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

PHOTOS: Surrey rally supports Mona Wang, calls for wellness check reform

Security camera footage shows Wang being dragged, stepped on during RCMP wellness check at UBCO

Woman sexually assaulted, robbed near Surrey SkyTrain station: RCMP

Police say the incident happened July 10, just after 11 p.m.

Filming applications ‘coming in slowly’ to the City of Surrey

Netflix cancels ‘Sabrina’, but filming manager says new calls coming in to film in Cloverdale

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock and beyond

JULY 11: B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance

‘Did anything good come out of my son’s overdose death?’ – South Surrey mom

Maggie Plett says action still needed on recovery homes

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Once-in-a-lifetime comet photographed soaring over Abbotsford

Photographer Randy Small captures Comet NEOWISE in early-morning sky

BREAKING: Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Man shot dead in east Abbotsford suburbs

Integrated Homicide Investigative Team called to investigate

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

Most Read