference Poster and Program
Please feel free to download the conference poster and program:
To download the poster 2018-09-poster-c.pdf
To download the conference program 2018-11-phrc-program.pdf
Opening Remarks at the 2018 Human Rights Conference
by Jennie Miller, Co-Chair, Provincial Human Rights Committee
I want to start with the reason we have gathered you all here for this conference—the call to action—the inspiration we hope to generate at this conference to do something, but not just any (some) thing, to take action, to redress wrongs and to make things right. It’s a tall order.
But let’s be real. In the last week alone, attacks on our fundamental way of understanding the world, on our very democratic principles have come in fast and furious. On Monday, U.S. federal agents tear-gassed asylum seekers along the U.S.-Mexico Border and despite graphic photos and video, President Trump denied the use of any force on children.
Also on Monday, GM announced the closure of its Oshawa plant – a closure that may lead to the loss of more than 2,500 union jobs, along with so many others in the community. In response, Premier Ford said there is no government intervention possible.
A few weeks ago, the PC government released its fiscal update, and despite claims that the Ford government reduced billions in spending, the cuts were steep and deeply targeted. Gone is spending on childcare, shelter spaces, the French Language services Commissioner and a planned French language university. With the passing of Bill 47, also gone is $1 per hour increase to minimum wages that was set to pass January 2019. We also lost improvements to collective bargaining rights.
At the recent PC Convention. Tanya Granic Allen, former PC Leadership contender and Pro-Life lobbyist, introduced a resolution on gender identity theory calling it a “highly controversial, unscientific liberal ideology.”
It seems shocking that such comments are increasingly made without apology. It seems the unthinkable is happening.
In this climate, what is increasingly clear is that government policy relies on blatant appeals to fear, and to expressions and practices of hate, bigotry, racism and exclusion.
In the U.S., portrayals of migrants as rapists and drug dealers have fueled discriminatory policy proposals, the calling up of military, and the seeming suspension of law.
In Ontario, with cuts and restructuring to ODSP and Social Assistance, people with mental and physical disabilities are considered disposable and unworthy of life.
But we all know this is no accident. Trump and Ford are not just wild cards.
Their expressions of fear and hate, and their discriminatory policy proposals are not simply about carelessness. It is fueled by a legacy of racism, colonialism and discrimination.
Yet, we are also optimistic.
We know that Labour holds the promise to confront the austerity agenda. But Labour can do so only by challenging the racism, rampant sexism, homophobia and transphobia of Ford’s platform that is so-called “for the people.”
We also believe that meaningful alternatives exist for broad-based organizing with communities and that we need to do this because of the complex and intersecting nature of inequalities brought by austerity and neo-liberalism.
And that’s why we’re here this weekend: to develop a plan, and to get started. Why? Because United: We Call for Action!
Add Your Voice
For more information about the 2018 Human Rights Conference and to add your voice: https://www.facebook.com/OpseuProvincialHumanRightsCommittee/
Check out some of the ressources used at the conference:
30 Basic Human Rights in English 30_basic_human_rights_list_english.pdf
30 Basic Human Rights in French 30_basic_human_rights_list_french.pdf
Human Rights Squares in English human_rights_squares_english.pdf
Human Rights Squares in French human_rights_squares_french.pdf
Write for Rights writeforrights.pdf
Screening of Migrant Dreams
For more information http://sefpo.org/event/screening-migrant-dreams-opseu-human-rights-conference
Videos Used in the Conference
- Colin Capernick, Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5B8VU3JykvI
- New York Times Documentary: Occupy Bakery: https://www.nytimes.com/video/opinion/100000002338213/occupy-bakery.html