Premier Ford’s comments about encampment protest reflect double standard: ARPCF

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2024-05-09- FordMontreal, May 09, 2024— The Anti-Racism Program of the CJPME Foundation (ARPCF) is expressing deep concern over Ontario Premier Doug Ford's recent statements regarding pro-Palestinian protests, highlighting what appears to be a discriminatory double standard. Premier Ford has previously affirmed that protests are an integral part of Canada’s democratic society. However, his specific criticisms of pro-Palestinian encampments in Ontario suggest these protests are particularly problematic, characterizing them as uniquely hateful and disruptive.

Ford has suggested that university encampment demonstrations are infused with hatred.  He also suggests that such demonstrations have not been “peaceful.”  Neither of these assertions are supported by objective evidence. Ford’s unsubstantiated criticism of the protests reflects his refusal to consider the students' legitimate demands for divestment from an Israeli state accused of apartheid and genocide.

“Ford’s remarks reflect a prejudiced policy that restricts the civic engagement of Palestinian supporters, and creates a hostile environment against them, said Jamila Ewais, a researcher for the ARPCF. “By defaming Palestinian advocacy as a threat, Premier Ford promotes a narrative that associates Palestinian rights with violence, antisemitism and anti-democracy, thereby aiming to silence and marginalize them.” Additionally, the ARPCF points out that Ford's comments give the false impression that the Palestinian movement in Canada consists only of Palestinians or immigrants. In fact, that encampment protests are multi-ethnic, and include Canadians of all backgrounds, including many Jews. “Ultimately, the issue of Palestine is not merely a Palestinian concern but a human-rights one,” says Ewais.

Premier Ford's comments reflect anti-Palestinian racism as described in the Arab Canadian Lawyers Association’s (ACLA) landmark 2022 report, “Anti-Palestinian Racism: Naming, Framing and Manifestations.” Ford’s comments reflect attitudes that marginalize Palestinian voices and deny their right to dissent: key aspects of anti-Palestinian racism. Such practices also defame or dehumanize Palestinians and their allies by portraying their advocacy as problematic or contrary to democratic values. By suggesting that these fundamentally human rights-focused protests clash with Canadian values and peace, Ford not only undermines the legitimacy of Palestinian grievances but also continues a narrative that excludes and erases Palestinian perspectives from public discourse.

The ARPCF believes that Premier Doug Ford and the Ontario government should issue a formal apology to the encampment protesters, cease stereotyping them as violent or hateful, and formally recognize and address anti-Palestinian racism in Ontario’s anti-racism programs. 

About the ARPCF – The mandate of the Anti-Racism Program of the CJPME Foundation (ARPCF) is to create public awareness about racism in Canada.  This mandate falls in line with the Foundation’s broader purpose of monitoring and combating manifestations of racism, xenophobia, and discrimination by increasing public awareness of such biases.

For more information, please contact Jamila Ewais, 514-389-8668
ARPCF, [email protected]

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  • Jamila Ewais
    published this page in Statements 2024-05-09 10:58:43 -0400