NDP and Liberal Party Collaborate on Motion to address caste discrimination in Canada

Davies was joined at the press conference by Jai Birdi Executive Director of the Chetna Association of Canada, Jyotika Jasuja, Chetna’s Cultural Events Coordinator and Manoj Bhangu

NDP MP Don Davies at a press conference in Vancouver on Friday after he moved a motion in the House of Commons on prohibiting caste discrimination. (Don Davies’ Office)

Toronto: A Canadian MP has introduced a motion in the country’s Parliament for the recognition of caste-based recognition. The motion has been moved by New Democratic Party (NDP) MP Don Davies. It call upon the government to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to add caste to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination. The NDP is in an arrangement with the ruling Liberal Party of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to support it in passing legislation.

At a press conference in Vancouver on Friday, Davies said, “Due to the tireless efforts of advocates, some institutions have recognized caste-based discrimination as a human rights violation as an inferred ground of discrimination. It is time we made this explicit and send a clear message that this is not tolerated in our society,” according to a release from his office.

Davies was joined at the press conference by Jai Birdi Executive Director of the Chetna Association of Canada, Jyotika Jasuja, Chetna’s Cultural Events Coordinator and Manoj Bhangu.

In March 2023, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal awarded Bhangu, CA$ 9755 after finding he had been subjected to a caste-based slur by Inderjit and Avninder Dhillon, during the course of an altercation at a taxi company’s Christmas Party in 2018. Bhangu, a Hindu, had been abused by the former co-workers.

“Caste discrimination remains prevalent in Canada and we must take immediate action to address it,” Bhangu said.

“We must work together to build a casteless society where individuals can live in harmony with each other regardless of differences,” Birdi said.

Meanwhile, the motion, M-128, was criticised by Indo-Canadian community groups. In a post on X, the Coalition of Hindus of North America Canada argued it “misuses Human Rights’s noble intent, to single out, profile, & target a specific group of people based on their origin.”

“CoHNA has repeatedly raised concerns about the use of “caste” to target Indians & Hindus specifically,” it added.

Last year, motions recognising caste-based discrimination in Canada were passed by the town of Burnaby in BC and Brampton in Ontario as well as the Toronto District School Board.

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