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

Nelson Greyhound cuts approved

Service will be reduced to two trips in each direction per week

Before the war, ‘a beautiful life’

Syrian refugee family moves to Nelson from Castlegar, Turkey and Damascus

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

BC BUDGET: NDP cracks down on speculators, hidden ownership

Foreign buyers’ tax extended to Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Vancouver Island

BC BUDGET: Payroll tax replaces medical premiums

Health spending to increase $1.5 billion for drugs, primary care teams

South Nelson sings ‘Wheat Kings’

Grade 4 and 5 students performed at Nelson city council

No whistles, no problem for deaf hockey player

Nelson’s Iain Love is set to compete at the Canada Deaf Games in Winnipeg

Castlegar Complex goes to referendum

Area-by-area voting will happen before summer

LETTER: International student left Nelson after just three weeks

‘I hope (she) has a better experience at her next school’

Reconciliation explored in play at LVR

Off-site presentation by the Capitol Theatre

Let the playoffs begin! Nelson Leafs host Grand Forks in Game 1 on Friday

The Leafs finished the season with the third best record in the KIJHL

COLUMN: What’s up with the low grad rates?

SD8 numbers are far below the provincial average

SS Moyie gets $113,000 boost from CBT

Funds will help upgrade historic sternwheeler

Fundraiser for Kootenay Co-op Radio

BBQ and blues at Finley’s

Most Read