Bouchard-Taylor Commission: Tolerance Foundation Calls for Renewed Focus on Youth

    MONTREAL, Dec. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Appearing before the Consultation
Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences, the
Tolerance Foundation unveiled a four-point action plan to build bridges of
understanding and respect between Quebecers of different heritages and
    "As Montreal and Quebec have become increasingly diverse, we have been
reaching out to young people, bringing them together to get to know each other
and discover that they share common values and interests," explained Marc
Gold, Co-President, Tolerance Foundation. "Over the past eighteen months,
however, we are concerned about the impact the intense media coverage and the
ensuing debate is having on young Quebecers."
    "We are noticing a growing reluctance to enter into an intercultural
dialogue and discuss the challenges of living together and globalization,"
added John Parisella, Co-President, Tolerance Foundation. "We are also worried
about the mounting interethnic tension between teachers and staff, students
and parents at the secondary school level. These young people are having a
hard time identifying with and feeling accepted within Quebec society,"

    The four-point plan of the Tolerance foundation focuses on:

    -   Education. All actors in Quebec society, from governments to
        employers and schools, need to pro-actively promote the benefits of
        diversity and the need for tolerance.
    -   The development and implementation of a plan to fight racism and
    -   The creation of a system of mediation to deal with issues related to
        reasonable accommodation.
    -   Improved teaching related to the meaning of citizenship and democracy
        to new arrivals.

    "Quebecers have for decades welcomed immigrants from all corners of the
globe with open arms," explained Assia Kada, Director, Tolerance Foundation.
"We need to build on this openness and take concrete steps to meet the
challenges of diversity, while also reaping the benefits.
    Created in 1995 in response to the United Nations Year for Tolerance, the
Tolerance Foundation is committed to working with young Quebecers in the fight
against stereotypes, prejudice, harassment and violence. It has launched a
series of unique educational initiatives including the Tolerance Caravan, a
traveling exhibit that is the backdrop for exploring the concepts of
prejudice, discrimination, genocide, and tolerance with young people aged 14
to 18. Over the past 12 years the Caravan has visited 255 secondary schools
and CEGEPs, reaching out to 225,000 young people.

    The Tolerance Foundation is a financially independent, non-partisan,
non-profit socio-educational organization whose mission is to prevent, inform,
and raise awareness about the inherent dangers in intolerance, prejudice,
exclusion, racism, and prejudice in all its forms.

For further information:

For further information: Assia Kada, Director, Tolerance Foundation,
(514) 842-4848,

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Tolerance Foundation

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