Trudeau reaffirms commitment to fight racism on anniversary of George Floyd’s murder

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reaffirmed his commitment to address anti-Black racism and injustice on Tuesday, as advocates around the world marked the one-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd.

Floyd a Black man, was killed in Minneapolis one year ago after then-officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for 9 1/2 minutes. Chauvin was later convicted of murder, while three other fired officers are awaiting their trials.

The incident set off a firestorm of protests around the world as demonstrators called for leaders to tackle systemic racism within law enforcement bodies, including in Canada.

“Mr. Floyd’s death was a tragedy,” Trudeau  said, speaking to reporters during a press conference.

“And it was a reminder that there are still too many people living with anti-Black racism and injustice, including here in Canada.”

He said the government has taken action after Canadians “marched to demand change” last summer, including establishing the Black Entrepreneurship Program and proposing to remove “ineffective” mandatory minimums from the Criminal Code.

“Our government is working with Black communities across the country to make sure nobody is left behind,” he said.

“We will continue to take real action to fight systemic racism and create more opportunities for Black Canadians, and for everyone.”

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh also weighed in on the anniversary of Floyd’s murder on Tuesday.

“At the time, what we witnessed collectively was one of the most brutal, widely-shared capturing of a Black man being killed by police,” Singh said.

“We weren’t insulated in Canada — we saw that police were responsible for the deaths of Canadians, in Canada, as well.”

Singh added that while Trudeau knelt with the protesters, he does not think the prime minister has taken enough action in the year since.

“The material conditions for Indigenous, or Black, or racialized people has not changed. Their experiences when it comes to the police has not changed,” Singh said.

“A year later, after that horrible incident spurred so much positive action and activism, demanding for justice, demanding that this end, Justin Trudeau failed to do that. And I want to note that, that that is wrong,” Singh said.

“There needs to be action.”