Politics

Trudeau says cabinet will look at policies to address systemic racism

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his cabinet has drafted a summer work plan that will look at policies to address systemic racism in Canada — including racism in policing and the justice system.

NDP has criticized Liberals for not proposing concrete action on systemic racism

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes a knee during a rally against police violence and systemic racism on Parliament Hill, June 5, 2020. (Blair Gable/Reuters)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his cabinet has created a summer work plan to draft policies to tackle systemic racism in Canada.

"Our goal is to come up with strong policies that will help eliminate barriers facing Indigenous peoples, racialized people, and persons with disabilities," Trudeau told a press conference today.

Cabinet ministers will examine policies that would affect their individual mandates, Trudeau said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with reporters from Parliament Hill on Wednesday. 2:15

Justice Minister David Lametti will examine possible reforms to the legal system, he said, while Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough and Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino will look at improvements to the temporary foreign worker program.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair will look into "modernizing policing structures and updating standards regarding the use of force," Trudeau said.

The plan was discussed during a two-day virtual cabinet retreat earlier this week, the PM said.

Trudeau didn't suggest a timeline for introducing new policies or reforms.

Singh says Trudeau not taking action

Trudeau's announcement came just hours after NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh accused the prime minister of not acting to eliminate systemic racism.

"[Trudeau] has done less to address police brutality and violence than even [U.S. President Donald] Trump has done. That is shameful," Singh said.

"What President Trump has done is still insufficient but he at least put forward some rules, some changes around the use of chokeholds," Singh said, citing an executive order that Trump signed in June.

Trudeau has voiced his support for body cameras in the RCMP. Singh said he wants to see more concrete actions to review use-of-force policies and shift funding from policing to health care.

"He is the prime minister of this country, why is he taking a knee?" Singh said, referring to Trudeau kneeling at an anti-racism protest in June.

"He can take a stand. And if he needs someone to help because it is a minority government, I'm here. I'm ready to support."

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