MONTREAL, March 26 /CNW Telbec/ - A few hundred persons turned out to demonstrate in front of the offices of Rights and Democracy at 1001 de Maisonneuve Blvd. East in Montreal to demand an independent investigation on the events that have shaken the organization for more than a year. The demonstration was organized by a coalition of organizations working in the human rights and international development field, including Amnesty International, the League of Rights and Freedoms, the Fédération des femmes du Québec and numerous union groups.
"Due to its ideological interference, the Conservative government is destroying an organization that has made Canada proud the world over," declared Steve Foster, president of the Quebec Coalition for gays and lesbians.
Alexa Conradi, the president of the Fédération des femmes du Québec (FFQ), believes the crisis that is currently rocking Rights and Democracy is a crystal-clear sign of the erosion of democracy in Canada. "The time has come for the public to demand an end to the interference by federal Conservatives in this organization that spearheads human rights and democratic development in this country," Ms Conradi said.
The four former presidents of Rights and Democracy have also thrown their support behind the movement demanding an independent investigation. They are the Honourable Ed Broadbent, the Honourable Warren Allmand, and Messrs. Jean-Louis Roy and Jean-Paul Hubert.
The demonstration occurred at the same time Gérard Latulippe, who was appointed president of Rights and Democracy by the Conservative government, took office. The demonstrators believe Latulippe does not have the moral authority to direct an organization committed to the defence of human rights due to his position on the death penalty, gay marriage and Arab-Muslim immigration.
Organizers of the demonstration maintain that the ideological shift the federal Conservatives are trying to impose on Rights and Democracy jeopardizes the independent and non-partisan nature of the organization which, until only recently, has been able to make an effective contribution to protecting and promoting human rights in the world.
The organizers also stated that the crisis currently gripping Rights and Democracy is not merely an issue of internal administration but is instead symptomatic of the highly ideological and partisan nature of recent interventions by the Harper government in this case.
In addition to an independent investigation, demonstration organizers are also calling for the establishment of a new board of directors that is independent from the policies of the Government of Canada.
To sign the petition supporting the coalition's demands, go to:
For further information: For further information: Information: Maude Séguin, (514) 443-2788, (514) 875-7100