Editorial: Just the start of a journey

Sunday was International Human Rights Day, marking 70 years since the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, calling for recognition of the equality and rights of all human beings.

It seemed every major political leader in the country issued a statement confirming their devotion to human rights. But how far have we come?

In his declaration, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mentioned the two recent apologies he issued; to victims of Newfoundland and Labrador residential schools and for federal practices that led to systemic oppression of LGBTQ2 individuals.

Apologies are a good thing. Between two people, they are (hopefully) the end of a problem, followed by a handshake or a hug. At the government level, they’re the recognition of an injustice, perhaps followed by atonement in the form of government funds.

That’s fine, as far as it goes. At the government level, apologies really should be the first step of a journey, not its end. Because an apology without action is meaningless. Trudeau recognized this, noting that legislation had been passed against discrimination and hate crimes based on gender identity, and ongoing recommendations.

In the case of residential schools, where is the solemn declaration — enshrined in legislation — that the government of Canada will never again single out a people and try to wipe out their cultures and languages? Where do we have it written down that people will never again be taken from their homes just because they belong to a particular ethnic group?

In a larger picture, where is the plan laid out for how our government is going to evaluate and implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission?

Internationally, we are still trading with countries that have clear records of human rights abuses. Apologies and statements about how Canada is devoted to human rights are one thing, but there is still a lot of work to do — inside and outside the country — before Canada can live up to the vision of being a just society.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Summerland approves solar project

Despite community opposition, council voted 4-3 for Cartwright Mountain location

Two positive COVID-19 cases at Oliver farm

The risk of exposure to the general public related to this farm is considered to be low

Oliver Town Hall closed to public as staffer shows COVID-19 symptoms

One staff member at Oliver Town Hall is being tested for coronavirus

Penticton woman struck by mystery bullet

Woman suffers no major injuries; RCMP without any leads, investigation continues

Village of Keremeos looks to dismantle systemic racism

Mayor says the time is right to deconstruct racist institutions

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Police search for suspect in assault on woman in downtown Kelowna

Kelowna police received a report a woman had been assaulted by an unknown man on July 12

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Horoscopes for the week of July 13

Weekly horoscopes by Morgan Fava

Police keep eye on motorbike gang in Kelowna for poker run

The Throttle Lockers Motorcycle Club Poker Run was to have taken place on July 11

Prohibited driver ticketed after rollover on Highway 1 near Salmon Arm

Jeep Cherokee hit rock face before rolling multiple times

COVID-19 exposure on Kelowna flight

Interior Health has capacity to test individuals who need it, but is reminding everyone that testing is not required for those who do not have symptoms

Most Read