Ottawa Council’s ethnocultural liaison doesn’t see strict vaccine policy as a barrier to increasing diversity at city hall


Council’s liaison for anti-racism and ethnocultural relations doesn’t believe a new COVID-19 vaccination policy will be a barrier to increasing the diversity of the municipal public service.

Rideau-Rockcliffe Coun. Rawlson King said he doesn’t believe the policy, which came into effect this week, will challenge the city in achieving its diversity goals.

“I don’t see that specifically it will actually detract people from joining the public service at the city. I see them as two separate issues, really,” King said Tuesday after a meeting of the finance and economic development committee, which received a new report on the diversity of the municipal workforce.

“The issue that we’re having, or at least what I think in Overbrook or areas of Manor Park, is the fact that people have a lot of life challenges that are getting in the way of them getting vaccinated.”

The City of Ottawa has made progress in diversifying its workforce over the past year, though it has a long way to go when it comes to changing the composition of management, according to the report by Suzanne Obiorah, the city’s director of gender and race equity, inclusion, Indigenous relations and social development.

Meanwhile, the City of Ottawa’s new mandatory vaccination policy requires all members of the municipal public service to be full vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 1. The policy also requires a full COVID-19 vaccination to be hired by the municipal government.

The Black Opportunity Fund, African-Canadian Civic Engagement Council and Innovative Research Group released national survey results in July that suggested 33 per cent of the adult Black population showed some form of vaccine hesitancy. The rate compared to 19 per cent of adult white Canadians and 25 per cent of non-Black visible minorities who showed vaccine hesitancy.

King said the factors for people not getting vaccinated relate more to income inequality. “And, of course, who suffers disproportionately from that? Black and racialized people,” he said.

City manager Steve Kanellakos said the municipal government wants its workforce to represent the community it serves, while also advocating for high vaccination rates to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“The City is aware of the barriers certain residents may encounter when accessing health care and continues to work with Ottawa Public Health (OPH) to identify and remove those barriers, address questions, and make accessing a vaccine as easy and convenient as possible for our residents and our workforce,” Kanellakos said in a statement sent through the communications department.

“The City has followed OPH guidance on making the vaccination requirements uniform for all employees to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and make our workplace healthy and safe for all.”

Based on information the City of Ottawa collected in workforce surveys, the rate of visible minorities was 16.27 per cent in July 2021 compared to 12.6 per cent in September 2020. The city’s target is 20.7 per cent. When it comes to the rate of Aboriginal Peoples in the workforce, city hall improved to 1.99 per cent in July, up from 1.4 per cent (the target is 3.2 per cent).

The city has also improved its rate of employees with disabilities. The rate was seven per cent in July, up from 2.4 per cent in September 2020. The target rate is nine per cent.

The rate of women in the municipal public service was 39.16 per cent in July, with a target of 43.3 per cent.

The city has been exceeding its target for women in management (49 per cent compared to a target of 43 per cent), but its rate of visible minorities in management is 9.9 per cent compared to a target of 20.7 per cent.

King said more senior staff could be retiring in the next year or two, presenting a big opportunity to improve diversity in the management ranks.

“This, for me, will be the litmus test to whether an equity employment initiative at the city is a success,” King said.

Source: Council’s ethnocultural liaison doesn’t see strict vaccine policy as a barrier to increasing diversity at city hall

Frank, revealing report on race relations made public by Ottawa police

Good that the report was made public and hopefully there will be meaningful consideration and appropriate follow-up to some of the recommendations:

Fear and mistrust of Ottawa police and public concerns about police leadership, accountability and transparency are the “overarching” themes of a report on race relations that was so stressful for officers doing the study that they had to have special counselling to deal with abuse from the public and their fellow cops.

“The vast majority of officers go out there every day with the idea that they’re going to do the best job that they can,” said Insp. Isobel Granger, who led the seven-member team and wrote the final report that was released this week. “So, when the community comes to you and says you’re not treating us fairly, it leaves a questions mark and you wonder, ‘What am I doing?’”

The 146-page final report of the Ottawa police Outreach Liaison Team was completed more than a year ago, but was only made publicly available this week on the Ottawa police website. The team was created in August 2016 in the weeks after the death of Abdirahman Abdi with a mandate to engage with the city’s racialized community “and rebuild the community’s trust and confidence in the Ottawa Police Service.” It spent a year researching the report and met with approximately 1,000 individuals and community groups.

It identified 32 issues, including everything from systemic barriers inside the police service affecting women, minorities and LGTBQ officers, complaints about the service’s “ineffective” and “out of touch” Community and Police Action Committee to the number of unsolved homicides in the Somali community.

The report was prepared as an internal document for police, but was shared last year with some of the community leaders who had been consulted. It is unusually frank for a public document, includes sections on how the team was brainstorming about public reaction into findings of the province’s Special Investigations Unit on Abdi’s death. (The SIU charged Const. Daniel Montsion with manslaughter, assault with a weapon and aggravated assault in Abdi’s death. His trial is scheduled to resume Feb. 25.)

The report also includes unflinching criticisms the outreach term heard such as “attitudes surrounding black youth need to change” and “police should stop assuming people are LIARS.” Police senior officers were criticized by the public for not attending public meetings, while police officers themselves criticized “racism and/or ineptitude or incompetence in selection and promotion processes.”

Granger wouldn’t say if she thought those criticisms were valid. What was important was that people felt that way.

“I come from the standpoint that your perception is your reality,” she said. “We need to know what that perception is because, if there is a misunderstanding, we need to work together to create a common understanding … common values. And, if it’s for real, we have to work together to change the reality.”

“I’m in the police service, so I will see things differently, (but) it’s not what I feel that’s important, it’s what the community feels that’s important.”

Granger said progress had been made since she delivered her final report last January. Last summer, police launched the new Community Equity Council with the aim of strengthening the relationship between police and Indigenous, faith-based and racialized communities. As well, Granger’s team’s report has been adopted as a foundation document in the police service’s multi-year action plan for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

“There’s a lot being done. Sometimes meaningful change appears not to be happening and maybe to some people it appears slow — and maybe it is slow — but we want meaningful change to happen. I’d rather not rush, but I want to see change, too.”

Though the team was formed after Abdirahman Abdi’s death, it found itself dealing with other controversies and tragedies. In October 2016, a veteran Ottawa officer pleaded guilty to police act charges after he was identified making racist comments online about the death of Inuit artist Annie Pootoogook. That same month, a study of three years of data about Ottawa police traffic stops revealed the stops were “consistent with racial profiling.”

It all took a toll on Granger and her team, which was “on the receiving end of hostile treatment” from community groups.

“In the course of their day-to-day work, the officers were frequently subjected to verbal abuse and/or challenging behaviours and these experiences, which began to take a personal toll on the officers,” the report says. “They also expressed that coming into work was becoming difficult as they were being subjected to similar behaviours internally.”

The team developed a support plan, including team debriefings and skills training to help them cope. Some of her officers were working 18-hour days on the research, Granger said.

“We were listening to a lot of raw emotions, internally and externally. It’s very difficult not to be affected by it … Fortunately, the individuals members went on to healthy next steps  in their career, but it wasn’t easy,” she said.

“When one person is put under scrutiny, the whole police service is put under scrutiny. What people don’t realize is that, when something traumatic happens, it affects all of us, inside (the police) and outside.”

The full Outreach Liaison Team Final report can be downloaded from the Equity Diversity and Inclusion page of the Ottawa Police Service website.

Source: Frank, revealing report on race relations made public by Ottawa police

Anti-immigration groups at protest demand apology from Trudeau | Ottawa Citizen

It would be interesting to know more about the background of the Asian Canadians at the protest as, at first blush, these appear to be curious bedfellows (the website listed below is largely unpopulated):

Hundreds of Asian-Canadian protesters, supported by several white, far-right, anti-immigrant groups stormed Parliament Hill on Sunday afternoon to demand an apology from the prime minister.

According to plans for the protest on, members of the Asian-Canadian community feel victimized by a Toronto girl’s false claim in January that an Asian man cut off her hijab and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s apparent rush to view the fictitious incident as a hate crime.

Anti-Muslim and anti racist protestors voiced their views on Sunday on Parliament Hill. Anti-Muslim protestors joined with a group of Chinese-Canadians who were upset about the controversial hijab news story in Toronto. Ashley Fraser/Postmedia ASHLEY FRASER/ POSTMEDIA

“As the real victim of the hijab hoax, our Asian community was completely ignored by PM Trudeau,” reads a statement on the website.

A man who identified himself as “Yuanyuan” said, “There are some out-of-town conservative Chinese racists and they are collaborating basically with some white nationalist groups here in Canada. As a Chinese Canadian, I’m pretty ashamed about that. That’s why I’m here.”

The large Asian group, with members coming from Toronto and Vancouver to join members of the Ottawa Chinese-Canadian community, chartered buses for the event.

“We want to oppose them,” Yuanyuan said. “We don’t want them on our Hill saying they get to represent Canadian values. We know that their rhetoric is basically trying to normalize violence against minorities and marginalized folk. It’s not really a discussion about whether or not multiculturalism is good or not. We know that they stand for genocide.”

About 100 anti-racist protesters — while denouncing white supremacy and chanting about how welcome Muslims are — also repeatedly screamed “f-ck the police.”

Providing security for the Asian protesters were several anti-immigration, ultranationalist groups such as Quebec’s La Meute — or Wolf Pack — and the Northern Guard. Several Proud Boys — a far-right men’s group — were also in attendance.

La Meute’s Stéphane Roch said his members — of which there are 42,000 in Quebec — were in Ottawa to support the Chinese community.

Roch called them “real Canadians” who have been in the country for hundreds of years. “The Chinese community are a very good community. Trudeau don’t listen to them.”

“The government has to work for the citizens, not for themselves,” Roch said. “The power has to go to the citizens. They have to listen to us.”

An organizer with the Chinese-Canadian community who asked a reporter to “just call me Monica” said the event was behind schedule and chose not to speak to a reporter from this newspaper.

Several Chinese-Canadian protesters were there with their children, who held signs condemning the “hijab hoax” and “fake news.” The signs urged the government not to “stir up ethnic disputes.” Multiple people approached by a reporter indicated they did not speak English.

But speakers urged respect for “human rights” and asked that all Canadians be treated equally.

Among the sea of protesters were several placards taking aim at Trudeau, not Muslims.

Evan Balgord, a journalist and researcher who is following the rise of the new far-right movement in Canada, said that what was branded as anti-Muslim is being re-purposed as anti-Trudeau rhetoric.

“They always were anti-Trudeau, anti-Liberal government, anti-multiculturalism, anti-M-103 (a motion to condemn Islamophobia in the country) but the anti-Trudeau rhetoric is coming more and more to the front.”

Police escorted members of both groups away from the demonstration and some were banned from the Hill.

RCMP officers made a handful of arrests during the demonstration, but several of those people were released. A large group of Ottawa police escorted both groups on and off the Hill.

via Anti-immigration groups at protest demand apology from Trudeau | Ottawa Citizen

Friedman: Why Canadians should be proud of the Holocaust Monument

Rabbi Daniel Friedman is Chair of the National Holocaust Monument Development Council puts the plaque controversy in context:

Last month, Canada unveiled our incredible Holocaust Monument. Let me tell you about my proudest moment that day. It wasn’t when, for the very first time, I walked into the awe-inspiring monument. It wasn’t when, alongside our prime minister, I addressed the nation. And, despite my great reverence for them, it wasn’t when I met the hundreds of inspiring survivors and generous donors.

My proudest moment was watching Justin Trudeau step off stage after his speech. Just then, he noticed a familiar face towards the back of the room, that of Tim Uppal. Uppal is the former MP who introduced the Holocaust Monument bill in Parliament. When Trudeau spotted him, he strode up to the back of the room, grabbed Tim by the hand, and escorted him to the front. At the end of the ceremony, the prime minister turned and gave him a big hug.

That’s the epitome of Canadianism. You see, Tim Uppal was a Conservative MP. Trudeau could have snubbed his former rival and basked all alone in the glory of his government’s day in the sun. But he chose to include him, making sure that he was every much a part of this historic hour.

That’s why Canadians deserve the monument we’ve built together. Many in the world today pay lip service to eradicating hatred and promoting love, respect and tolerance for all humankind. But they never miss an opportunity to attack those who don’t agree with their views, attacks often having little to do with any real matter of substance.

The monument is the product of a partnership between many organizations. Designed by the Lord Cultural Group and Daniel Libeskind, built by the National Capital Commission, facilitated by Canadian Heritage, and overseen by the Monument Development Council, a lot of people have coordinated their efforts to build this piece of our nation.

Along the way we had disagreements. Some bigger, some smaller. Along the way, we made mistakes. Some bigger, some smaller. Along the way we switched governments, which meant a whole host of new players and opinions entering the fray. But we’re Canadians. And we figured it out. We didn’t point fingers. We didn’t politicize things. We were proud of the fact that the Monument bill passed unanimously.

On the big day, we suddenly realized that an egregious error had been made. In amongst the debates over wording and plaque positioning, somehow the one plaque that introduced the others – and made no sense outside the context of the plaques detailing the Nazi genocide of six million Jews along with homosexuals, the disabled and others – ended up mounted all on its own on a separate wall. Visitors to the site were rightly disturbed to encounter this major injustice to the memory of the six million Jews for whom the monument was built. All of the parties involved are deeply remorseful and we apologize unconditionally for the pain we have caused by this oversight.

I want to thank the Trudeau government for acting expeditiously to amend the plaque as soon as the error was brought to its attention. Mistakes happen; most can be fixed quickly and decorously. Without questioning, the government did the right thing, which has been our experience with Trudeau’s government throughout. And that’s why when I saw his interaction with Tim Uppal at the unveiling, my respect for our leader grew ever stronger.  The man is a true Canadian. The man is a mensch.

Canadians don’t look for fights. We seek opportunities to embrace and boost other people who are different from us, whether those differences involve political views, religion or skin colour. The last thing we would want to politicize is the Holocaust.

The National Holocaust Monument was initiated by the Stephen Harper government. It was brought to fruition under the Trudeau government. We live in the most tolerant country in the world, and probably, of all time. Let us never take that blessing for granted. Let us be a little more forgiving of one another. And let us continue to work together, across party lines, ethnic lines and religious lines, to lead the international community, and make this world a better, safer place for all peoples.

Source: Friedman: Why Canadians should be proud of the Holocaust Monument | Ottawa Citizen

Alt-right vs. Antifa: How a political clash is turning the Internet into battleground

Disturbing trend towards vigilantism:

The four men charged after a self-styled “Canadian patriot” and far right provocateur was allegedly beaten and robbed in Ottawa on Saturday will appear in court later this month, but that’s not enough for Kevin J. Johnston.

“We need a name. We need an address. We need a phone number,” Johnston urges his followers after posting video on his Freedom Report website that shows a photo of a man Johnston claimed instigated the attack.

The call for online action is a nasty tactic of the increasingly volatile conflict between the far right and the far left that’s playing out in Canadian cities. Opponents on the left (the ‘Antifa’ for anti-Fascist movement) say they’ve received death threats and been the victims of “doxxing” — having personal information published online — as retribution from the far right or “alt-right.”

One man Johnston targeted is Kevin Metcalf, a member of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, who says he was at the Hill protest as an observer, shooting pictures and video of people at what was billed the “Million Canadian March.”

Johnston posted a video Tuesday showing Metcalf’s picture and called him “a coward, domestic terrorist and stalker of women.”

“If you see this man, you have to assume he is armed,” Johnston told his followers. “We have to get this guy behind bars, people. Get him behind bars now.”

Metcalf says he was on Parliament Hill conducting interviews around 11:30 a.m., the time it’s alleged Johnston was assaulted in Confederation Park. He says he’s considering legal action against Johnston over the online video.

“It’s concerning. I’m certainly taking precautions,” Metcalf said Wednesday. “I’ve received death threats before but since he published the video it’s increased exponentially.”

As an advocate for free expression, Metcalf has attended a number of rallies like Saturday’s march on Parliament Hill, which drew an eclectic mix of about 300 to 400 people, including groups such as the far right Soldiers of Odin and Jewish Defence League of Canada. Though billed as a pro-Trump rally by the American alt-right website Breitbart, the Ottawa demonstrators’ wrath was aimed at the Canadian government’s anti-islamophobia motion, M-103, as well as issues such as carbon taxes and Liberal spending.

Does freedom of expression cover someone such as Johnston, who rejects being labelled as “far right” but wants the Qur’an banned in Canada and has called Liberal MP Iqra Khalid an “islamic terrorist”?

“It’s a tough landscape to negotiate,” said Metcalf, who describes himself as being left-leaning personally. “There’s a protective right in Canada for free expression. At the same time, we recognize the important role that counter speech plays in fostering public discourse. So when people show up and say ‘Hey, you’re a bunch of racists. We don’t want you in our community, that’s also free expression. That needs to be supported and protected.”

Like the Million Canadian March demonstrators, Saturday’s counter-protest drew a mix of social justice advocates, including black-clad, balaclava-wearing members of a group calling itself Anti-Fascist Action. Metcalf said many of the counter demonstrators are “college-age, white and of relative social privilege” who track right-wing groups’ activities. They’ve taken to wearing masks to protect themselves from “doxxing” and online attacks, he said.

Source: Alt-right vs. Antifa: How a political clash is turning the Internet into battleground | Ottawa Citizen

Pro-Trump Canadians Throw ‘Million Deplorable March.’ Right-Wing Media Counts 5,000. Cops Say Hundreds.

Getting noticed in US media with usual inflation of crowd claims:

Although it was dubbed the “Million Canadian Deplorables March,” both The Daily Caller and Breitbart claimed about 5,000 people showed up in Ottawa to protest Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and to show favor for Donald Trump, whom protest organizer Mike Waine called a “smart man.”

“Most Canadians are asleep because fake news is telling them stories that just aren’t true,” Waine told The Daily Caller in its article “Thousands Of Canadian ‘Deplorables’ March To Support Trump And Oppose Trudeau.”

Ironically, Ottawa police now say there weren’t thousands, let alone 5,000 or a million, protesters at the March at all.

“We average about two or three (demonstrations) a day. It would be like Washington D.C. for you guys,” said Ottawa Police Constable Marc Soucy. “This one would be on the small side for sure.”

Soucy said that, while the Ottawa Police doesn’t officially provide crowd estimates, there were not 5,000 people at the rally’s “gathering point” in Ottawa’s Confederation Park.

“There were less than 100 [at the park],” he said.

A spokesperson for the Parliamentary Protection Services estimated to Canada’s iPolicy, who first reported on the discrepancy, that 300 to 400 people in total went to the rally in at the Canadian capital.

Still, a Breitbart headline blared “5,000 Canadians March in Support of Trump, Against Liberal Trudeau Administration” on Saturday. Meanwhile, 504 people RSVP’d to the event on Facebook, where the protest was labeled as a “march against Trudope and his tyranny.”

This isn’t the first time Breitbart has inflated crowd sizes of pro-Trump events. The website, whose former CEO Steve Bannon is now a Senior Advisor to President Trump, posted a photo of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ NBA Championship victory parade in a story titled “Trump’s Jacksonville Rally draws 15,000” last August.

And in March, The Daily Caller published an article arguing in favor of Donald Trump’s incorrect claim that the media had downplayed the size of the crowd at his January inauguration, arguing that “context has been severely lacking.”

The Daily Caller article about the Candian march, written by David Krayden, quoted organizer Waine saying a recent motion in Canada could “lead to the implementation of Sharia Law in Canada.” The text of that motion, M-103, condemns Islamophobia and “all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination.”

Waine appeared happy with the turnout, according to the Caller.

Source: Pro-Trump Canadians Throw ‘Million Deplorable March.’ Right-Wing Media Counts 5,000. Cops Say Hundreds.

Racial profiling, budget concerns Ottawa top police board meeting

Not a particularly impressive discussion by the Ottawa Police Board on racial profiling:

Attention then quickly turned to the results of a two-year race data project mandated by a settlement with the Ontario Human Rights Commissions, which were revealed last month.

Data from traffic stops, collected by Ottawa police officers and analyzed by a team of researchers, shows Middle Eastern-looking people are 3.3 times more likely to be pulled over than their percentage of the population, while black-looking people are 2.3 times more likely to be pulled over than their percentage of the population.

The project was the result of a racial-profiling complaint lodged by then-18-year-old Chad Aiken, who said he was pulled over because he was black. Both the researchers that conducted the study and Chief Charles Bordeleau said the results didn’t “prove” racial profiling by officers, which the human rights commissioner took exception to at Monday’s meeting.

“All too often when people like Mr. Aiken come forward to speak about racial discrimination, they are dismissed as being overly sensitive or not having enough proof that their experience is systemic — the ‘a few bad apples’ defence,” Renu Mandhane told the board.

“And that’s why we are disappointed by recent comments that the OPS data does not prove racial profiling. Especially when considered together with the personal accounts that led to the data being collected in the first place, the findings are alarming, are entirely consistent with racial profiling, and cannot and should not be easily explained away.”

Mandhane says she wants to specifically hear from the force that the data is consistent with racial profiling, and says acknowledging it is the first step to fixing it.

Bordeleau said he believes “the service has actually stepped up to the plate and done a lot of things.” He pointed to the settlement-mandated study being the first of its kind in the country. “I want to make it clear that I’ve never denied the existence of racial profiling. I said before that racial profiling exists in society, it exists in policing and that it has no place in either.”

Mandhane also called on the force and the board to make policies to eliminate discrimination, have independent monitoring and accountability bodies, and discipline officers who engage in discrimination.

Board chair Coun. Eli El-Chantiry told Mandhane that the board has committed “significant” public resources to measure how police treat people of different racial groups. “The study showed that there was a problem and we have committed to working with our police service to fix it.”

The board also heard from Danardo Jones, legal director of the African Canadian Legal Clinic, who also wanted the force to call the results racial profiling and voiced concern about including only data from traffic stops in the study. Bordeleau said it was “unfortunate that four years ago when we reached out the ACLC, and numerous times since that, that you didn’t take us up on the offer to participate (in the report).”

Source: Ottawa Citizen | Latest Breaking News | Business | Sports | Canada …

Racial profiling not addressed in Ontario public consultation over street checks

Valid concerns. That is the issue:

A public consultation about the police method of street checks Friday afternoon left some attendees disappointed over its structured format that left no time to discuss issues such as racial profiling.

The consultation, which was held at Carleton University and addressed issues including the definition of “street check,” rules about how they should be applied and administrative oversight, was attended by approximately 15 members of the public, along with a handful of Ottawa police and government officials.

“It’s a very active conversation,” said Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Yasir Naqvi. “I’m very happy to hear the diversity of the people who are attending from our community, so we have varied perspectives represented in this consultation.”

The format of the consultation involved discussions among small groups on three specific questions, with results of their ensuing discussion written on sticky notes and posted on a board.

Participants were also encouraged to speak to the group as a whole after the group segment was finished.

But not all the people in attendance were satisfied with the scope of the conversation.

Carl Nicholson, a member of the Police Services Board who was not acting in an official capacity, said the “structured” discussion left little wiggle room to discuss potential bias and racial profiling.

“You can be sure it’s not far from our minds,” he said. “We do want the opportunity to explore what is driving those numbers.”

The numbers he mentioned refer to a document released in July. The police service’s combined statistics from 2011 through 2014 showed that 58 per cent of people it has street checked are white, 20 per cent are black and 14 per cent are Middle Eastern. Aboriginal, Asian, East Indian, Latin American and those whose race is unknown accounted for about seven per cent. The ethnicity of about 10 per cent of people street checked wasn’t recorded.

Racial profiling not addressed in public consultation over street checks | Ottawa Citizen.

Op-Ed: Ottawa’s strange indifference to ‘street checks’

Valid points:

When Inspector Mark Patterson of the Ottawa Police Service presented a report showing that visible minorities are overrepresented among individuals subjected to “street checks”, the reaction was noticeably different. No questions were asked about the evidence of systemic racism revealed by the data, or any other aspect of the report for that matter. In an interview following the meeting, board chair Eli El-Chantiry came out strongly in favour of the lawfulness and utility of street checks. He categorically rejected the possibility that they were conducted in a racially discriminatory manner.

The numbers speak for themselves. In a city in which 5.7 per cent of the population is black, 20 per cent of those subjected to street checks are black. Although less than 5 per cent of the Ottawa population is of Middle Eastern origin, 14 per cent of street checks involved individuals identified as being Middle Eastern.

So why the lack of outrage? Is it because Cole’s narrative was personal, while the individuals in the Ottawa Police Service’s report are nameless, faceless statistics? Is it because the Ottawa police refer to the practice as a “street check” rather than “carding”? Is it something else?

After all, Ottawa has seen its share of high profile cases involving racial discrimination by police. Ottawa newspapers have covered the issue of street checks extensively. When the board met to discuss the police service’s report, one of the authors of this op-ed, Leo Russomanno, gave submissions urging them to seek an explanation for why visible minorities are overrepresented in the data. He also questioned the propriety of carding more broadly. Juxtaposed with the reaction in Toronto, the indifference of the board and other city officials – including the mayor – is jarring.

Op-Ed: Ottawa’s strange indifference to ‘street checks’ | Ottawa Citizen.

Ottawa Street check race data ‘cries out’ for an explanation: lawyer

Ottawa’s carding data with similar over-representation of Blacks and Middle Easterners as elsewhere, with analysis yet to come:

Asked if that over-representation concerns the service, Chief Charles Bordeleau said the data were “very raw” and absent important information that would put the numbers into perspective.

“There hasn’t been any analysis whatsoever or any context behind the numbers,” Bordeleau said.

Yet in his public address to the board, defence lawyer Leo Russomanno said those figures and what they suggest demand analysis.

“It should be concerning to this committee … that in a population where only 5.7 per cent is black, 20 per cent of those being street-checked, according to the statistics being provided, are black,” Russomanno said. “In a population of less than five per cent described as being Middle Eastern, 14 per cent of those that fit that description are being stopped in street checks.

“Now, there may be another explanation for this, but in my view it cries out for an explanation.”

Russomanno urged the board to seek a formal legal opinion on the legality of street checks. He wants the board to participate in making the process lawful, he said.

“Individuals involved in street checks have a right choose whether to co-operate with police or not.”

Street check race data ‘cries out’ for an explanation: lawyer | Ottawa Citizen.