Doug Ford says racism isn't as bad in Canada as it is in the U.S.
Racism exists in Canada: Let's just get that out of the way. I've seen it, you've seen it and, if you're a visible minority, there's a great (if not near definite) chance you've experienced it yourself.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau admitted as much on Monday while speaking about ongoing protests against anti-Black racism taking place across the world.
"Racism still exists in Canada," said Trudeau, who himself has apologized for racist behaviour in the past. "To young Black Canadians, I hear you when you say you are anxious and angry."
"Anti-black racism is real. Unconscious bias is real. Systemic discrimination is real," said the PM. "And they happen here, in Canada."
Toronto Mayor John Tory stated similarly following local protests in support of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless other Black lives lost during interactions with police that "anti-Black racism does exist in our city and in our country."
"While we are shocked at what we see happening in the United States, we must acknowledge that we are not immune from some of those very same issues here," said Tory.
"You have to be honest about the existence of a problem if you want to solve it."
This is Premier Ford’s response when asked about Trump’s handling of the anti-black racism protests:— Kamil Karamali (@KamilKaramali) June 2, 2020
“It’s like night and day between Canada and the US... Thank God we’re different than the US and we don’t have the systemic, deep roots they’ve had for years.” pic.twitter.com/6QiSy2fbPT
It would appear as though Ontario Premier Doug Ford doesn't wholeheartedly agree.
Ford raised eyebrows on Tueday during his daily pandemic press conference when asked about Trudeau's now-infamous reaction to a reporter's question earlier in the day regarding how U.S. President Donald Trump's is handling mass unrest in his country.
Trudeau paused for an epic 21 seconds after Trump was mentioned before stating: "We all watch in horror and consternation what's going on in the United States."
When Ford was asked about the lengthy pause and if he feels Canadian politicians are reluctant to speak about such issues on Tuesday afternoon, the premier admitted that he doesn't currently "have time to watch the news" while dealing with Ontario's public health pandemic.
"They have their issues, there's no doubt they have their issues in the U.S. and they have to fix their issues, but it's like night and day comparing Canada and the U.S.," he said.
"Good luck to them and hopefully they can straighten out their problems, and thank God that we're different than the United States," he continued. "We don’t have the systemic deep-roots they have had for years."
Tens of thousands of experts on the subject would vehemently disagree.
ignoring systematic racism doesn’t erase it @fordnation pic.twitter.com/Xlv34GIV2k— m (@curryspic3) June 2, 2020
As evidence of his claim, Ford noted that he'd spent a significant amount of time in the U.S. on business.
"When I went down to the U.S. — I spent 20 years back and forth between building the company down there — the difference between the U.S. and Canada, for the most part, we get along," he said.
"We all live beside each other, we work together, we share communities, we go shopping together... believe me, it's night and day when it comes to Canada and the U.S."
Again, many Ontarians have had different experiences when it comes to racism on both sides of the border.
"Doug Ford clearly forgot about the cultural genocide that goes on in Canada every single day," commented one Twitter user. "He forgot the killing and mistreatment of Canada's indigenous peoples. They still face racism, discrimination, and the effects of trying to be wiped out."
"Canada doesn't have racism. Ontarian Premier Doug Ford just declared that it doesn't, so it must be true," wrote another sarcastically.
"Congrats Canada! Wait until non-whites in Canada find out they were all wrong about experiencing racism. Boy will they be embarrassed."
#ONpoli— T.O. Resident (@TO_Resident) June 2, 2020
Yep - no racism in Canada... no way!
Oh - and totally unrelated... here's Doug Ford's cabinet: pic.twitter.com/QNVwNdRh3d
In addition to expressing their disbelief and dissapointment over what the premier said this afternoon, many Ontario residents are slamming Ford's government for cutting funds to the province's anti-racism directorate after taking office.
"Reminder that Doug Ford didnt just cut public funding and funding to uphold the standards of seniors care, he also cut anti-racism funding," wrote one Twitter user in response to the comments.
"He did however boost police pay and made it harder to go after the worst cops."
"In the last two years, Ford cut all funding to programs that support victims of racism, starting with police oversight and accountability measures," wrote another.
"Actions speak louder than words and his words are a blatant lie."
This is an incredibly problematic statement. We live in a country with systemic racism and oppression. We live in a country where people fear and fight for their lives. We live on STOLEN LAND. @fordnation make no mistake, this is your privilege speaking-go educate yourself! https://t.co/1pCzOrC9Ve— Kait Gallant ❂ (@KittyKaitee) June 2, 2020
When asked today about these cuts to the Ontario anti-racism directorate, and about accusations that his government hasn't responded quickly enough to calls for race-based data collection in the fight against COVID-19, Ford said the following:
"We support the funding to the tune of $5 million... They didn't spend $200,000 one year, so we kept it the same. We didn't cut it, they didn't use it... but by no means are we out there cutting it. We're actually going to enhance it."
"I won't tolerate, even for a second, any racism, no matter if it's the black community or any minotiry community. Never have, never will," continued the premier.
"I don't care who it is, I'll come down like a ton of bricks on them. We have the most multicultural jurisdiction probably anywhere in North America. I won't tolerate it whatsoever. Not for a second."
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