A former head of the Canadian Jewish Congress says the violence experienced by Indigenous women fully meets the definition of genocide as set out by the United Nations.

The word has generated controversy in recent weeks after it appeared in the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Some politicians, such as Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, say they disagree with the term’s use in the report.

However, Bernie Farber says people need to perhaps look at the term genocide in a broader context than what they may have been used to in the past.

“Because I think when people think of the term genocide, they look at something drastic and immediate,” he says. “So, they think of the Holocaust during the Second World War, which was of course a horrible tragedy and unique in its scope without question – death camps and gas chambers. But that’s not all there is to genocide according to the United Nations.”

Farber says he believes if Canadians review the national inquiry’s final report alongside the UN’s definition, they will have no choice but to draw the conclusion that what Indigenous women have experienced constitutes a genocide.

“But I really urge people to take a breath, have a chance to read the UN definition of genocide through their own convention and I think people will see that in fact if we accept that, and Canada has, we really don’t have any choice.”

Farber is currently chair of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network.

(PHOTO: Canadian Anti-Hate Network Chair Bernie Farber. Photo courtesy Bernie Farber Facebook page.)