Pearson Centre for Progressive Policy

Pearson Centre for Progressive Policy

April 01, 2016 16:00 ET

Irwin Cotler Urges Action on Unresolved Justice Issues: Indigenous Rights & International Prisoners of Conscience

Calls on PM to Restore Public Consultation for Supreme Court Appointment

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 1, 2016) -

Editors Note: There is a photo associated with this press release.

Last night, The Pearson Centre for Progressive Policy launched The Pursuing Justice Project with a gala celebrating the life's work of Hon. Irwin Cotler. Leaders from law, business and government, came to the Omni King Edward Hotel to hear the former Justice Minister of Canada discuss pursuing justice with former journalist Indira Naidoo-Harris, MPP, Halton. The evening was a tremendous success and raised crucial funds for The Pearson Centre and The Pursuing Justice Project.

"The purpose of The Pursuing Justice Project is to improve Canadians' understanding of justice, diversity and inclusion through public discussions," explained Andrew Cardozo, Executive Director, The Pearson Centre. "Irwin explained that to pursue justice, one must 'feel the injustice,' which I think gave our guests new understanding of justice."

In conversation with Naidoo-Harris, Cotler outlined his vision for a progressive and democratic justice agenda, guided by an overarching principle of equality. "We have to make the pursuit of justice, of human rights, not just a priority, but a matter of principle," asserted Cotler. "In kind, the focus of the justice agenda must be to protect the vulnerable."

Cotler emphasized the revolutionary impact of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and spoke to the importance of parliament in the process of pursuing justice. "In government, we are first and foremost parliamentarians, we are trustees of public good," asserted Cotler.

Cotler, who introduced an open system of consultation for Supreme Court judges in 2004 when he was Justice Minister, said, "Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should restore the open system which the Harper government had dropped. "

In a review of the multi-dimensional, ongoing crisis with Aboriginal issues, Cotler exemplified the importance of acknowledging painful pasts with a Jewish proverb, "If you do not know what hurts me, you can't know why you love me."

In an age of anti-terrorism initiatives, Cotler discussed balancing human and civil rights and the ongoing challenges of pursuing justice for all in the volatile Middle East. Cotler welcomed Canada's return to the world stage and used the Rwandan Genocide to stress "the dangers of inaction in the face of injustice."

As a centrist think-tank, The Pearson Centre invited legal, business, government and community leaders from across Ontario. "Public policy discussion from a centrist perspective is essential in these economically challenging times," said Sandra Pupatello, Event Co-Chair, The Pearson Centre. "The how is as critical as the what and requires cross-industry and party collaboration," Pupatello explained.

The Pearson formed in 2013 and this is their second event this year. The Pearson Centre will be hosting a series of discussions and panels for The Pursuing Justice Project that will result in papers with public policy recommendations for government. To become involved in The Pursuing Justice Project please visit www.thepearsoncentre.ca.

About The Pearson Centre for Progressive Policy

Founded in 2013, The Pearson Centre is Canada's forum for thoughtful, centrist debate and dialogue. They aim to build understanding amongst Canadians through substantive, evidenced-based dialogue and foster policy that balances economic success and social responsibility.

Please visit www.thepearsoncentre.ca for more information.

To view the photo associated with this press release, please visit the following link: www.marketwire.com/library/20160401-cotlernaidooharris800.jpg.

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