By Stephen Weir
The Caribbean community came out in force a week ago Tuesday to a media conference at the Different Booklist Cultural Centre on Bathurst St. Liberal MP Adam Vaughan was there to announce a new Federal Government programme specifically targeted to help Black Canadians.
Although few media covered the hastily called press conference, community leaders learned that the Federal Government has budgeted $25 million over the next five years for projects and capital assistance to Canada’s vibrant Black Canadian communities.
“Our government is committed to fostering and promoting a Canada where every person is able to fully and equally participate in our country’s economic, cultural, social and political life, “said Vaughan, MP for the Spadina-Fort York riding. “The initiatives announced today are a step in the right direction towards ensuring that we celebrate, share knowledge and build capacity in the Black Canadian communities across the country.”
According to Mr. Vaughan the Government is committed to advancing diversity and taking positive measures to ensure all Canadians have a fair and equal chance at success. “The Government of Canada is supporting initiatives that recognize the contributions of Black Canadians and acknowledge the significant and unique challenges in their communities.”
In recognition of the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent, the Feds are adding the money to the national budget. While there is now money in the 2019-2020 budget, since this is an election year, ongoing support of the project is very much dependent on which party wins the fall election.
This Government’s support will help stakeholders to create the first national institute for Black Canadians. The Canadian Institute for People of African Descent will work to advance initiatives that impact Black Canadians at a systemic level.
“I found it a very interesting media conference” said community activist Louis March (zerogunviolence.movement) minutes after the media event ended. “He (Adam Vaughan) took questions from the audience. I asked him if the Province and the City would be involved. Adam answered No, at least not for now.”
According to briefing notes supplied by the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Tuesday’s announcement in Toronto comes as a result of meetings held with almost 40 stakeholder organizations within Canada’s Black communities. Groups that took part in those sessions said they support the creation of a national institute dedicated to looking at issues that affect Black communities.