Letter to M. Sylvain Brousseau and Mr. Tim Guest
November 17, 2022
Mr. Sylvain Brosseau
President, Canadian Nurses Association
Mr. Tim Guest,
Chief Executive Officer
1554 Carling Avenue, Suite M209
Ottawa ON K1Z 7M4
Dear M. Brosseau and Mr. Guest;
I am writing to express the significant concern of the Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation over the scheduled appearance of Mr. Desmond Cole at the Canadian Nurses Association Second Annual Summit on Racism in Nursing and Health.
The CNA may not be aware of some of the remarks that Mr. Cole has made in the past at other organizations, such as the Toronto District School Board, in which Mr. Cole ventured his personal views on the geopolitical conflicts in the Middle East. These views would be, in our estimation, highly problematic and offensive to most of the Jewish membership of the CNA and, we presume, likely not representative of the CNA's mandate or values.
Specifically, we would like to draw your attention to the following articles from the Canadian Jewish community press, as well as a press release from the Canadian Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies.:
FSWC Demands Accountability from TDSB After Conference Keynote Speaker Goes on Anti-Israel Tirade (friendsofsimonwiesenthalcenter.com)
At the CAEF, we wholeheartedly support the CNA's efforts to confront racism in Canadian society, and hope it will include combating antisemitism as Jews are the most frequently targeted group for hate crimes. It is not our place to give your organization instructions on whom to invite to speak at your national event.
We merely wish to provide you with information so that CNA can make informed decisions about this event, and the potential repercussions to Jewish and other members of the CNA with personal connections to Israel.
Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation
Response from Mr. Tim Guest
Thank you for the correspondence to CNA and your interest in the work we are doing. I am sorry for the delay in responding as I was on vacation and am trying to get caught up on a significant amount of email. We appreciate you taking the time to write to us about this important matter. I wanted to assure you that we understand where you are coming from and to affirm that CNA does not share these views and we do not endorse any acts that promote hatred, racism, discrimination, and antisemitism.
I appreciate you making us aware of this information, as we weren’t aware of this issue, and I appreciate you for bringing this to our attention. Anti-racism and the fight against discrimination is an important pillar of CNA’s work. Our National Summit on Racism in Nursing and Health Care, now going into its second edition, will focus on increasing awareness of racism that occurs within healthcare and in nursing, so that through meaningful discussions, we as a country can tackle historic injustices and build a better world. The Summit also focuses on providing an opportunity for nurses and nursing organizations to report on actions taken since the first summit and their plans going forward.
Thank you again for taking the time to write to us and providing us with this information.