Thousands of people gather for a peaceful protest in Vancouver, Friday, June 5, 2020 in solidarity with the George Floyd protests across the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Thousands of people gather for a peaceful protest in Vancouver, Friday, June 5, 2020 in solidarity with the George Floyd protests across the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Amid anti-racism protests, Trudeau promises to push police body cameras with premiers

Prime minister said everyone should be able to feel safe calling the police

Standing at the Rideau Cottage podium Monday (June 8) morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed to do more to fight systemic racism and police brutality in Canada.

The prime minister has said he watched with “horror and consternation” the police brutality and anti-Black racism in the US., but has been criticized for inaction north of the border. The Liberal government received a failing grade from advocates for its lack of action on the National Inquiry in Missing and Murdered Indigenous Woman and Girls, one year after its completion.

READ MORE: Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

READ MORE: Feds delay national action plan for missing and murdered Indigenous women

On Monday, Trudeau said he will propose equipping police with body-worn cameras to the country’s premiers this week. The prime minister said he discussed the issue with the federal RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki earlier this morning.

“The reality is that many people in this country simply do not feel protected by the police. In fact, they’re afraid of them,” Trudeau said.

The prime minister said Lucki promised “quick, solid action” on how Black Canadians and Indigenous Canadians are treated by police. Trudeau’s words come amid several high-profile, police-involved deaths and assaults.

On Thursday, Chantel Moore, an Indigenous woman, was killed by police during a wellness check in New Brunswick.

Last week, photos emerged of Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam’s bruised and bloody face as a result of an alleged RCMP assault. Adam said his arrest that he says began over expired vehicle registration tags and ended with him facing charges of resisting arrest and assaulting police.

In late May, the family of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a Black woman in Toronto, alleged the police were at fault after she fell from a 24th-floor apartment. Ontario’s police watchdog is investigating.

READ MORE: Indigenous woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

READ MORE: Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

READ MORE: Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Questioned about his attendance of an anti-racism rally in Ottawa where he was seen taking a knee, Trudeau said it was important for him to be there despite COVID-19 restrictions on mass gatherings.

“We are trying to balance very important competing interests,” he said of the balance between forbidding large gatherings amid fears of COVID-19 transmission, but still speaking out against racism.

At a later press conference, chief medical officer Dr. Theresa Tam said it was “unrealistic” for health officials to think people will not protest during a pandemic. Tam said people should assess their own personal risks, as well as wearing masks and using hand sanitizer.

“Public health will be watching very carefully for any increases in transmission because it is setting of risk,” she said. Protesters should monitor and contact their local public health officials if they are concerned about exposure.

However, although COVID-19 is an obvious public health issue, Tam said racism and inequality also affects people’s health.

“Racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism – all those manifestations of stigma and discrimination impact health.”

Tam said discrimination can affect people’s ability to get health care, the amount of violence a person suffers, and lead to chronic stress.

READ MORE: Protests shift to memorializing George Floyd amid push for change


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Policeracism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cariboo Art Beat artists Tiffany Jorgensen, left, Brittany Murphy, with her daughter Ruby, 3, and Sarah Sigurdson have created a Santa painting for photo opportunities that will be placed outside their studio on Oliver Street below Caribou Ski. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake artists create Santa painting for Christmas photo ops

Cariboo Art Beat hopes it will fill a void caused by COVID-19 restrictions

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
47 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

1,538 total cases, 399 are active, ten in hospital

The Bella Coola area also received a large dump of snow as seen here Friday, Nov. 27, but by the afternoon it had started to rain there. (submitted photo)
Update: More than 900 Bella Coola customers without power, expected to last overnight

Highway 20 remains closed between Anahim Lake and Bella Coola Friday, Nov. 27

More than 60 cm of snow has fallen at Ulkatcho First Nation since a snowfall warning went into effect Thursday, Nov. 26. (Ruby Squinas photo)
VIDEO: More than 60 cm of snowfall in Chilcotin since Thursday, Nov. 26

Graham West of Ulkatcho First Nation captures the scene on video

Newly elected Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson participated in a virtual oath ceremony with the BC Liberal Caucus on Friday, Nov. 27. Here he poses for a photograph with Kate Ryan-Lloyd, clerk of the legislature. (Screen image taken of YouTube live stream)
Cariboo Chilcotin MLA participates in BC Liberal Caucus virtual oath ceremony

First-time MLA Lorne Doerkson will represent the region

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

After twice have their wedding plans altered due to COVID-19 restrictions, Suzanne Schmidt and Andrew Sturgess got married in Bakerview Park last weekend, with the only guests being their two daughters, Zoey (foreground) and Tessa. (Darren Ripka photo)
From New Zealand to Bakerview Park, B.C. couple weds in ‘backyard’

Twice scaled-down wedding ‘proof that good things still happen during bad times’

Most Read