Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s view that Canada does not have the same “systemic, deep roots” of racism that the United States received harsh criticism on Wednesday from a Toronto journalist and writer.
Ford, whose family label business operates in the U.S., said Tuesday that comparing Canada and the US racial issues are like “day and night,” and he hopes the US can straighten out the problem.
Kathleen Newman-Bremang called the comment “ridiculous.
“I think people think this is only an American problem, and not that,” he said in an interview with CBC Radio Metro Morning.
“Of course we are in two different countries and there are differences. But that doesn’t seem like ‘our problem’ and ‘their problem’,” he said. Newman-Bremang writes for online outlets Refining29.
Listen fully Metro Morning interview with Kathleen Newman-Bremang:
Ford’s comments came only days later thousands of people rallied against racism in the courtyard at Queen’s Park. The protest was sparked by the 29-year-old Regis Korchinski-Paquet’s death, which fell from the 24th floor balcony on High Park during interactions with the Toronto police. His family has questioned the circumstances of his death, and the Ontario police watchdog is currently investigating.
Newman-Bremang said that Ford’s statement did not appreciate the history of anti-black and anti-Indigenous racism in Canada.
“When you negate our experience and separate it from what happened in the U.S., you ignore the deaths of Regis Porchinski-Paquet and D’Andre Campbell. You ignore again that black people are disproportionately likely to be shot by the police,” she says.
Campbell first fatally shot by Peel police in April. His family said the 26-year-old man suffered from mental illness and there was no “threat” that would soon occur to police during the meeting. The Special Investigation Unit is also investigating his death.
Watch | Racism is a fundamental problem in Canada, University of Toronto professors say:
Ford outlined his comments at Queen’s Park on Wednesday, saying “of course” there is systemic racism in Ontario.
“There is systemic racism throughout this country. I know it exists … What I don’t know is the difficulties faced in these communities and many of us this room does not know the difficulties in that community,” he said.
“I have no experience of that life and I can empathize with them but again … many of us have never lived like that. We have never walked a mile in the shoes of someone who faces racism. And not only in the black community, many minority communities throughout Ontario and Canada’s history have faced racism and our government will not support it. “
In an article published on May 29 entitled “The Pandemic Of Black Trauma Will Never End, “Newman-Bremang writes that fear of being hurt or killed during interactions with the police seeps into the black communities in Canada and the US.
“We live with that reality every day and I think I am tired of trying to appeal to our humanity and explain to people that this is still happening in this country. I want to get through that conversation,” he told the emcee. Ismaila Alfa.
Part of his inspiration for the May 29 essay, Newman-Bremang said, seeing social media posts about “returning to normal” once the COVID-19 pandemic subsided.
“And I just thought that the feelings of hopelessness and frustration and trauma that I felt – that of my black brothers and sisters – that that’s normal, “he explained.
For many black communities, “normal” includes a line of seemingly relentless fears and tragedies, he added. So pervasive, that black parents who “talk” with their children are like “teaching your children to brush their teeth.”
The discussion, in this case, is an honest discussion about the potential for meetings with the police.
“My father told us to put our hands on the dashboard, to make sure they can see our hands at any time. There are no sudden movements, keep silent as much as possible. Say ‘yes sir’ or ‘yes ma’am’ and do everything that they tell you , “said Newman-Bremang.
“The conversation tells your children how not to die at the hands of the police.”
It is not normal if someone wants to return, he said.
Watch | Three black parents discuss ‘talking’ with their children
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