GENEVA, Nov 30 (LSN)  On Thursday and Friday an assembly of Canadian government officials met with Members of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to discuss Canada’s compliance with the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  The UN committee of “experts” demanded to know how Canada intended to fulfill its treaty obligations “since international human-rights treaties did not have automatic application in domestic law and since provincial Governments could not be forced by federal officials to adopt legislation reflecting such human-  rights standards.”  Demonstrating their distaste for the provincial autonomy enshrined in the Canadian constitution, the UN committee,  according to a UN report, asked “to what extent Canadian provinces as opposed to the federal Government, felt committed to the Covenant and to other international human-rights instruments. The report also said that the committee asked “to what extent in cases of conflict between the Covenant and Canadian domestic law, domestic law would prevail; why, in the five years since the Committee recommended it, there was still no reference to the Covenant in Canadian law; if courses would be offered in economic, social and cultural rights for police, judges, and other Government officials; and if there was a lack of Government publicity about or interest in domestic human-rights obligations, as a non-governmental organization charged.”  In response, Mark J. Moher, Ambassador and Alternative Permanent Representative of the Mission of Canada to the United Nations Office at Geneva revealed the Canadian governments responses to the treaty and added that the “Government understood that much remained to be done.”  Moher said that there is a “very strong commitment to the Covenant throughout the country, including in provincial Governments.” Moher also noted that there is a “standing committee on human rights representing all provincial Governments” that meets “annually to discuss compliance with international treaties.”  Further Moher pointed out that “the Government made sure the international standards involved were consistent with domestic law or that domestic law was adjusted to meet the standards.”  A most illuminating interlude occurred when the UN committee, in asking about provincial non-compliance with the UN Covenant,  wondered “how much control the federal Government had over use by the provinces of federal block grants,” implying that such federal grants may be used to force provinces to comply with UN demands.  The UN reports on the meeting with the Canadian officials can be found at:


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