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

Just Posted

North Island College launches virtual orientation

New and returning North Island College students are being welcomed to the… Continue reading

Comox Valley artist expands horizons through North Island College’s DIGITAL Design department

Submitted by NIC North Island College alumna Marlee Pestell is breaking into… Continue reading

85-year-old Comox sprinter competes in worldwide virtual track meet

Toronto was slated to be the host city for the 2020 World… Continue reading

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

What exactly is ‘old growth’ B.C. forest, and how much is protected?

Forests minister Doug Donaldson doesn’t support ‘moratorium’

Don’t leave your hand sanitizer in the sun and other tips to stay COVID safe this summer

Being mindful of staying outside and keeping hand sanitizer, sunscreen out of the sun recommended

Most Read