Canada's NDP

NDP

September 18th, 2020

Minister Blair must take action to address systemic racism

ST. JOHN’S – New Democrats are questioning Minister Blair’s ability to take the transformative action needed to deal with systemic racism in Canadian policing. Recent reports from the Ontario Human Rights Commission and Tribunal have revealed troubling statistics about systemic racism and a culture of sexual harassment within the Toronto Police Services (TPS) during his tenure as police chief.

"These finding are deeply concerning and call into question whether Minister Blair is the right person to tackle systemic racism in Canada," said NDP Critic for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Jack Harris. "There is a heavy demand from civil society and the public calling for significant change, and Minister Blair has so far proven to be very reluctant to address the unacceptable status quo.”

A recent Ontario Human Rights Commission report on the use of force by TPS shows that, at the end of Bill Blair's tenure as Toronto Police Chief, a Black person was twenty times more likely to be fatally shot by Toronto police and five times more likely to be tasered than a white person. Another report from the Ontario Human Right Tribunal found that workplace sexual harassment was commonplace and part of a culture that existed throughout the TPS during Blair’s time as the police chief.

“Given his record, Minister Blair has to prove to Canadians that he can deliver the change that is required,” said Harris. “Countless studies and reports have called for action and Canadians across the country have protested in support of change. The Prime Minister has even taken a knee and called out systemic racism. Blair has everything he needs to deliver results. The time for action is now.”

“Canadians are counting on this government to tackle issues like systemic racism in policing, but it continues to let them down,” added Harris.