Lawyer who called for elimination of citizenship tests named to bench

I thought the right-wing press might notice Avvy Go’s appointment. Will be interesting to see how she manages the transition from a very public activist to being a more discrete judge:

A Toronto legal activist who questioned the need for immigrants to take immigration citizenship tests and said the COVID-19 pandemic has created an increase in racism in Canada, has been appointed a federal judge.

Blacklock’s Reporter said Avvy Yao-Yao Go has also lamented the “shameful history” of Canada’s first Prime Minister, John A. Macdonald.

Go had been director of a Toronto law clinic that criticized Canadians for “anti-China sentiment and white supremacy.”

Go described herself in a 2020 commentary in the Globe & Mail as a lawyer “fighting for social justice” and cohesion.

“The past several years of turmoil both in the United States and Canada have taught us our democracy is fragile and that structured racism, if left unchecked, poses a serious risk to social cohesion,” wrote Go.

Attorney General David Lametti appointed Go to the bench on Friday saying he was confident she will “serve Canadians well.”

Go was director of the Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic of Toronto. The federally-funded group in a June 1, 2020 submission to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights complained of widespread racism in Canada.

“In contrast to the image of Canada as multicultural and welcoming, many Canadians have been emboldened to use the pandemic as a license to exhibit hate and racism,” said the submission to the UN.

“Moreover, since the outbreak of the pandemic, anti-Asian hate speech has proliferated on social media platforms fueled by right-wing extremists who are using the pandemic as an opportunity to stir up racist ideologies.

“The collision of conspiracy theories, anti-China sentiment and white supremacy has rendered dangerous results, including the movement of racist theories and messaging from the fringe to the mainstream.”

The group earlier received a $301,904 grant from the Canadian Heritage department.

“While the Prime Minister has remarked that ‘hate, violence and discrimination have no place in Canada’ and his government stands with ‘Asian-Canadians across the country,’ his government has failed to take any concrete steps to address the surge of hateful violence and messaging that has arisen during the pandemic,” said the report.

Meanwhile, Go in numerous commentaries and letters to editors criticized Canadians’ treatment of racial issues and proposed abolishing the citizenship test as a “hollow screening” of immigrants.

“The moment I became a true Canadian was the very moment when I began to challenge the Canadian system,” the Hong Kong-born Go wrote in 1998.

In a 2014 commentary in the Toronto Star, Go lamented the “shameful history” of Macdonald, “architect of racist law” that saw Canadians “forced to live in nightmarish conditions while Macdonald pursued his dream to unite Canada.”

“Given the stark human rights record under his belt, why should Canadians celebrate John A. Macdonald’s birthday?” wrote Go.

In a 2013 letter to the Globe, the judge wrote: “The term ‘visible minority’ is fraught with issues, the key one being it uses ‘white’ as a standard against which everyone else is measured.”

“As we prepare to mark Canada Day, Ottawa must admit past wrongs particularly against Chinese-Canadians,” she wrote Toronto Star editors in 2003.

Go was one of thirteen new federal appointees named to the bench Friday.

Source: Lawyer who called for elimination of citizenship tests named to bench

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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