By Alvin Curling
The brutal, murderous death of George Floyd in the United States has given me cause to reflect:
How many times have similar tragedies occurred? How many marches have I taken part in to protest those tragedies? How many homes have I visited to comfort bereaved mothers, wives, partners, sons, daughters and friends who have died at the hands of police? How many people were sentenced to longer prison terms because they were Black?
We in Canada have lived in the shadow of our sister nation just south of us, the United States of America. We need to remember that the USA is a nation that built itself on the back of slaves.
Sadly, Canada’s history is not without guilt.
Both nations have exploited their Aborignal and Black people and in the process have built societies and Institutions entrenched with policies and regulations that are racist and discriminatory.
I believe there are sectors of Canada, that are systematically designed to maintain a racist agenda and efforts to change this have not been acted upon.
I came to this conclusion based on the fact that hundreds, if not thousands, of studies, reports, and deputations have resulted in an avalanche of sound recommendations that have been ignored over many years.
And yet some of Canada’s Premiers claim there is no systemic discrimination in their provinces.
I urge them to look into their prisons. I ask them to justify or explain in rational terms the longer sentences given to Blacks and Aboriginals for crimes similar to those committed by whites,
The death of George Floyd in the Minnesota was, in effect, a public lynching. It has been seen around the world, and the chickens are coming home to roost. They have actually been coming home almost daily for many years, but they have been ignored.
I get the sense that ignoring them will no longer work: I hope, pray and believe that George Floyd’s death has galvanized even many of my white brothers and sisters who are joining us in a call for real change, change that acknowledges that “Black Lives Matter”.
( Alvin Curling is a former Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario,)