By Gerald V. Paul
The Caribbean/African Canadian community is hitting ‘carding’ where it hurts: in the pocket Book, to the tune of $65 million.
That the sum being sought in a class-action lawsuit filed against the Toronto Police Services Board and Chief of Police Bill Blair for the police’s carding programme, which the Black Action Defence Committee (BADC) claims is tantamount to racial profiling.
a) The action, which has not been certified or proven, is seeking $50 million for racial profiling (and carding), which is a violation of te Plaintiff (BADC’s) constitutional rights of the class of persons represented by the Plaintiff pursuant to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the “Charter”); and the Ontario Human Rights Code.
b) The suit claims that the defendants have breached sections 7, 9 and 15 of the Charter, which are the constitutional rights of the Plaintiff and any class members and all African-Canadians and other “colourful” minorities.
This is not the first time a racial profiling case has been brought against the police, as the late Charles Roach was successful in suing the Police.
“There has been talk of a class-action lawsuit on the issue for decades,” Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa, Barrister and Solicitor who is acting for BADC, told The Camera on Wednesday.
Dr, Hamalengwa, author of ‘The Politics of Judicial Diversity & Transformation’ – Canada, U.S.A., UK, South Africa, Israel, etc, Colonial and Post-Colonial World and International Tribunals.
Dr. Hamalengwa said that racial profiling has real human costs. It “violates human dignity by sending a message to a person that he or she is less worthy of consideration and respect as human being.”
According to Dr. Hamalengwa, “After many reports by academics, the media and court decisions, the police and board haven’t done anything to address this at all,” so the committee is hoping a class-action lawsuit will allow for a holistic, comprehensive judicial remedy “to carding and racial profiling.”
He stressed the Black community has now reached a point “where talking has been going on, not much has been happening, so it’s time for action.”