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Canadian Senator urges people to rise up

 
 
 
 
 
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Senator Don Oliver photograph in the court yard of the Senate on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ont., June 27, 2011.

Blacks in Canada need to unite, rise up and address the deep racism in this country that keeps them out of positions of power, a Conservative senator says.

“What will it take for our collective Afro-Canadian family to unite — to rise up and claim our rightful place in Canadian society?” Conservative Senator Don Oliver recently asked in keynote speech to black professionals.

Despite being the fourth largest visible minority group in Canada, blacks continue to be victims of racism and are under-represented in high-level positions including on Parliament Hill, Oliver said Monday, Canadian Multiculturalism Day.

“Racism still holds us back, both in the public and the private sector . . . Our co-workers do not accept us, do not treat us fairly, that equality is wanting and diversity is not a reality as it should be,” he said.

Oliver said he’s experienced overt racism throughout his life.

“From the days that I started going to school, age five, six and seven, right up until today, and I’m almost 73. I encounter racism at almost every turn,” he said.

Even on Parliament Hill, Oliver said, racism is the reason there are few visible minorities in executive positions.

“In Parliament is there racism? In the Senate, in the House of Commons, in the library of Parliament are there barriers? There certainly are. In the past, I have met with the clerk of the Senate, with the clerk of the House of Commons and with the head of the library of Parliament and have had very candid and frank talks with them about the barriers that exist.”

Oliver blames Canada’s experience with slavery for much of the black community’s inability to support each other and for the stereotypes old-stock Canadians continue to show.

“It really flows from the days of slavery . . . because of the slave mentality,” he explained, when someone got ahead, they would get dragged down by the group.

Blacks need to learn to support each other and stick their hand up and lend a hand when their brothers and sisters are in need, Oliver said.

“It’s like we are a family,” Oliver said. “(But) unlike a lot of other groups, organizations, cultural groups, and ethnic groups, we do not pull together as a group. We do not assist and help one another as we should . . . Until we reach out to our fellows, it is going to be hard for us to make the kind of upward movement that I would like to see us have as a group.”

Many Canadians don’t realize that slavery existed in Canada, he said. A number of legislators in Ontario, which was then called Upper Canada, were slave owners, as were a number of eminent people in the province of Quebec. In Nova Scotia, where Oliver is from, black people were sold at public auction.

“I still have an ad for a ‘buxom young female, 14 years of age, for sale,'” he said.

Blacks are well accepted by new Canadians but “it is more the Canadians who are already here that it comes from,” Oliver said.

And blacks, the senator argues, have it worst off than other visible minority groups.

The senator, who formed last week a new caucus for other Conservatives from visible-minorities groups, said he believes blacks should have their own category for Canadians in need of special measures: along with the disabled, aboriginals, women and other visible minorities.

“They should be in a category of their own because it is the black component of visible minorities that hold visible minorities back because blacks are always the last to be hired and the first to be fired,” he said.

For a long time, “because of this latent colour-thing,” blacks were not represented in Canada’s major institutions, such as universities, and are excluded from being police chiefs or the top levels of the armed forces and the public service, Oliver said.

His message as Canadians head toward Canada Day celebrations is for all citizens to embrace diversity warmly.

“Be prepared to accept difference. Because difference is our strength,” he said.

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7 Responses to " Canadian Senator urges people to rise up "

  1. Good Ol' Rebel says:

    The opinionated,the shit stirrers,those are your enemy.

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  2. Heather says:

    What a pile of B.S. For starters anyone that bought and sold a black is long dead. Young people don’t see color any more unless a crime is committed and then it doesn’t matter whether they are white, brown or black they just give the description. The only racism he may see is people his own age. He is starting trouble for no reason what so ever. If minorities are a minority in politics is could be something to do with the word minority.. Canada was originally white and Indians. Most blacks that came here came to escape slavery in the US south. Canada gave them an escape. If you don’t like it here then I am sure there are maybe better places for you to live.

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  3. Joe says:

    I am an American born black man and we have these older blacks same age as Senator Oliver that are long term congressmen that have the same mentality.I am 54 years old and I have had some very minor axial when I was a child.There has been major improvements in race relations between blacks and whites.I felt very comfortable with former presidents Bush SR. and JR.Has any one notice that since the Marxist mulatto became president that there has been a deterioration in race relations coming prominent black Americans?After Obama took his oath,there was an older black man that made jokes about skin colors,remember he said when “yellow was mellow” and”when the red man could get ahead”?Then the head of the D.O.J. Eric Holder said that Americans were a nation of cowards because people(whites) felt uncomfortable discussing the subject of race?There is an anti-white attitude among some portions of the younger black populations.Unfortunately there are Somalian refugees that don’t like whites or any other racial groups.not all Somalians are like this but most are.Candian born blacks are the result of the under-ground railroad.I did not know that blacks living in Canada were being persecuted because they were black.I watch horse racing on TVG (it’s the horse racing channel)I see a successful black jockey who is from the Bahamas and I see other blacks that are from the carribean countries and then there is a Mexican jockey that is the leading rider,they work at the Woodbine race track in Toronto.I talked to a white female Canadian horse trainer this past winter and she told me that many Canadians don’t want do any kind of hard work like working with horses.That’s why there are Carribean blacks working on the Woodbine race track.

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  4. Joe says:

    I need to correct a small error on the second sentence.It should reed,I have had some very minor racial problems when I was a student in elementary and junior and senior high schools.

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  5. Heather says:

    I agree with everything you say Joe except Canadians don’t want to do any hard work with horses. Maybe not at the track but there are plenty of farmers that do hard work with horses.
    I don’t think any person saw color when they looked at Colin Powell. White, brown or black he got respect which he earned.
    If you look at Canada’s Olympic teams it should be obvious that every color gets the same opportunities.. :)

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    • Joe says:

      Heather,are the Canadian born blacks as a group not satisfied with living in Canada?Strong dollar and booming mining industry,oil and natural gas and nickel etc.Aren’t there any employment opportunities for this racial group in the mining industry?The younger generations of blacks in both north Americans countries better get prepared for the “Chinese dragon”because their influence in both countries is going to be very powerful like it is in Africa.I read some where on eutimes about a Chinese business man in south Africa that employs blacks has a very negative attitutde towards his black African employees.I bet that he is not the only Chinese business man or investor that is in an African country that has the same racist attitude towards blacks.

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  6. Heather says:

    Joe, I don’t know of any groups less satisfied than an other. I doubt there are too many places in the world where you will find any group completely happy. Any blacks I know and have known don’t feel they are treated different. I am in a very multicultural city and I am sure things could be different in rural areas as there is always that one. In rural areas that one sticks out a lot more.. :) Blacks here have jobs in oil companies, technology, construction. etc. I don’t remember the last time I saw any working at McD’s. They can get employment in anything they have the education to do. Our Mayor is East Indian and so far seems to be doing a good job. That’s what matters.. :)

    It could also be that Chinese businessman looks down on anyone that he considers below him and he also could be treating people the way he was treated as an employee. People usually learn from past experiences.

    I find most Asians just want respect and the arguing between the east and west is not helping. It’s like our governments wants the world to turn on North America. I just hope most know it’s coming from the government and not the people.

    I have never met a race I didn’t like.. a person maybe but that doesn’t reflect on a whole race. There are good and bad people no matter what the color. We all bleed when cut and we all of one race. The human race.

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