It’s wait and see for ban on carding


Lawyer Rocco Galati, left, and anti-carding activist Desmond Cole discuss the province’s plans to end carding across Ontario. Gerald V. Paul photo.
Lawyer Rocco Galati, left, and anti-carding activist Desmond Cole discuss the province’s plans to end carding across Ontario. Gerald V. Paul photo.
 Kingsley Gilliam

Kingsley Gilliam

Desmond Cole said yesterday that while the province’s position on ending carding appears significant, the community must keep diligently working on the issue.
‘I’m still in the process of reviewing the entire regulations. It a huge step forward. So far, the province’s position is a testament that our stories on carding / racial profiling are true,” he told The Camera. “But there are gaps we have to address.”
Black Action Defense Committee Director Kingsley Gilliam said of the draft regulations to ban carding “Another milestone in our journey to justice has been reached after a long-fought, ferocious battle with Toronto Police Services Board and the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, demanding that they make policy and regulations to ban the wide-spread police practice of racial profiling and carding.”
Gilliam said carding or street checks – random stops and questioning primarily of Black and brown skinned people for no just cause – is contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Ontario Human Rights Code.
It is akin to the apartheid system with pass laws used against Blacks and coloured people if they left their Bantu Stands, he said.
Prior to the province stepping in, after several years of fighting over the issue, the police board adopted a policy that would have severely restricted carding and would only allow it for community safety.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission noted then that “Despite our calls for tighter limits and better guidance, officer discretion to initiate and record community engagements (carding) remains broad. The previous board policy better clarified a ‘public safety purpose’ requiring police to have a strong justification for stopping and questioning people. The new policy and procedures do not. They must explicitly ban arbitrary stops.”
The rights commission said there was a gross over-representation of African Canadians issued contact cards under the category of “general investigation” since 2008.
Those contacts lacked a credible, non-discriminatory explanation for the retention of information from those stops, the commission said.

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