Ottawa – September 27, 2007. The World Sikh Organization (WSO) is disappointed to read Bruce Allen’s cosmetic apology, attempting to blame the media for “sensationalizing” his editorial “rant”. It is quite evident from his written commentary in the Vancouver Sun as well as diatribe on CKNW Radio on September 26th that he refuses to grasp the depth of pain he has inflicted on minorities in general and the Sikhs in particular.
Canada was not always a beacon to people from around the world; it was not always the leading example of social harmony and cohesion to other countries. We as Canadians must realize that there is always a danger in moving backwards. We must continually fight against the forces of racism, intolerance and xenophobia, wherever we find them. Mr. Bruce Allen may not be racist; but the tone of his comments certainly conveyed the impression of bigotry and intolerance that can stretch the fabric of multiculturalism and impact negatively on the minority and immigrant communities in our society.
“Engaging in dialogue with respect, tolerance and sensitivity are traits Canadians cherish and are known for around the World. Bruce Allen displayed none of these traits. It is time to own up to his mistake and apologize unequivocally”, said Gian Singh Sandhu WSO Senior Policy Advisor.
“WSO appreciates the bold leadership shown by Raymond Chan MP by taking up this cause. We look forward to seeing our national regulatory body – CRTC, adopt and declare a policy of ‘zero tolerance’ for implicit or explicit communication of view that challenge goodwill, tolerance and mutual respect among all Canadians,” said Gurpreet Singh Bal, WSO President.
Mr. Allen and other public figures must recognize that even if there is no intent on their part to fuel the xenophobic fears in our society, they must still be mindful of when their words could be used to push forward an agenda that the vast majority of Canadians find appalling.