President of the Treasury Board Jean-Yves Duclos takes part in a press conference on Parliament Hill amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Monday, June 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Trudeau wants to move ‘very quickly’ on anti-racism initiatives, minister says

The government is making modest progress at diversifying the federal public service, Duclos said

Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos says the prime minister wants to move “very quickly” to dismantle barriers that contribute to systemic racism.

The government is making modest progress at diversifying the federal public service, but there is more work to do, especially in the senior ranks, Duclos told a media briefing Monday.

More broadly, he said, the government can and should help others remove barriers to progress for Canadians of different racial backgrounds.

Duclos says it’s about empowering everyone to see the obstacles that others are facing.

He rhymed off a list of areas, including education, public safety and Indigenous relations, where advances in equity can be made.

“As elected officials and, more generally, as citizens, we do have both the ability and the responsibility to help,” Duclos said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already engaged his team ”to work very quickly and very efficiently” in coming up with a way forward, he said.

The government has come under pressure to spell out what it is doing to counter discrimination and entrenched racism in federal agencies following the police killing of a Black man, George Floyd, in the United States and a spate of confrontations between police officers and Indigenous Peoples as well as racial minorities in Canada.

READ MORE: Amid anti-racism protests, Trudeau promises to push police body cameras with premiers

Federal officials recently delayed a comprehensive response to the many recommendations of a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

Trudeau said Monday there had been “stacks of recommendations, of analyses, of reports on measures that can be taken” to address systemic racism, particularly against Indigenous Canadians.

“It is a question of picking which of those recommendations we should be moving forward with first,” Trudeau said.

“And that’s why we’re working with Indigenous leadership and communities, working with the Black community, working with racialized Canadians to prioritize exactly what things we should do rapidly.”

The federal government should immediately declare First Nations policing an essential service, rather than just a program, to ensure adequate funding and a legislative base, said Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

Bellegarde echoed Trudeau in noting there had been many studies and reviews on justice to draw upon.

The lack of action on the various recommendations is what is “killing our people,” he said.

As for the RCMP, Bellegarde advocates a zero-tolerance policy on excessive use of force.

“There are things that can happen immediately, short-term, within the existing systems that are there.”

— With a file from Mike MacDonald in Halifax

Jim Bronskill , The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CanadaJustin Trudeauracism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Cariboo, North Thompson region

Prince George, Quesnel, Williams Lake and 100 Mile House all under watch

Community Foundation wants charities to apply for emergency funding

The $350 million emergency funding was created to help vulnerable populations during COVID-19

Back in Time

Historical Perspective

High water and flooding hits Clearwater

Potential for roadblock on Clearwater Valley Road due to potential washouts

Tk’emlups, Simpcw First Nations chiefs call on Tiny House Warriors to leave Blue River protest camp

“The Tiny House Warriors are not from Simpcw, nor are they our guests in our territory.”

Horrifying video shows near head-on collision on Trans Canada

The video was captured on dash cam along Highway 1

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Would you take a COVID-19 vaccine? Poll suggests most Canadians say yes

75 per cent of Canadians would agree to take a novel coronavirus vaccine

Budget officer pegs cost of basic income as calls for it grow due to COVID-19

Planned federal spending to date on pandemic-related aid now tops about $174 billion

Most Read