Bernie Farber
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A proud fighter for human rights, Bernie Farber is one of Canada’s leading experts on minority and human rights, race relations and antisemitism.

For over a decade working for the Youth Services Bureau and the Children’s
Aid Society in Ottawa, Bernie specialized in assisting at-risk youth and battered women. After moving to Toronto, Bernie made his mark with the Canadian Jewish Congress, where he worked on human relations issues for over 25 years serving the last seven years as its CEO.

At Congress, he was able to take his passion for community and social work to a broader stage, becoming a champion of inter-ethnic cooperation and social justice. Always one to fulfill his local responsibilities, however, Bernie has served on several local and provincial boards including as Chair of the North York Committee for Community Race and Ethnic Relations, the York Region Community Safety Committee and the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police.

He was appointed by the Attorney-General of Ontario to serve on the Hate Crimes Community Working Group and was awarded an Ontario certificate of merit by the Premier of Ontario for his work in Race Relations.

Bernie has also been awarded the Canadian 125 Medal by the Governor-General of Canada for his work in race relations, and has recently received the prestigious Meir Medical Center’s Medal of Honour for his human rights work in Canada and internationally.

Bernie has led numerous workshops on anti-discrimination issues; has been involved in training police, defence and crown attorneys on matters of hate crime, bias and inter-ethnic/faith sensitivities. An accomplished speaker and author he has written for numerous Canadian and international publications on human and civil rights including the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, National Post and a host of magazines and other publications.

Bernie has also appeared on television and radio both as a spokesperson for the Jewish community as well as an expert on anti-discrimination issues.

Entries by Bernie Farber

James Keegstra: The Death of an Antisemite

(1) Comments | Posted June 15, 2014 | 5:09 PM

James Keegstra is dead. Some might ask who was James Keegstra?

It was James Keegstra that defined for Canada the limits of our tolerance for intolerance. It was an epic battle that that began in a small Alberta town ending in the Supreme Court of Canada.

Keegstra was a high...

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How Canadian Jewry Got a Holocaust Monument

(0) Comments | Posted May 20, 2014 | 2:25 PM

Last week a design was confirmed for the remarkable Holocaust Monument to be erected in Ottawa in 2015.

In March 2011 Executive Director of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem, Yoram Ashkenazi and I on behalf of Canadian Jewish Congress had the great honour of representing...

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What's the Real Truth About Canada's Refugee System?

(1) Comments | Posted March 10, 2014 | 1:10 AM

Peter Kent's article "The Truth About Canada's Immigration System" published in the Huffington Post March 6, 2014, has left me quite shocked, beginning with the headline itself.

We have two very different systems according to the Canadian laws that persist even under the Harper government. One for...

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Canada Fails the Test of a Good Society

(6) Comments | Posted March 2, 2014 | 11:58 PM

In a recent press release, Citizenship and Immigration Canada made several troubling assertions about federal policies towards refugees.

First, the government claims "In 2011, there were approximately 6,300 asylum claims from EU countries -- more than from Africa or Asia."

So what? Human rights reports document

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Don't Be Too Quick To Praise John A. Macdonald

(41) Comments | Posted February 22, 2014 | 9:01 AM

Canadians love their heroes. Be it Guy Lafleur, Terry Fox, Tim Horton, or even Whipper Billy Watson (am I dating myself?) we have a strong need to pay tribute to those among us who have brought honour to this country. However when...

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Christmas by Any Other Name

(0) Comments | Posted December 27, 2013 | 11:06 AM

As the cold winter wind blows in from the north there are a few things that are inevitable. Snow has to be shovelled and the predictable war of words regarding the depiction of Christmas will be played out in newspapers across the country.

Who can forget the monumental foolishness of...

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Two Jews Reflect on the Meaning of Christmas in Canada

(6) Comments | Posted December 24, 2013 | 8:12 AM

Nothing more than Christmas speaks to a time when we all want to feel good about the world and ourselves. Brotherly/sisterly love, peace on earth, goodwill towards all is a refrain that moves us, Jew and non-Jew alike.

As Canadian Jews we have both embraced this time of the year...

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Even Today, Refugees in Canada Seek Sanctuary in Churches

(0) Comments | Posted December 11, 2013 | 4:25 PM

How is it possible that in Canada in 2013 "sanctuary," a medieval concept of Church protection, is still necessary? As we reflect on International Human Rights Day, commemorated on December 10, we must also contemplate the fact that desperate, stateless people have come here with a...

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I Will Never Forget What Nelson Mandela Said to Me

(2) Comments | Posted December 7, 2013 | 10:40 PM

It was June 1990, a hot summer day and one I have never forgotten. Only a few months earlier the iconic leader of the anti-apartheid movement, Nelson Mandela had been released from serving a 27-year jail sentence and was in the midst of a tour to Europe and...

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JFK Was Killed on My 12th Birthday, November 22, 1963

(0) Comments | Posted November 22, 2013 | 7:02 AM

It was an unusually warm day for late November, over 55F (we hadn't yet started using Celsius), sun was shining and I was anticipating a pretty good party to celebrate my 12th birthday. Yes no doubt about it, November 22, 1963 would be a good day.

It began like all...

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On Remembrance Day: Honouring a Hero of Juno Beach

(3) Comments | Posted November 10, 2013 | 9:59 PM

Soldiers were not alone in ensuring victory over the Nazis during the Second World War. Many unsung heroes instead of rifles carried stethoscopes, surgical equipment and medical supplies. Without the pluck of those doctors, medical aids, nurses and others, all part of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps...

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How Canada Committed Genocide Against the First Nations People

(160) Comments | Posted October 18, 2013 | 12:31 PM

On Monday October 14th Former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Phil Fontaine, Elder Fred Kelly a survivor of the genocide that was designed 'to kill the Indian in the child' and a living specimen of the nutritional experiments conducted in at least six residential schools between 1947-1952,...
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Reject Quebec's Charter of Intolerance

(8) Comments | Posted September 17, 2013 | 3:24 PM

How is it possible that in the 21st-century the largest province in Canada seems to have regressed to a point where its PQ government openly taunts us with laws that are on its face anti-democratic, discriminatory and reek of intolerance?

Quebec Premier, Pauline Marois, and the Partie Quebecois have put...

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JRAN: Standing Up For Human Dignity In Canada

(0) Comments | Posted July 8, 2013 | 11:07 AM

As a result of what many in the refugee advocacy community believe to be a time of social cruelty here in Canada, government policy in our country has turned its back on those from other lands who face mortal discrimination in trying to find a safe harbour in Canada.

Not...

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Making Sure Holocaust Survivors' Stories Get Told

(0) Comments | Posted May 27, 2013 | 3:51 PM

Memory is a powerful seducer. As I turned onto University Drive one recent evening, the entrance to my old alma mater Carleton University, where I was attending a dinner honouring memory and Holocaust survivors, recollections came flooding back.

As a son of a Holocaust survivor, I have...

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Why We Must Rescue the Canadian Jewish News

(9) Comments | Posted May 1, 2013 | 2:34 PM

The great Samuel Johnson poet and writer once opined that "the two offices of memory are collection and distribution." Indeed then newspapers are for many the official vehicle that both collect memory and distribute it such that we are all better informed.

This week much has been said and written...

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Justin's Right, Anne Frank Probably Would Have Been a 'Belieber'

(0) Comments | Posted April 22, 2013 | 5:00 PM

Last night, Justin Bieber won the 2013 "Fan's Choice Awards" at the Junos. No real surprise there given his immense, world-wide popularity.

More surprising to me, however, was Justin Bieber's decision while on his European "Believe" tour to make a very special visit to the home...

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You Don't Have to be Jewish or Liberal to Believe in Social Justice

(6) Comments | Posted April 10, 2013 | 8:27 AM

In a Huffington Post Blog submission last week, B'nai Brith Canada CEO Frank Dimant wrote:

There is already a movement that wants to neutralize Jewish support for the Conservative Party and the mantra is that all three parties have the same agenda regarding Israel, a two-state solution, so...
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A Sad Goodbye to Toronto's King of Smoked Meat

(0) Comments | Posted March 20, 2013 | 4:55 PM

Wolfie Zimmerman, the little known king of the Toronto smoked meat sandwich passed away a couple of weeks ago.

I will miss him. Very few deli owners had Wolfie's touch. Located in a utilitarian strip mall in Toronto's Jewish enclave just west of Bathurst on Sheppard Avenue, Wolfie's was...

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Why We Can No Longer Call Canada an Advocate for Human Rights

(73) Comments | Posted February 1, 2013 | 11:00 AM

With little fanfare, Canada was scolded last month by both the United Nations and Amnesty International over its human rights record. Yes you read this correctly -- Canada.

The two areas that attracted the most attention by the UN/ Amnesty International human rights experts were Canada's...

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