Trump Fans the Flames of a Racial Fire

Hard to disagree:

When it comes to race, Mr. Trump plays with fire like no other president in a century. While others who occupied the White House at times skirted close to or even over the line, finding ways to appeal to the resentments of white Americans with subtle and not-so-subtle appeals, none of them in modern times fanned the flames as overtly, relentlessly and even eagerly as Mr. Trump.

His attack on the Democratic congresswomen came on the same day his administration was threatening mass roundups of immigrants living in the country illegally. And it came just days after he hosted some of the most incendiary right-wing voices on the internet at the White House and vowed to find another way to count citizens separately from noncitizens despite a Supreme Court ruling that blocked him from adding a question to the once-a-decade census.

Republican lawmakers, by and large, did not rush to the president’s side on Sunday either, but neither did they jump forward to denounce him. Deeply uncomfortable as many Republicans are with Mr. Trump’s racially infused politics, they worry about offending the base voters who cheer on the president as a truth-teller taking on the tyranny of political correctness.

Only in the evening did Mr. Trump respond to the furor, saying that Democrats were standing up for colleagues who “speak so badly of our Country” and “whenever confronted” call adversaries “RACIST.”

At that point, Tim Murtaugh, a campaign spokesman for Mr. Trump, responded to a request for comment, saying, “The president pointed out that many Democrats say terrible things about this country, which in reality is the greatest nation on Earth.” He did not explain why Mr. Trump told American-born lawmakers to “go back” to countries they were not from.

Other presidents have played racial politics or indulged in stereotypes. Secret tapes of Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon show them routinely making virulently racist statements behind closed doors. Mr. Nixon’s Southern strategy was said to be aimed at disenchanted whites. Ronald Reagan was accused of coded racial appeals for talking so much about “welfare queens.” George Bush and his supporters highlighted the case of a furloughed African-American murderer named Willie Horton. Bill Clinton was accused of a racial play for criticizing a black hip-hop star.

But there were limits, even a generation ago, and most modern presidents preached racial unity over division. Mr. Johnson, of course, pushed through the most sweeping civil rights legislation in American history. Mr. Bush signed a civil-rights bill and denounced David Duke, the Ku Klux Klan leader, when he ran for governor of Louisiana as a Republican. His son, George W. Bush, made a point of visiting a mosque just days after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to emphasize that America was not at war with Muslims. Barack Obama invited an African-American Harvard professor and the white police officer who mistakenly arrested him for a “beer summit.”

Mr. Trump’s history on race has been well documented, from his days as a developer settling a Justice Department lawsuit over discrimination in renting apartments to his public agitation during the Central Park Five case in New York. Jack O’Donnell, the former president of Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, later wrote that Mr. Trump openly disparaged others based on race, complaining, for example, that he did not want black men managing his money.

“Trump has not only always been a racist, but anyone around him who denies it, is lying,” Mr. O’Donnell said on Sunday. “Donald Trump makes racist comments all the time. Once you know him, he speaks his mind about race very openly.”

Mr. Trump, he said, regularly trafficked in racial stereotypes — Jews were good with money, blacks were lazy, Puerto Ricans dressed badly. “White people are Americans to Trump; everyone else is from somewhere else,” Mr. O’Donnell said. “He simply denies the reality of how we all immigrated to the United States.”

Mr. Trump propelled his way to the White House in part by promoting the false “birther” conspiracy theory that Mr. Obama was actually born in Africa, not Hawaii. He opened his presidential bid in 2015 with an attack on Mexican “rapists” coming across the border (although “some, I assume, are good people”) and later called for a ban on all Muslims entering the United States. He said an American-born judge of Mexican heritage could not be fair to him because of his ethnic background.

As president, he complained during meetings that became public that Haitian immigrants “all have AIDS” and said African visitors would never “go back to their huts.” He disparaged Haiti and some African nations with a vulgarity and said instead of immigrants from there, the United States should accept more from Norway. He said there were “very fine people on both sides” of a rally to save a Confederate monument that turned deadly in Charlottesville, Va., although he also condemned the neo-Nazis there.

He is only saying what others believe but are too afraid to say, he insists. And each time the flames roar and Mr. Trump tosses a little more accelerant on top. The fire may be hot, but that’s the way he likes it.

Detroit music festival removes race-based ticket prices

Sensible retraction. Better way is lower rates for students, youth and senior discounts etc:

A local music festival in Detroit has moved away from ticket prices based on race after drawing international attention when a rapper pulled out of the show over the price discrepancy.

The organizers behind Afrofuture Fest announced on their Eventbrite listing last week that tickets for people of colour would cost $20 US. Tickets for “non-people of colour,” however, were priced at $40 US.

Afrofuture Fest, which is scheduled to take place Aug. 3-4, describes itself as as a home for arts and healing, advertising a “day parade, drum circle and bonfire.” It’s put on by Afrofuture Youth, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping young people create a more equitable world.

“Our ticket structure was built to [ensure] that the most marginalized communities (people of colour) are provided with an equitable chance at enjoying events in their own community (Black Detroit),” organizers had posted on Eventbrite.

The pricing has since been changed but debate over the plan, which sparked both outrage and support, continued into the weekend.

The explanation from organizers went on to argue that “people outside of the community” benefit most “from affordable ticket prices because of their proximity to wealth.”

“This cycle disproportionately displaces black and brown people from enjoying entertainment in their own communities.”

Afrofuture Festival advertised a different price scale for tickets based on race, prompting both outrage and support for the idea. The tiered pricing existed for both early bird and regular tickets before the change.

The original ticketing idea prompted a Detroit-based rapper — who is of mixed race — to pull out of the event.

“My grandmother and her husband, they both had a big influence on me,” said Tiny Jag, whose real name is Jillian Graham. “Even my first mixtape is named after my grandmother who would have been charged double to come support me.”

Eventbrite said festival organizers were violating a rule and would unpublish the event if changes weren’t made to the pricing structure.

“We do not permit events that require attendees to pay different prices based on their protected characteristics such as race or ethnicity,” Eventbrite told CBC News in a statement Sunday.

CBC News reached out to event organizers on Sunday afternoon, but has not heard back.

Tiny Jag said she has received a combination of support and hostility for her decision.

While some people lauded the musician for taking a stand, others accused her of misunderstanding the point they believe organizers were trying to make.

The music festival offered an explanation for the race-based discrepancy in tickets on its Eventbrite page.

“Gawd this is embarrassing,” Ijeoma Oluo, author of the New York Times bestseller So You Want To Talk About Race, posted on Twitter regarding the rapper’s comments.

“My white mom would be proud to pay more because she understands the history of economic exploitation of black folk in this country to benefit whiteness & she wants a better future for black folk, including her black kids.”

At the same time, A U.K-based rapper, who goes under the stage name Zuby, commended Tiny Jag for withdrawing and criticized the festival in a series of tweets, telling organizers: “You’ve become the very racists you claim to stand against.”

“I think it’s offensive regardless of what angle you look at it,” Zuby, whose full name is Zuby Udezue, told CBC News in a phone interview Sunday.

“As someone who is black, the idea that I’m going to be charged less money for something because the assumption is, ‘oh, this person is not white so therefore, they are poor and can’t afford this,’ that is racism itself.”

He added not everyone in Detroit who is below the poverty level is black.

“If the intention were to make it more accessible to people who are not financially well off, you could just lower the ticket price,” he said.

‘We have options’

And that’s just what the event decided to do.

The festival is now charging a general admission price of $20 US, with an option for a “Non-POC suggested donation.”

Tiny Jag says she supports the goals of Afrofuture organizers, but not the means. Since she went public with her decision not to perform, she says she has also received support from groups she would never support, such as white supremacists. She’s also been told music festival organizers were receiving threatening calls, which wasn’t her intent.

“I’m not supporting any supremacy, that’s the whole point of this,” she said. “We have options as a race … We have options to get ourselves in a better place.”

Source: Detroit music festival removes race-based ticket prices

New office will tackle racism in federal institutions as part of $45M national plan

Too busy at the International Metropolis this week to take a closer look to see whether or not it has the potential to have more impact than the post Durban conference Canadian Action Plan Against Racism (CAPAR) whose only meaningful result was the collection of hate crimes statistics:

The federal government unveiled its first-ever anti-racism strategy in Toronto today, which will see the creation of an office that will oversee efforts to tackle systemic racism and discrimination in federal institutions.

Speaking at a community centre in the city, Heritage and Multiculturalism Minister Pablo Rodriguez unveiled the $45-million, three-year strategy, called “Building a Foundation for Change.”

The strategy’s centrepiece is a $4.6 million anti-racism secretariat that will lead federal efforts in tackling the issue, reporting annually on the federal government’s process — or lack thereof — in addressing racism and discrimination.

The new office will ultimately lead efforts to get federal institutions to identify gaps and co-ordinate initiatives meant to address systemic discrimination, pushing the bureaucracy to better consider the impacts of policies, services and programs on racialized and Indigenous communities.

As well, $5 million will go to community-led digital and civic literacy programming to address online disinformation and hate speech in response to “heightened concerns around online hate.”

The strategy also provides $30 million worth of grant funding for community-based projects, with a focus on improving employment outcomes, public participation, and supporting at-risk youth. The application process will start on Sept. 3.

Another $3.3 million will also go toward a national public education campaign to increase public awareness of the historical roots of racism in Canada and the impact it has had on racialized and religious minority communities, as well as on Indigenous peoples.

The strategy, announced ahead of October’s vote, is being pitched as a “first step” in a longer-term commitment in addressing racism and discrimination in Canada.

“Our government recognizes that we are in a unique position to address racism in our institutions and society. This national anti-racism strategy is an essential first step in building a more inclusive country,” Rodriguez said in a statement.

BACKGROUNDER: Budget 2019: New anti-racism strategy unveiled in budget

Between October 2018 and March 2019, the Department of Canadian Heritage held 22 closed-door consultations across Canada on the creation of a new strategy, as well as hosting an online questionnaire for all Canadians to provide comments.

The strategy’s release today comes after Independent MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes recently said qualified Black Canadians are being passed over for promotions to senior positions within the public service.

As a final act in the House, she tabled a private members’ bill last week that would require the Canadian Human Rights Commission to specifically report annually on federal efforts to promote Black Canadians and other visible minorities to more senior positions within the public service.

Caesar-Chavannes, who is not running for re-election, told the Canadian Press that there has been a “thinning out” of visible minorities at the assistant-deputy-minister level and no Black person has ever been appointed as a federal deputy minister.

A recent survey of nine countries also found Canadian visible minorities are 11 per cent more likely to face discrimination in hiring than their American counterparts.

Researchers at Northwestern University looked at more than 200,000 job applications, and broke down the results by race, to see whether minority candidates with similar qualifications to white ones got as many callbacks. Canada was the third-worst country examined in the study, which also looked at the U.K., Sweden, Germany, France and the U.S.

Today’s strategy also provides working definitions for Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s wording for the latter term. The strategy also includes $6.2 million to improve data collection on race and ethnicity.

In 2018, the Liberal government set aside $19 million as a “first step” towards recognizing the challenges faced by Black Canadians and focus on Black youth and enhancing mental health supports for the Black community.

Meanwhile, the 2019 budget acknowledged “ultra-nationalist” movements have emerged across the world and such groups are “unfairly targeting new Canadians, racialized individuals and religious minorities.”

According to Statistics Canada, police-reported hate crimes motivated by religion, race, or ethnicity, increased by 47 per cent in 2017.

Source: New office will tackle racism in federal institutions as part of $45M national plan

Australia: ‘You don’t belong here’: A Muslim MP on racism in politics

Of note:

It’s true what they say. Some Australians would rather have our prime minister than theirs. They looked across the Tasman after the March 15 terror attack in Christchurch and saw what Australian politician Mehreen Faruqi​ calls “authentic, compassionate leadership”.

Faruqi is a Green Party senator for New South Wales. In 2013, she became the first Muslim woman ever elected to an Australian parliament. When March 15 happened, shock and devastation were followed by mourning, because it all seemed very close to home. It could so easily have happened there. Faruqi remembers her first speech in the senate was about the normalisation and legitimisation of hate, and the people it was hurting.

“I felt it very close to my heart when Jacinda Ardern said, ‘You belong here’,” Faruqi says. “That’s what we were waiting to hear from many people. What we’ve always heard is, ‘You don’t belong here, get out of my country’.”

Born in Pakistan, Faruqi moved to Australia 27 years ago. It is home for her, she stresses. It is where she studied, where her children grew up. But she has seen the mood worsen since the early 1990s. Muslims became an obvious target after 2001, and Muslim women seem to bear a disproportionate amount of the abuse. It is a “toxic mix of sexism and racism” that manifests for Faruqi as online bullying and harassment, hate mail and abusive phone calls.

“I’ve had my face photoshopped onto Isis flags,” she wrote in the Guardian in February. “I’m now used to the tabloid media amplifying lies about me and other Muslims for clickbait.”

“It doesn’t matter what I say or do,” she says. “It could be something I’ve said in support of public education, women’s rights or animal welfare, but it always ends up being about my race or where I come from or what I look like. It seems that for some I’ll never be Australian enough.”

​Faruqi came to Christchurch to pay respects and show solidarity with those affected by the mosque attacks before heading to Auckland for a conference on racism on Friday, organised by Shakti Community Council. Other participants include Green MP Golriz Ghahraman​, whose experience of being targeted by online trolls “is very similar to mine and other women of colour in public life”.

Faruqi is looking forward to comparing notes with Ghahraman. As far as overcoming racism goes, she agrees that there is more Australia can learn from New Zealand than the reverse. A lack of diversity is a major problem in Australian politics.

“Our parliaments don’t actually look like our streets or suburbs. Politicians often highlight that we are one of the most multicultural countries in the world but our representation should be reflective of that multiculturalism.”

Another problem she notices is a lack of understanding of the diversity of Muslim communities. There is a lazy assumption that Islam is not compatible with the freedoms of liberal democracy. It is the clash of civilisations theory – see all the Right-wing agitators warning about Sharia law.

“As a Muslim, I grew up with strong values of social justice, kindness, compassion and equality for all,” she says. “Those values brought me into politics and a party like the Greens. I’ve never been shy as a Muslim of talking about rights for LGBTQI people. I brought the first bill in the history of New South Wales to decriminalise abortion.

“There is a very negative stereotype of what Muslims are and what they look like. Often we are presented as ‘the Muslim community’, like a monolith. We are as wild and wonderful as any other community.”

Source: ‘You don’t belong here’: A Muslim MP on racism in politics

UK: How a radical new form of anti-racism can save Labour

Valid approach that applies more broadly that antisemitism/anti-Zionism. But hard to implement as it requires some compartmentalization:

An announcement by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) that it is launching a formal investigation into antisemitism in the Labour party is one more sign that the controversy cannot be addressed by internal procedures alone. Was it ever solvable through the party’s own efforts? There was a time when I thought it might be.

Even before Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour party in September 2015, there was deep disquiet in sections of the British Jewish community about what was perceived as his tolerance for Islamist terrorist groups. Following his election, repeated instances of antisemitic comments in the burgeoning Corbynite grassroots further stoked alarm. The attempted coup against Corbyn’s leadership in June 2016 deepened the problem, with non-Corbynite Jewish party members (and those within the Jewish Labour Movement in particular) becoming the focus of anger from some who supported Corbyn’s transformation of the party.

There has been no shortage of efforts to address this situation. There was the Chakrabarti inquiry in June 2016 and repeated statements by Corbyn and others condemning antisemitism. There have been meetings, both confidential and announced, between Jewish communal leaders and the Labour leadership. There have been rule changes and bureaucratic restructuring intended to improve the party’s disciplinary procedures.

For years I’ve been advocating dialogue as a way to address the crisis generated by antisemitism within Labour. For a long time my working assumption was that hardcore, unrepentant, unredeemable antisemites in the party were a tiny minority, but there was a much bigger group that fell into antisemitic language occasionally or out of ignorance. The first group could not be dialogued out of existence – only expelled – but the larger group might be open to education. What was crucial was to engage those Corbynites who had no history of antisemitism and might be able to exert influence on others. I did have some hope that, through hard work and trust-building, it might be possible to reach some kind of understanding between those who lead the Labour party and Jews concerned about antisemitism.

Not only has nothing worked, but efforts to fix things have themselves deepened the controversy. Meetings between Corbyn and Jewish community leaders have been tenseand incomprehending affairs. Institutional investigations and reforms are either seen as a whitewash from the Jewish side (as with the Chakrabarti report) or as an unacceptable compromise with them (as in the 2018 adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism by the Labour party national executive committee).

Now, with Jewish support for Labour dropping like a stone and accusations that the party is institutionally antisemitic, antisemitism in the party has not gone away and the political dispute over it is worse than ever. There is no reason to think that the EHRC will end the dispute, whatever its findings – things are just too far gone for that.

So what next? There is a way back, but it’s going to take a radical rethinking of what anti-racism means.

We got into this mess in the first place because sections of the left have never been able to reconcile themselves to the fact that the majority of British Jews are Zionists in some shape or form, either self-identifying as such or supporting the principle of Israel as a Jewish state. That fundamental bewilderment, that sense that Jews should know better, has been combined with a love of that significant minority of Jews who are not Zionists. Groups such as the Corbyn-supporting Jewish Voice for Labour, which is largely made up of Jews who reject Zionism, tacitly encourage the sentiment: “Why can’t all Jews be like that?”

Given that the divisions between Jewish Zionists and anti-Zionists are very much out in the open, it is all too easy to pick and choose the Jews one listens to and to damn the rest.

I am not one of those Jews who would argue that members of Jewish Voice for Labour are not really Jews and should be shunned by non-Jews. But there is no way around the fact that, intentionally or unintentionally, they encourage the fantasy that all you need to do to oppose antisemitism is to draw close to those Jews with whom you are in sympathy. This fantasy has exposed under-discussed questions about how anti-racism should express solidarity with minorities who are subjected to racism: what happens when those minorities, or significant sections of them, hold to politics with which you don’t agree? And what happens when those minorities treat those politics as non-negotiable parts of their identity?

Too often, anti-racism on sections of the left is predicated on wilful ignorance about what the victims of racism actually believe. Jews have a way of forcing the issue: our overwhelming (but by no means total) embrace of Zionism has been so public that it cannot be avoided. This has presented a quandary to those who see themselves as supporters of the Palestinians: how can the victims of racism be racists themselves? The way out of that has sometimes been to deny that Jews today constitute a group that can suffer racism at all (other than perhaps at the hand of good old-fashioned Nazis); we have been subsumed into white privilege. The result has been that progressive movements increasingly find it difficult to include Jews who do not renounce Zionism, as the controversy surrounding antisemitism in the Women’s March in the US has shown.

The only way out of this impasse is to recast anti-racist solidarity so that it is completely decoupled from political solidarity. Anti-racism must become unconditional, absolute, and not requiring reciprocity. Anti-racism must be explicitly understood as fighting for the right of minorities to pursue their own political agendas, even if they are abhorrent to you. Anti-racism requires being scrupulous in how one talks or acts around those one might politically despise.

This isn’t just an issue that applies to Jews and antisemitism. We are beginning to see the strains in other forms of anti-racism too, when minorities start becoming politically awkward. The opposition from some British Muslim groups to teaching LGBT issues in school is one example of this. Yet opposition to Islamophobia is as vital as opposition to homophobia and one must not be sacrificed on the altar of the other.

The anti-racism that I suggest is a kind of self-sacrifice. Anti-racists must acknowledge but restrain how they really feel about those who must be defended against racism. Doing so involves a constant balancing act: supporting the right for Zionist Jews to live free from abuse and harassment while, at the same time, fighting for the right of Palestinians to live free from oppression. Creating that balance involves teeth-gritting; choosing not to pursue the most unbridled forms of political warfare when it involves ethno-religious minorities such as Jews.

It sounds like a horrible, frustrating and maddening process. But who said that anti-racism was going to be easy? Well, it isn’t easy and the fantasy that it is got us into this predicament in the first place.

This, then, is what a solution to the Labour party antisemitism crisis will have to look like, now that dialogue and conflict resolution have proved to be dead ends: an acknowledgment from the anti-Zionist left that anti-racist solidarity with those seen as despicable Zionist Jews must be unconditional. This is what I call “sullen solidarity” – and it is the most powerful form of solidarity there is.

Paradoxically, the first step in cultivating this sullen solidarity should be restraining love for those Jews with whom one is most in sympathy. The Labour leadership needs to stop its repeated expressions of support for particular Jewish traditions; its Passover messages about social justice and its invocations of the battle of Cable Street. As a leftwing Israel-critical Jew, I myself honour and respect some of the traditions with which Corbyn empathises, but I don’t need my way of being Jewish to be validated by anyone. Anti-racism should not be a reward for being culturally interesting or politically sympathetic; it should require no justification.

I am totally uninterested in whether the Labour leadership like Jews or what sort of Jews they like. I care only that they will refrain from expressing love for certain kinds of Jews and distrust of others, and that they will defend all of us from antisemitism, however unlikable they might find us.

Source: How a radical new form of anti-racism can save Labour

Pollsters point to rising public racism, Quebec seats to explain Liberals’ U-turn on refugees

More takes on the change in approach:

The Liberal government’s move to toughen up the refugee system is a signal to voters that fairness is the party’s priority when it comes to foreigners entering the country, says a former Liberal insider, and it could be part of an attempt to outmanoeuvre the Bloc Québécois, or win over ex-Liberal voters who don’t want more people of colour in Canada, say pollsters.

The government wants to send a message to Canadians that migrants who cross the border between official points of entry to make a refugee claim will be treated the same as those who make a claim at a recognized entry point, said John Delacourt, a vice-president at Ensight Canada and former director of communications in the Liberal Research Bureau.

“That is the line I think that ultimately resonates here. ‘There will be no privileged treatment; it will be fair for everybody,’” said Mr. Delacourt.

Thus far, would-be refugees have been able to exploit a loophole in Canada’s international commitments, and make a claim for refugee status after crossing the border between official points of entry from the United States, while those who try to claim status at official border crossings are generally immediately rejected under the Safe Third Country Agreement with the U.S., which says a person seeking refugee protection has to do it at the first safe country they reach.

The government has been defending itself from near-constant criticism from the Conservative opposition for the past two years over its handling of the loophole, and the flow of thousands of migrants into Canada because of it. Those migrants have been given security, health, and safety checks by Canadian officials, then allowed to proceed into Canada’s urban centres to pursue a refugee claim.

Statistics from the Immigration and Refugee Board show that 38,646 claims were made by “irregular” border crossers between February 2017 and December 2018. Only 9,330 have been dealt with so far by the IRB, which has accepted a little less than half of them as valid claims, while the other half were rejected, withdrawn, or abandoned.

The government stick-handled the issue for nearly two years without major changes to the policy or legal framework, but changed tack with its 2019 budget last month and budget implementation bill earlier this month, which will block asylum seekers from making a refugee claim in Canada if they have already had a claim rejected in another country that Canada deems safe, including the U.S., a practice Border Security Minister Bill Blair (Scarborough Southwest, Ont.) called “asylum shopping.”

The 2019 budget described the change as an effort to “better manage, discourage, and prevent irregular migration.” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Papineau, Que.) told reporters April 10 that his government wants to ensure Canadians have “confidence in our asylum system, our refugee system” when asked about the changes. He said the change to government policy was a response to an increase in refugee claimants caused by global instability.

The government has also moved to renegotiate the Safe Third Country Agreement with the U.S. Canada wants to change the pact to close the loophole surrounding claims at non-official points of entry.

Mr. Trudeau’s government made international headlines in 2015 when it agreed to welcome 25,000 Syrians fleeing war in their country within a span of months. The sudden influx of border-crossers from the United States, however—many of them originating in Haiti and Nigeria—has put his government on the defensive over refugee policy since early 2017.

Canadian attitudes toward migrants have shifted dramatically over the past few years, said pollster Frank Graves, the president of Ekos Research.

“What we’re seeing in the public is that the attitudes to immigration, and particularly to things like visible-minority immigration, are becoming incredibly polarized in ways that they were not in the past,” he said.

“Attitudes toward immigration broadly, which includes refugees and asylum seekers, is now becoming a sorting variable…which is frankly kind of unprecedented in Canadian political history. We don’t usually make ballot-booth decisions on the basis of immigration policy.”

Mr. Graves said Ekos has done analysis that suggested to him that Liberal policies on refugees and immigrants had driven people who voted Liberal in 2015 to begin supporting the Conservative Party—specifically some non-university-educated, working-class males who believe “too many” of the immigrants who come to Canada are visible minorities.

“That view is shifting voters in ways that it never has before,” he said.

Nearly 40 per cent of respondents to an Ekos telephone poll of 1,045 Canadian adults between April 3 and 11 said that “too many” of the immigrants coming to Canada were visible minorities. Just shy of 43 per cent said an “about right” share of immigrants were visible minorities, while 11.5 per cent said “too few.”

Former Liberal immigration minister John McCallum reacted to Mr. Graves’ polling figures on Twitter April 13, writing, “Such a dangerous shift from when I was managing Syrian refugees and challenge was we couldn’t bring them in fast enough to satisfy sponsors. Only 3 years ago!”

Of those who said “too many” immigrants were racialized people, nearly 69 per cent identified as Conservative supporters, versus 15.2 per cent for the Liberal Party, and 27 per cent for the NDP. The margin for error for the poll itself was plus or minus three percentage points, 19 times out of 20, but the margins of error for the party-identification figures for that specific question were higher—between seven and 14 per cent—because the sample size shrinks when respondents are divided into smaller groups.

Some Canadians have been waiting years for their parents or grandparents to be allowed to come to Canada through the immigration system, but Canadians often conflate refugee and immigration issues, though they are considered as separate streams of migrants by the government, said Mr. Delacourt, who also worked as a staffer in the office of former Liberal immigration minister Joe Volpe in the early 2000s.

“They’re very different streams, and anybody who actually has a strong sense of policy in this area will tell you, ‘That’s mixing apples and oranges,’ in terms of the priorities and planning. But to Canadians, the optics … people do not see individual streams here. They see a strain on resources,” Mr. Delacourt said.

Border Security Minister Bill Blair has said the government’s move to block asylum seekers from making a refugee claim in Canada if they have already had a claim rejected in another country that Canada deems safe is meant to stop ‘asylum shopping.’ The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

“I think part of the government’s course correction on this is about addressing this larger perspective on what’s ultimately fair. Of course, they’re not going to sacrifice what’s fair for individuals who are coming across, case by case. Of course everyone is going to get all the protection one deserves. But by the same token, there is this real concern that the optics of irregular migration creating a strain on resources. It’s not where a government going into an election campaign is going to think it’s a good idea,” said Mr. Delacourt.

The Liberals are likely worried about damage done by the spread of false information or misinformation about their work on the refugee file during the upcoming campaign, said Mr. Delacourt, pointing to a September report by the Canadian International Council that said there was “mounting evidence” of Russian troll accounts on social media spreading disinformation about positions on asylum seekers and refugees in Canadian politics.

The Liberal decision to get tougher on refugee policy could also be motivated by expected battles with the Bloc Québécois in smaller towns, cities, and rural areas in Quebec in the upcoming election, said pollster Greg Lyle, the president of Innovative Research.

More than half of Canadian adults surveyed in an Innovative poll in September said the government was “not aggressive enough” in its approach to immigrants crossing into Canada illegally, while six per cent said it was being “too aggressive,” 26 per cent said it was “acting appropriately,” and 15 per cent said they didn’t know.

The online poll surveyed 2,410 adult Canadians who were part of online research panels between Sept. 27 and Oct. 1. Online polls are not considered truly random, so a margin of error for the poll can’t be calculated.

Forty per cent of Liberal Party supporters said the government was not being aggressive enough on that issue, according to the poll, and 57 per cent of respondents in Quebec. “That, to me, is the big deal,” said Mr. Lyle.

More than 70 per cent of those surveyed said that “the issue of immigrants who are crossing into Canada illegally right now” was a serious problem, including 65 per cent of Liberal supporters, and 81 per cent of respondents in Quebec.

The Bloc Québécois is doing well in the regions of the province, said Mr. Lyle, and will differentiate itself from the Grits by opposing oil and gas pipelines, and contrasting its position with the Liberal government’s purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline. The Bloc will also likely take a more “nationalist” approach to immigration policy, he said.

“It’s a very critical area for the Liberals to do well in. Moving on the migrant issue…shuts down that vulnerability.”

Source: Pollsters point to rising public racism, Quebec seats to explain Liberals …

In Australia, Anti-Immigrant Racism Is Everywhere

While we often, in immigration and citizenship policy, compare ourselves with Australia, the political culture and overall dynamics are quite different, even if we also see mainstream Canadian politicians flirting with the far right or presenting their positions in a somewhat xenophobic manner:

Words from a vile manifesto, written by an Australian, have been floating around the internet following the New Zealand terrorist attack that saw 49 people killed at mosques during Friday prayers.

It calls Islam a “savage belief” and the “religious equivalent of fascism.” “Worldwide, Muslims are killing people in the name of their faith on an industrial scale,” it reads. “The entire religion of Islam is simply the violent ideology of a sixth century despot masquerading as a religious leader, which justifies endless war against anyone who opposes it and calls for the murder of unbelievers and apostates.”

But it wasn’t written by the alleged shooter, Australian citizen Brenton Tarrant. It was written by an Australian politician.

Sen. Fraser Anning also tweeted, even before Friday’s death toll was public, “Does anyone still dispute the link between Muslim immigration and violence?” That link is Fraser Anning, and people like him.

Anning—the Aussie Steve King, perhaps—is a now-independent senator who is too racist even for the extremely racist party that elected him. Elected in 2017 as a One Nation party replacement candidate (after “free speech” crusader Malcolm Roberts was caught up in the citizenship debacle), Anning chose to sit as an independent, then opted to join another fringe party, until he was kicked out of that one too, for his infamous speech calling for a “final solution” to the Muslim immigration problem.

His latest comments have been roundly condemned by everyone in Australian politics—by the prime minister, the recent ex–prime minister, the soon-to-be prime minister. Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted that Anning’s comments were “disgusting” and “have no place in Australia, let alone the Australian Parliament.”

Anning and Tarrant may be extremists, but they are extreme representatives and undeniable products of a racist Australian culture—one that is at best quietly tolerated and at worst wildly stoked by politicians, not to mention a Rupert Murdoch–fueled mass media. Whether it’s demonizing asylum-seekers, demonizing African youths, demonizing Indigenous Australians, or demonizing Muslims, racism is insidious in the mainstream culture.

Note that while Anning’s 2018 final solution speech was condemned, he wasn’t removed from Parliament over it. A man who made an approving Hitler reference remains an Australian senator, a tacit endorsement of his bigotry. Politicians are falling over themselves to condemn Anning now, amid another open show of racism, but there seems to be no rush to condemn the dog whistle kind going on in the media every single day.

The alt-right has a strong presence Down Under, inviting figures like Milo Yiannopoulos to speak and holding fascist rallies—one of which Anning defended attending earlier this year. (Anning was also expected to address a meeting of neo-Nazis with Hitler fan Blair Cottrell later this weekend.) It’s alive and thriving online, a community that Tarrant was reportedly a part of. This report dives into one of the favorite memes of the Australian far right, one recently used by Tarrant both on the forum 8chan and on Twitter. It shows a highly stereotypical Aussie bloke, wearing Outback get-up, brandishing the bottle of a popular Aussie beer, with the caption “hold still while I glass you.” The same meme is frequently used by the Dingoes, an online group known for anti-Semitic views. Lest you think this is a murky subculture, a onetime Labor Party leader has appeared on the Dingoes’ podcast. That leader, Mark Latham, is now a One Nation candidate.

Latham, admittedly, has fallen far in the years he has been out of politics. But this excellent tweet thread from Guardian columnist Jason Wilson, who covers the far right, chronicles the horrific racism even mainstream figures have engaged in. “Remember when the Australian Senate almost passed a literal white nationalist meme?” he tweeted. “Remember all the free media Milo and Lauren Southern got? Remember ‘African Gangs’? Remember ‘white farmers’? Remember the Soros conspiracy theories during the SSM referendum?”

I don’t speak for all Aussies when I say I was not surprised to learn the shooter in the mosque attack was an Australian—but I do speak for many. Tarrant may have been radicalized online, but he was emboldened by the words surrounding him on national platforms, by right-wing commentators writing in major newspapers that a “tidal wave of immigrants sweeps away our national identity” (this from one of the most well-known “journalists” in Australia). His article was called “The Foreign Invasion.” Tarrant’s manifesto is called “The Great Replacement.”

Other parts of Tarrant’s manifesto echo words by other public figures. Australia, you may recall, is not in Europe, but Tarrant refers to himself as European and treats Australia as an outpost of Europe. One recent former prime minister seems a little obsessed with Australia being part of “the Anglosphere,” while Anning was ultimately kicked out of his second party for continuing to distinguish between “European” and “non-European” migration.

The nationality of the other suspects has not yet been revealed, so it’s hard to speculate on any extent to which New Zealand’s own alt-right was involved. I often tell Americans that New Zealand is Australia’s Canada, a better, more progressive version of Australia with a reputation as a welcoming place. The relationship between white and indigenous New Zealanders is much better than that of many colonial societies, but it still leaves a lot to be desired. Ironically, the National Front, a far-right group with only about 1,000 members, is said to have been influenced by the Canadian alt-right—the Lauren Southerns and Stefan Molyneuxes and Jordan Petersons—to adopt a “pseudo-academia, clean-cut appearances.” New Zealand journalist Paula Penfold spoke to i24 on Friday, saying that while New Zealand is not known for hate crimes or mass violence, “there has been knowledge of white supremacy in Christchurch for some decades now. We’ve never seen violence like this, but there is a sense now that this is a situation that has been building.”

As Joshua Keating noted Friday, “New Zealand has had one of the fastest-growing immigration populations among developed countries in recent years, much of it from Asia. This has led to at least some political backlash, with [Winston] Peters’ New Zealand First party calling for immigration restrictions and accused of fomenting racism. Police clashed with right-wing nationalists who rallied outside the Parliament in Wellington in 2017.”

The world is again in shock, but it’s no surprise that Tarrant was Australian. After all, as he wrote in his manifesto, he was a “regular white man from a regular family.” So true.

Source: In Australia, Anti-Immigrant Racism Is Everywhere

Passed over, bullied, mistaken for janitorial staff. Black women sue Ontario public service alleging systemic racism

A case to watch:

Two Black women employed by the Ontario public service (OPS) are suing their unions and the provincial government, alleging they suffered years of systemic racism and discrimination while their complaints were ignored, disbelieved or met with reprisals — and ultimately led to them being suspended or forced from the workplace.

In a statement of claim filed Feb. 25 with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Jean-Marie Dixon and Hentrose Nelson accuse the provincial government of allowing an organizational culture that “fosters racism, dysfunction, discrimination, harassment, racial bullying, and abuse of authority/power.”

“Anti-Black racism, and racism in general, along with white privilege and white supremacy, are pervasive and entrenched within the OPS,” they allege, referring to the government workforce of more than 65,000 public servants employed by ministries, agencies and Crown corporations. (According to a glossary in their lawsuit, they define white supremacy as a “racist belief that white people are superior,” which is “ever-present in our institutional and cultural assumptions” and confers structural advantages to white people.)

They further allege that despite ongoing efforts to seek help from senior management, “Black and racialized employees, particularly Black women, continue to be subjected to individual, systemic, and institutional racial discrimination and racial harassment.”

Their unions, meanwhile, have failed to adequately represent them because they are influenced by the same “culture of systemic and institutional anti-Black racism,” according to their statement of claim.

Dixon and Nelson’s legal action comes one year after they organized a meetingbetween several OPS employees and government officials that triggered a temporary halt on the suspension of racialized employees — a moratorium that was quietly lifted in July.

Their lawsuit also intends to challenge the way these kinds of allegations are handled in Canada. Many of their claims relate to issues covered by their collective bargaining agreements, but the “law is designed to keep these sorts of disputes … out of the courts and sent instead to expert labour and human rights tribunals,” says David Doorey, a labour and employment law professor with York University who is not involved with the lawsuit.

But Dixon and Nelson allege their many attempts to seek justice — including through their unions, internal workplace processes and the human rights tribunal — have been “ineffective” so their “only viable recourse” is through the courts.

“It’s been very, very traumatic,” Dixon said in an interview. “When you’ve worked so hard, as I’ve worked — I put myself through school, I got here on my own and on my own merit. And someone can take that from you.”

“No dollar amount could fix the irreparable damage,” Nelson said. “I think about how my life has been altered; I can’t get it back.”

The lawsuit’s allegations have not been tested in court and the respondents — the provincial government, Association of Law Officers of the Crown (ALOC), and Association of Management, Administrative and Professional Crown Employees (AMAPCEO) — have yet to file statements of defence.

When reached by the Star, government spokesperson Craig Sumi with the cabinet office declined to comment on a matter subject to legal action but said “ending system (sic) racism” is a top priority.

“While the organization has made a lot of progress, we continue to hear that OPS programs and policies are not addressing the concerns of racialized employees, particularly Indigenous and Black employees,” Sumi said in an email. “The organization is committed to working with our employee networks to make significant progress toward building a more diverse, inclusive workplace where everyone feels comfortable and welcome and is able to fully contribute.”

Both unions named in the lawsuit said they take discrimination complaints “very seriously” and will continue to represent Dixon and Nelson, who remain members. But ALOC “strongly denies” allegations that it discriminated against Dixon and “will defend itself before the courts,” president Megan Peck wrote in an email.

“In representing Ms. Dixon, ALOC has always acted, and will continue to act in accordance with its legal responsibilities, which include the duty to represent Ms. Dixon without discrimination,” Peck said.

A spokesperson for AMAPCEO, Anthony Schein, declined to comment on Nelson’s case but said as a policy matter, the union’s view is that the OPS “continues to struggle with systemic discrimination.”

“For decades, AMAPCEO has been advocating for the OPS employer to end systemic discrimination within the OPS and promote equity in our members’ workplaces,” he wrote. “To this end, AMAPCEO ably responds to individual members’ situations through our dispute resolution process. We also push the employer to address systemic issues.”

In their 113-page statement of claim, Dixon and Nelson allege a pattern of anti-Black racism and harassment that followed them across departments and persisted throughout their public service careers.

Dixon and Nelson, both in their 40s, joined the OPS in 2002 and 2004, respectively. Dixon is a single mom and lawyer with the Ministry of the Attorney General whose office deals with seized property stemming from illegal activity. Nelson, a married mother of three, most recently worked for the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, where at one point she was “the only Black employee in an administrative role,” she writes in her claim.

Both women allege the racism they experienced took many forms, everything from bullying and micro-aggressions to racist comments, including from a white female manager who said she “feared” Black women and a colleague who complained about the “face” of the office changing after racialized women were newly hired.

Despite being diligent employees, they were denied professional opportunities, over-scrutinized and subjected to “anti-Black stereotypes and tropes,” according to their claim. Nelson, whose most senior role involved financial reporting and budget management, alleges she was once mistaken for janitorial staff and routinely given “office housework” that wasn’t assigned to non-Black staff — for example, cleaning a dirty basement storage room, or ordering taxi chits and monitoring print supplies, “while a white woman, junior to Hentrose, assumed more meaningful responsibilities.”

Dixon alleges she was also treated with unnecessary suspicion (for example, she was not trusted to maintain custody of valuable credit cards that had been seized for a case she was working on) and “unwarrantedly” labelled as “loud,” “rude” and “aggressive.” At one point, according to her claim, another Black lawyer told Dixon her office colleagues were “organizing or orchestrating acts of discrimination and harassment against her” and told him to “participate in marginalizing Jean-Marie or he would receive the same negative treatment.”

Both women sought help from managers, filed complaints with an internal workplace discrimination program, and grieved through their unions. But according to the claim, none of these measures were effective and speaking up only made matters worse.

Nelson alleges that “as a result of anti-Black racism,” she was demoted to a junior position in 2015 and ultimately forced from the workplace by “mobbing, harassment, discrimination, hostility and ongoing mistreatment.” According to her claim, she also became critically ill in 2011 and delivered her baby prematurely at six months.

Dixon alleges her complaints of anti-Black racism were interpreted as “reverse racism” against Caucasian people and caused her displacement across four ministries. According to her claim, managers eventually “engaged in reprisal” by initiating a workplace complaint against her on behalf of staff who “made false allegations” about her conduct — a complaint that led to her suspension in 2016.

Neither have since returned to work. Nelson is currently on an unpaid leave of absence and Dixon, despite being reinstated in October 2017, says she has been unable to return to work due to a workplace-induced disability. She is still being paid, however.

Both women allege they are now suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, loss of income and other harms, and are seeking $26 million in damages, along with several public interest remedies.

When reached by email, their lawyer Ranjan Agarwal with the firm Bennett Jones, declined to comment on active litigation.

In recent years, OPS leadership has acknowledged the equity challenges within its own ranks, where racialized workers comprise 23 per cent of the workforce but only 17 per cent of directors, 12 per cent of assistant or associate deputy ministers, and 9 per cent of deputy ministers, according to a 2017 “diversity and inclusion” report. “To create an equitable OPS, we need to recognize that there are systemic racism barriers that prevent people from reaching their full potential,” the OPS stated in its anti-racism policy, released last year under then-secretary of cabinet Steve Orsini, who retired in January.

The anti-racism policy found that 23 per cent of Indigenous employees and 25 per cent of Black employees reported experiencing discrimination, compared to just 13 per cent of the general OPS population. Employee survey results have pointed to systemic issues as well and in 2017, Black employees reported discrimination at nearly twice the rate of OPS employees generally. Last year, according to more than 3,600 survey respondents, race was the leading cause of discrimination next to age.

A Star analysis of data obtained through freedom of information legislation also shows that provincial ministries were named in at least 136 complaints filed with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario between mid-2008 and 2017, where someone alleged employment discrimination based on race, ancestry, colour, ethnic origin or place of origin. These accounted for roughly a quarter of all employment-related human rights complaints filed against the Ontario government during this time period.

Black employees have been particularly vocal in raising concerns through various forums, including town hall meetings organized by the Black Ontario Public Service Employees Network. On Jan. 18, 2018, more than 20 Black employees, including Dixon and Nelson, also confronted government officials face-to-face, including Liberal MPP Michael Coteau, who was then leading Ontario’s anti-racism directorate.

During the emotional meeting, the group of mostly Black women described experiencing racism on the job and being systematically passed over for opportunities. They said their concerns were ignored or mishandled by senior managers and, in many cases, led to their own suspensions or firings.

“These people that are putting us through this … none of them are ever demoted. We are fired,” one woman said in a video of the meeting posted online. “There’s a lot of Black people in the same position as I am, where they have ambition and they want to be promoted, and they’re not promoted at the same levels as our white counterparts.”

At the meeting, the group demanded a moratorium on the suspension of racialized employees — which was publicly announced the following day by Orsini. Behind the scenes, his office also emailed government ministries to request a list of cases where “someone we presume to be a racialized employee is suspended or off work,” according to internal documents obtained through a freedom of information request. About a week later, 52 cases had been identified.

Sumi said the moratorium allowed the government’s Public Service Commission to “assess the scope of the issue” while providing a central mechanism to assess new cases involving possible suspensions. It was formally lifted on July 27, 2018 after the government completed its review, he said.

In their statement of claim, Dixon and Nelson point to numerous reports, surveys and investigations that suggest the government’s efforts to address systemic racism within the OPS have “proven futile.”

Among them is a confidential 2017 report leaked to the Star, which described a “toxic” work culture within the Ministry of the Attorney General’s civil law division, where Dixon’s office is based. According to Leslie Macleod, a lawyer and former bureaucrat hired by the government to conduct the report, racialized staff within the division reported being marginalized, over-scrutinized, and “perceived and treated as less able than their white counterparts.”

Some racialized staff were told they “got in” because of their race and people felt “unsafe and targeted by colleagues and insufficiently supported by management,” Macleod found. Racialized women felt particularly disadvantaged, she added.

“It was said that when racialized women do get good files, there is an undercurrent of ‘why is she getting good files?’ — something that is not questioned when a senior white male is assigned a high profile case,” Macleod wrote.

In November, the government also publicly released an external review of the government’s workplace discrimination and harassment prevention (WDHP) policy and program “through an anti-racism lens.”

The program is meant to resolve cases of workplace discrimination within the OPS but in their statement of claim, Dixon and Nelson — both of whom launched WDHP complaints — criticized such internal processes as “ineffective in addressing racism.” Lawyer Arlene Huggins, who was hired to conduct the external review, said the government triggered the probe because of its “strong perception” the WDHP program was actually “exacerbating or perpetuating the challenges” of employees struggling with racism.

For her final report, Huggins examined 72 cases and related files; she also chose 13 cases for closer examination, which primarily involved Black women with “significant years of service.” She said employees reported several issues, including WDHP advisers who did not seem to understand the program, lacked training in unconscious bias and anti-Black racism, or pressured employees into excluding important details from their complaints. Some people said they were “yelled at, interrogated and treated like a criminal,” according to Huggins’ report.

Employees also described negative experiences that were “particular to them being Black women,” Huggins wrote; for example, labelled “argumentative, difficult and unco-operative” when they articulated career goals, accused of playing the race card when they complained about unfair treatment, and perceived as ineffective managers.

The WDHP policy does not apply to systemic barriers, yet those barriers played a “material role” in these WDHP complaints, Huggins concluded. Participants she interviewed complained of an “inherent and unconscious bias and anti-Black (or anti-racialized) animus.”

“One complainant with almost 20 years experience reported 58 unsuccessful (job) competitions since 2008,” she said.

In their lawsuit, Dixon and Nelson write that the provincial government is one of Canada’s largest employers, “entrusted with extraordinary power and influence that affect and impact the lives of all Ontarians,” so its actions are particularly consequential.

“Racism is a public health emergency,” they write. “But based on the actual and lived experiences of Black people, there is much skepticism about the commitment or ability of current institutions to address systemic and structural anti-Black racism in Canada.”

Source: Passed over, bullied, mistaken for janitorial staff. Black women sue Ontario public service alleging systemic racism

Black RCMP officers say they endured racism ‘on a regular basis’

Not a new issue:

Current and former black RCMP officers say they’ve regularly endured racist treatment from their colleagues and are calling for Canada’s national police force to improve its treatment of visible minorities.

Alain Babineau, who retired from the RCMP in 2016 after a 27-year career and now lives in Ottawa, told Radio-Canada one of his bosses nicknamed him “black man,” and that racial slurs were common.

“The word n–ger was used on a regular basis,” he said.

One example he shared occurred in Quebec City in 2008 at the Sommet de la francophonie, a meeting of representatives from French-speaking nations.

“There were a lot of African countries visiting Quebec City, and a group of RCMP members were talking about their VIPs from Africa and using the N-word and making jokes and so on,” he said.

“I told them, ‘First of all, I’m extremely offended by what you’re saying. And, number two, these are our clients.

“Of course [they said], ‘We’re just joking around’ … their jokes are not always the funniest.”

‘I had so much pride for the RCMP’

Radio-Canada spoke to other black RCMP officers, including two who agreed to speak anonymously because they fear reprisals from their employer.

CBC and Radio-Canada have agreed not to name them or say where they work.

“Over the years, members have called me ‘black bastard,’ ‘uneducated black man’ and again recently ‘n–ger,'” one officer said.

He added that after working in several communities across Canada for over 15 years, he’s tired of the racist treatment.

“I had so much pride for the RCMP,” he said. “Now, if someone asks me what I do, I say I work for the government.”

The other officer said he wished his colleagues would stand up to defend him, but the RCMP workplace culture is not friendly to people who complain about racism.

“I heard the word ‘n–ger’ more often in the RCMP than in the general public,” the officer said.

While CBC and Radio-Canada have chosen not to disclose the details of these incidents to protect the officers’ identities, the events have been corroborated with documents and witnesses have confirmed what happened.

Other officers who had agreed to talk to Radio-Canada changed their minds at the last minute.

Allegations ‘deeply troubling,’ RCMP says

In a statement to Radio-Canada, the RCMP called the allegations of racism “deeply troubling” and said all forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

Both the RCMP and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said they’re taking steps to address the situation.

The police force said it routinely uses what’s known as “gender-based analysis plus,” or GBA+, to “assess how men, women and gender-diverse people experience policies, programs and initiatives.”

“The ‘plus’ in GBA+ acknowledges that this analysis goes beyond biological sex and gender differences and also examines the impact of other identity factors such as race, ethnicity, religion, age and mental or physical disabilities,” the RCMP said.

Watchdog board created

Goodale’s office brought up a new interim civilian watchdog board his government created for the RCMP to help rid it of bullying and harassment.

Its members will be named by April 1, and Goodale’s office said it’s aiming “to appoint members who represent the diversity of Canadians.”

The officers who spoke to Radio-Canada want the RCMP to do an in-depth study of visible minorities in the RCMP, citing a recent Ottawa police diversity audit as one example of something the RCMP could adapt.

The RCMP declined to comment on whether it would take a similar step.

In 2015, the RCMP’s then commissioner admitted there were racists in the force.

“I understand that there are racists in my police force. I don’t want them to be in my police force,” Bob Paulson told a group of First Nations leaders.

Visible minorities underrepresented in RCMP

Babineau now works as a volunteer adviser for the Montreal-based Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations.

He said, while he believes individual acts of direct racism have decreased in the RCMP over the years, systemic racism is still a problem.

Visible minorities, excluding Indigenous people, make up 22 per cent of Canada’s general population, according to the 2016 census — but only 11 per cent of the RCMP’s workforce as of 2018.

In this sense, the RCMP is more representative than the typical Canadian police force. In 2016, the most recent year this national data was available, eight per cent of all Canadian police officers were visible minorities.

However, while there are now more women and visible minorities in the RCMP’s leadership, visible minorities remain absent from the three highest ranks.

“There are now many women in the highest ranks of the RCMP. That’s a good thing,” Babineau said. “The same thing should be happening for racialized people.”

Source: Black RCMP officers say they endured racism ‘on a regular basis’

MP says feds stall promise to act on anti-black racism one year after Trudeau pledge

Money was in the 2018 budget so it appears the issue is more with respect to implementation. Given the previous hollowing out of the multiculturalism program and the time needed to rebuild capacity, not that surprising expect perhaps to MPs and stakeholders:

Federal efforts to address systemic issues affecting black Canadians appear to have stalled one year after the prime minister made it an issue, says the head of Parliament’s black caucus as he put words to simmering frustrations with the slow pace of change.

It was a year ago that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for action to ensure equal opportunity and treatment for the more than one million black Canadians to address the “very real and unique challenges that black Canadians face,” including anti-black racism.

The cross-party caucus chairman, Greg Fergus, a Liberal MP from Quebec, described Sunday how the words were the culmination of a long lobbying effort that included politicians from different parties, political assistants and grassroots organizations.

Fergus said he thought the speech would mark a change in how the federal government interacted with black communities.

Instead, he said, the bureaucracy, which moves the machinery of government, doesn’t seem to have responded.

“I thought once you get the prime minister saying it, the whole system responds. But I have discovered how mistaken I was,” Fergus said during a panel discussion at a national summit Sunday.

“If there is not buy-in from the public service — if the public service, the machinery of government is not reflective of the diversity of the country, and doesn’t see that the black community is an important community that you want to deal with — it’s like Astroturf … it exists on the top but there are no roots.”

The two-day National Black Canadians Summit, which was the second one organized by former governor general Michaelle Jean’s foundation, kicked off Saturday.

The first summit laid out areas where the federal government needed to prioritize for work or strengthen efforts.

This time around, the aim is to connect different groups to mobilize the voices of the 1.2 million black Canadians to effectively lobby politicians as the country lurches towards a federal election in the fall.

Fergus’s comments put into focus frustrations voiced during the summit about federal efforts under the banner of the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent, which requires governments to address systemic barriers in laws, services and housing, for instance, for black communities.

Fergus suggested his experience over the last year shows that lobbying isn’t a one-time event, but a constant push.

The Liberals have promised $19 million over five years for mental health and youth programs for black communities, and $23 million more over two years that included money for a broader anti-racism strategy, as part of its efforts.

The election is a chance to amplify the voices of black Canadians, said Richard Picart from the Federation of Black Canadians.

“This community, my community, is becoming more active politically,” he said.

“It’s becoming more difficult to ignore the black elephant in the room.”

A lobby day is planned for Monday where dozens of representatives attending the summit will meet with cabinet ministers and MPs to put forward specific asks and put black voices into the political conversation.

“The message is nothing can happen without us. We’re in. We are in and we need to be considered,” Jean said.

“We’re saying here we are and you need to listen to what we are bringing to the conversation.”

The federal government has been able to hire more blacks into the public service, but once in, they don’t seem to rise to the upper ranks, said Liza Daniel, a founding member of the Federal Black Employees Caucus.

She said the employees caucus is finalizing a report about a gathering in Ottawa last month, where participants talked about ways to improve the system for black civil servants.

Source: MP says feds stall promise to act on anti-black racism one year after Trudeau pledge