Joining the nationwide chorus for the fight against racism in policing is an action that shouldn’t require a second thought. Indigenous women are being shot dead during “wellness checks,” a First Nations chief was forced to the ground and punched in the head in Alberta by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers, Canada is not the perfect country that it is made to seem. The criminal justice system is a vehicle for racism, this isn’t new information.
Regardless of the widespread anger, many Canadians, prominent ones, are uncertain that racism is still rooted in Canada’s institutions.
“Thank god we’re different and don’t have the systemic roots [USA] has had forever” and “If systemic racism means that racism is entrenched in our policies and procedures, I would say we don’t have [it]” are among the viewpoints that Canadian politicians and commissioners share.
We know that black and Indigenous people here are overrepresented in prisons. We know that in school, they face more harsh disciplinary measures and they’re suspended at a higher rate than their white peers. We know that black residents of Toronto are 20 times more likely to be shot by the police.
Why don’t they know that? If they do know that, why don’t they do anything about it? Gerald Stanley is a white farmer who fatally shot Colten Boushie (an Indigenous man) and was later faced with no jail time (all-white jury).
This is Allan Adam, he was severely injured by the police when they forced him to the concrete ground.
It’s part of our national narrative. We love to position ourselves juxtaposed to the USA. That’s exactly how we create this idea of Canada, we’re so welcoming and warm, but we forget to pay attention to our parallel racist history.