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

Farmers Market sees successful start to season

More vendors expected as veggies and fruit start to ripen

Gallery: Kid’s Bike Parade

Williams Lake bicycle festival carries into the weekend

Bicycle Festival pedals into Williams Lake

Plenty of activities - for bicyclers and non-bicyclers - through weekend

Tsilhqot’in community names officially recognized by Province

Tsilhqot’in names will now appear on provincial government resources, maps and databases

Indian Horse audiobook narrated by Williams Lake city councillor

Jason Ryll is the voice of Saul Indian Horse in a new audiobook

VIDEO: Grand Forks shores up defences as floodwaters rise to peak levels

Canadian Forces, volunteers working to protect low-lying areas

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

VIDEO: As floodwaters recede, crews assess the damage to Grand Forks’ downtown

More than four dozen firefighters and building inspectors came out to help

Wellington Dukes pull off epic upset of Wenatchee at RBC Cup

The Dukes are off to the championship game after downing the Wild 2-1 Saturday at Prospera Centre.

Canada to face U.S. for bronze at world hockey championship

Canada was looking to play in the gold medal game for a fourth straight year, but saw 3-2 loss

Searchers for Vancouver Island father turn focus to Cowichan River

Cowichan SAR joined by many other SAR groups, volunteers now determined to find missing man

Vacationers urged to check for stowaway bats that could carry deadly disease

‘White-nose syndrome’ has killed millions of bats in North America, but hasn’t arrived in B.C. yet

Are B.C.’s gas prices enough to keep you from travelling May long weekend?

Gas prices in B.C. ranging from 125 cents per litre to more than 150 cents

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle wed in Windsor as millions watch

Windsor sparkled on a warm spring day as tens of thousands of people jammed its quaint roads

Most Read