OTTAWA – The Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promises to address systemic racism ” informed by the lived experiences of racialized communities and Indigenous peoples.”
In the throne speech, read last week by Governor General Julie Payette to mark the reopening of Canada’s Parliament, the government notes that ” for too many Canadians, systemic racism is a lived reality.
” We know that racism did not take a pause during the pandemic. On the contrary, COVID-19 has hit racialized Canadians especially hard.
” Many people – especially Indigenous people, and Black and racialized Canadians – have raised their voices and stood up to demand change.
“They are telling us we must do more. The Government agrees.”
And it promises to ” redouble its efforts ” by:
— Taking action on online hate;
— Going further on economic empowerment for specific communities, and increasing diversity on procurement;
— Building a whole-of-federal-government approach around better collection of disaggregated data;
— Implementing an action plan to increase representation in hiring and appointments, and leadership development within the Public Service;
— And taking new steps to support the artistic and economic contributions of Black Canadian culture and heritage.
The government also promises legislation and money to address systemic inequities in all phases of the criminal justice system.
The commitments come amid mounting concerns about unfair treatment of Black and Indigenous people, who are overrepresented in courts and jails.
The throne speech promises action on issues ranging from sentencing and rehabilitation to improved civilian oversight of the RCMP and standards on police use of force.
The planned measures also include modern training for police and other law-enforcement agencies, as well as broader RCMP reforms that emphasize a shift toward community-led policing.
In addition, the Liberals promise to speed up work on a legislative framework for First Nations policing as an essential service, seen as crucial to ensuring safety in Indigenous communities.
“All Canadians must have the confidence that the justice system is there to protect them, not to harm them,” says the throne speech
“The government will take steps to ensure that the strong hand of criminal justice is used where it is needed to keep people safe, but not where it would be discriminatory or counterproductive.”