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

Honouring Clayton Murrell and Joan MacKinnon

Family and friends pay tribute to prominent couple in joint celebration of life.

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

Construction begins at Dycar medical cannabis production facility

Facility will create around 200 full-time jobs once up and running

Lab results show foreign toxic substance in dog deaths

Steeples Veterinary Clinic warning dog owners to be careful in the Community Forest

Stetski holds town hall on pension reform

Conversation that includes NDP Pensions Critic reaches 4,675 households in Kootenay-Columbia.

WATCH: The week in review

A video recap of the top stories of the past week in Cranbrook

Novelmania: TM Roberts grade 6 students unveil published novels

Novel unveiling ceremony at TM Roberts’ library on Monday, February 19

WATCH: The week in review

A video recap of the top stories of the past week in Cranbrook

Virtue and Moir end ice dance careers with Olympic gold

Virtue and Moir’s gold medal win at the Olympics makes them the world’s most decorated figure skaters

Canadians find living in small spaces teaches creativity

Canadian families choosing to live in small spaces to bring closeness to children

NDP Health Minister calls to offer woman seat on Interior Health Board

Joyce Beddow-Buckland of Ashcroft was surprised by the call, and accepted the offer.

SAR suspends search for missing man at Sun Peaks

RCMP will continue to search for a missing man near Kamloops but SAR has suspended their role

Lottery will help save children’s lives

Each ticket gets you a chance to win a lot of money, while helping a lot of kids

Most Read