OTTAWA — The federal government’s efforts to address systemic issues affecting Black canadians seem to stagnate a year after the prime minister had raised the issue, said the head of the black caucus of the Parliament, expressing his frustrations at the slow pace of change.
A year ago, Justin Trudeau had stated that it was about time that Canadians recognize that racism and subconscious bias against black people exist in their countries.
The chairman of the caucus, multi-party and liberal mp for the riding of Hull-Aylmer, Greg Fergus, said that the speech of Mr. Trudeau was the culmination of a long lobbying involving politicians from different political parties, policy advisers and grassroots organizations.
Mr. Fergus thought at the time that this speech would mark a change in the way the federal government interacted with black communities. Instead, he lamented, the bureaucracy does not seem to have reacted.
“I thought that once the prime minister would say, the entire system would respond, but I discovered that I was wrong, he recognized at a national summit on Sunday. If there is no participation of the public service – whether public or government, does not reflect the diversity of the country and does not see that the black community is important and that it is necessary to deal with – so it is like the artificial lawn, it is seen from above, but there is no root.”
Organized by the foundation of the former governor-general Michaëlle Jean, the Summit of the pan-canadian black communities took place throughout the weekend.
The objective of the meeting was to put in contact different groups in order to mobilize the 1.2 million Black canadians to put pressure on politicians on the eve of the federal elections in autumn.
The comments of Mr. Fergus has shed light on the frustrations expressed at the summit about the federal efforts, under the auspices of the international Decade of people of african descent to the united nations, to remove the systemic barriers in terms of laws, services and housing for black communities.
Mr. Fergus suggested that his experience of the past year demonstrates that lobbying is not a one-time event, but requires a constant effort.
The liberals have promised $ 19 million over five years for mental health, and youth programs for black communities, and $ 23 million extra over two years, in particular for a strategy anti-racist more extensive.
The elections are a chance to amplify the voice of black Canadians, pointed out Richard Picart of the Federation of black Canadians.
“This community, my community becomes more politically active. It is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the elephant black in the room.”
A lobby day is scheduled for Monday, during which dozens of representatives participating in the summit will meet ministers and mps to formulate specific demands and make their voices heard in the political debate.
“The message is that nothing can happen without us. We are present. We are present and must be taken into account, said Ms John. We say that we are here and that we must listen to what we bring to the discussions.”