Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walks down the stairs to Question Period into the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Trudeau says anti-black racism exists in Canada

PM says time to recognize anti-black racism exists, work to ensure equality

Justin Trudeau says it’s time Canadians acknowledged that racism and unconscious bias against black people exist in this country.

And the prime minister says it’s time to take action to ensure equal opportunity and treatment of the more than one million black Canadians, including doing more to recruit and elect black members of Parliament.

Trudeau made the comments in a short speech at a reception marking Black History Month.

Two weeks ago, Trudeau announced that Canada is officially recognizing the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent, which emphasizes the need for research and data collection to better understand the challenges facing the black communities around the globe.

Trudeau says advocacy groups for black Canadians have complained about the over-representation of black individuals in prisons and about insufficient support for those with mental health issues.

And he says his government is committed to working with the black community to make progress on those and other challenges facing black Canadians.

“It’s time we recognize that anti-black racism and unconscious bias does exist,” Trudeau told the reception Monday.

“It’s time we hear — and believe — the stories of men and women who have been judged by the colour of their skin. It’s time we take action to ensure equal opportunity and equal treatment of black Canadians in our schools and our places of work.”

Moreover, he said it’s time the House of Commons — “the heart of our democracy” — looked more like the composition of Canadian society, with more black MPs.

“For too many people, anti-black racism, discrimination and inequality are part of their daily lives. This is unacceptable. Canada can and must do better,” Trudeau said.

The reception included songs, poetry and the unveiling of the latest two additions to the series of stamps Canada Post has produced to honour the achievements of black Canadians.

One of the new stamps features former Ontario lieutenant governor Lincoln Alexander, the first black Canadian to be elected to the House of Commons, appointed to the federal cabinet and named to a viceregal position.

The other features Kay Livingstone, the late activist who founded the Canadian Negro Women’s Association in the 1950s and the Congress of Black Women of Canada in 1975. In 2011, she was named a person of national historic significance by the federal government.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UPDATED: East Zeballos placed under evacuation alert as “out of control” wildfire approaches homes

BC Wildfire Service says rolling debris on steep terrain poses danger to firefighters

Heat and smoke raises health risks

Rick Stiebel - Sooke News Mirror Health risks arising from heat and… Continue reading

Victoria police seize over one kilo of fentanyl, guns and cars

Andrew Ritch is facing charges of drug trafficking and firearm offences

Student group seeks cap on international tuition fees

UVic increased international fees 20 per cent for 2018-19

New marijuana regulations questioned

A smokescreen for opposition to legal pot, say some critics

B.C. wildfires 2018: Hazy skies impacting crews in spotting new fires

18,000 people are on an evacuation alert, with 3,000 homes under an evacuation order

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

Court rules against City of Nanaimo, fire safety enforcement order denied

Supreme Court of B.C. initially made the order last month in Nanaimo

B.C. program to educate parents reduces ‘shaken baby syndrome’ by 35%

Period of PURPLE Crying was launched nearly a decade ago

Off duty fire chief douses suspicious fire while teaching son to drive

Sooke fire concerned over second suspicious bin fire this year

B.C. golfer, just 23, scores the rare albatross

Six-million-to-one shot a first for the Terrace club

Former Nanaimo CAO Tracy Samra now working for First Nation in Vancouver

Ex-city manager listed as Musqueam chief administrative officer, according to NEB filing

Independent Investivations Office looking into Sayward crash

An incident in which a vehicle under RCMP scrutiny crashed near Sayward… Continue reading

Fredericton widow swears at Trudeau during condolence call

Widow of man killed in Fredericton shooting says she swore at Trudeau during condolence call.

Most Read