NDP Calls for Action on Racism in Ontario

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Racist graffiti in Kam River Park just east of Thunder Bay City Hall
Racist graffiti in Kam River Park just east of Thunder Bay City Hall
The City of Thunder Bay stood shoulder to shoulder against racism at a media conference in Thunder Bay
The City of Thunder Bay stood shoulder to shoulder against racism at a media conference in Thunder Bay

QUEEN’S PARK – NDP MPP Teresa Armstrong called on the Premier to commit to establishing an Anti-Racism Directorate to speak to issues of racial inequality in the province. 

“This past Saturday was the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, where we are reminded that not only does systemic racism continue to exist elsewhere, it persists here as well,” said Armstrong, MPP for London-Fanshawe. “Income inequality, unemployment and precarious employment continue to disproportionately affect racialized communities in the province.”

The move came as the Thunder Bay Police Service was investigating several Facebook pages which were seen as racist in nature.

In a media release, Thunder Bay Police stated, “The remarks are derogatory and extremely offensive.  Included in the posts are pictures of what appear to be Aboriginal persons.”

“While too early to determine if there is a criminal aspect to these pages, the necessity to condemn this kind of activity is clear.  As a community, we cannot tolerate the use of social media to express extreme racism.  It is disappointing to say the least that this type of behavior is originating in our city.  We must take a collective stand against this.”

The Thunder Bay Police Service has been in contact with city officials and the concerns are clear.  Acting Mayor Paul Pugh said that “Targeting a person or group’s identity is unacceptable in our City and does not reflect our values or the views of most people in Thunder Bay.”

There are also incidents of racism showing up in the city.

Racist graffiti in Kam River Park just east of Thunder Bay City Hall
Racist graffiti in Kam River Park just east of Thunder Bay City Hall

The NDP government of Ontario first established an Anti-Racism Directorate to address persistent racial inequalities and inequities in our province. The position was cut by the Conservative government, and while the Liberals passed legislation in 2006, nine years later they’ve failed to establish a new Anti-Racism Directorate.

“Will the Premier commit today to strike a task force that will examine issues of systemic racism in the province and create a new Anti-Racism Directorate?” asked Armstrong. 

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