At a time when anger against discrimination is at a boiling point in the United States and around the world, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has taken the time to address racism in Canada, as well as the protests that have taken place since the death of George Floyd.
For several days during his daily address, Trudeau has continued to deliver the message that Canadians must recognize there is systemic racism in their own country.
“For far too many Canadians, the images and stories out of the United States are all too familiar,” the Prime Minister said on Monday.
“As a country, we can’t pretend racism doesn’t exist here. Anti-Black racism is real. Unconscious bias is real. Systemic discrimination is real. And they happen here in Canada.”
The Prime Minister called on Canadians and other leaders around the world to take action against all forms of racism, as a result of violent protests and scenes of police brutality emerging from south of the border.
These nationwide protests have been ongoing in the United States since early last week, when a video showed a Minnesota police officer killing an unarmed black man, George Floyd, by kneeling on his neck.
Several protests condemning the act and overall discrimination against Black people even took place in Canada over the weekend, including in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and most recently in Victoria.
“Over the weekend, we saw thousands of people join together in peaceful protests against anti-Black racism,” said Trudeau. “Canadians are sending the message that they would never tolerate injustice.”
When asked about U.S. President Donald Trump’s call for military action against protesters, Trudeau took a lengthy pause.
It took just over 20 seconds before he was able to issue a response, and when he did, he did not address Trump by his name.
“We all watch in horror and consternation what’s going on in the United States,” the Prime Minister said when he finally spoke.
“It is a time to pull people together. It is a time to listen, to learn. It is a time for us as Canadians to recognize we too have our challenges,” said Trudeau.