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Date: Wed, 23 Apr 2008 18:03:02 -0300
From: Ismail Zayid <izayid@eastlink.ca>
Subject: Fw: NDP on the Durban 2009 Conference
To: Fadil Elsheik <fadil@canada.com>
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----- Original Message -----

From: Ismail Zayid

To: Layton.J@parl.gc.ca

Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 6:00 PM

Subject: Fw: NDP on the Durban 2009 Conference


Dear Mr. Layton:


Let me express at the outset that we find your response to our message disappointing and failing to look at the issue seriously and with a free spirit.


The pretexts offered here, for supporting the Canadian boycott of the Durban conference, are facile and merely suggest that the NDP is falling in the campaign of submission to the US and Israeli policies. The resolutions of the 2001 Conference, as related to Israeli racist policies, were supported by historic facts that are confirmed by renowned Israeli thinkers and intellectuals and by all international and Israeli human rights bodies. The activities that took place outside the 2001 Conference should have no bearing on the primary objectives of the Durban Conference.


It is saddening and disappointing to see our National Democratic Party allowing itself to be submissive to the US totally- biased policies. We expected the NDP to support a positive Canadian role in standing shoulder to shoulder with international bodies combatting racism and racial discrimination.


Yours sincerely,


Ismail Zayid, MD.

President, Canada Palestine Association.


----- Original Message -----

From: Layton, Jack - M.P.

Sent: Monday, April 21, 2008 4:17 PM

Subject: NDP on the Durban 2009 Conference



Thank you for your previous message concerning the Durban Review Conference 2009.

The NDP remains steadfast in its support of UN efforts to combat racism and discrimination around the world. It was a difficult decision to decide whether or not to engage in a process on an issue our party considers to be vitally important. However when Canada participated in the Durban 2001 World Conference against Racism it drew severe criticism for promoting the kind of intolerance that the conference was purportedly organized to denounce. It has been recognized that there were some problems with the way in which the conference was structured and concern that some of the same problems that occurred at the 2001 conference would happen again in 2009. It is disturbing to think both the previous Liberal and current Conservative government failed to take a leadership role to work to ensure the problems from the first conference are not repeated. In the end, we felt it was best to not support Canada's participation.

The non participation of Canada in this conference should not in any way diminish the involvement of Canada in the fight against racism, at home and abroad. I believe that it is in our national interest to have Canada demonstrate its domestic commitment to eradicating discrimination and hatred and to take a leadership role internationally to advance anti-racism goals.  Canada has an obligation to comply with the provisions of the UN Covenant and to respect and fulfil the provisions of its own Canada Action Plan Against Racism. Clearly, rather than further polarization, we need to move towards greater understanding and reconciliation and that is the consistent position of our Party on some of the issues which deeply divide Canadians.   

Let me assure you, the NDP is deeply committed to multilateral processes and envisages an ambitious role for the United Nations in the protection of human rights and the elimination of racism. That is precisely the mandate of the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination which issued a very critical report on Canada just a year ago. In my view, we would do well to focus our attention on the recommendations of that Committee which coincide with a number of priorities of the NDP federal caucus.

Again, many thanks for expressing your views on this issue.


Jack Layton, MP (Toronto-Danforth)
Leader, Canada’s New Democrats