Greg Fergus, Liberal candidate for Hull-Aylmer and chair of the black caucus in Parliament, speaks to reporters during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. A group of Black parliamentarians and their allies are calling on all levels of government to take action to reduce systemic racism in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Black MPs, senators call for government action against systemic racism

The Parliamentary Black Caucus says non-Blacks are only now realizing the scope of racism in Canada

A group of Black parliamentarians and their allies are calling on all levels of government to take action to reduce systemic racism in Canada.

The request is in a statement from the Parliamentary Black Caucus, which was created in 2015 and includes members of Parliament and senators from various political parties.

It follows a wave of protest across North America against racism and police brutality sparked by the killing of a Black man, George Floyd, by police in the U.S. last month.

The Parliamentary Black Caucus says non-Blacks are only now realizing the scope of racism in Canada, and the group is proposing a series of measures to cut down on what the group calls a “pernicious and widespread phenomenon.”

“The members of the Parliamentary Black Caucus are heartened to see so many of their fellow citizens taking to the streets to peacefully express their desire for Canadian society to stamp out racism,” the group wrote.

“However, to rid our society of racism will require concrete actions by all levels of government to begin to make a difference.”

Those measures include improving the collection of race-based data, which the group identified as a priority, as well as reforming the police and the justice system to eliminate bias and discrimination against Black Canadians and Indigenous people.

The group also wants governments to take action to better support businesses owned and operated by Black Canadians, more Black representation in the public service and greater investments in Black culture and arts.

“While Canada is a great country, for many Black Canadians it has yet to achieve its full potential,” the group said. “For more than 400 years, Black Canadians contributed to what all Canadians enjoy today, in spite of the legal, social, and economic barriers.

“In order for Canada to fully realize its potential, we must work to eradicate the consequences of systemic discrimination faced by Black Canadians.”

The Canadian Press

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