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Racism in Canada: A myth or a fact?

According to a ranking and analysis project by the U.S. News & World Report,

Canada ranks number one globally in quality of life and social purpose!

Does this mean that racism does not exist in Canada? The answer is no. Racism continues to be a prevalent issue that prevails throughout Canada.

Canada has a long, documented history of racism. From the mistreatment of indigenous peoples to Japanese-Canadians internment camps & slavery, many people believe that in 2021, Canada has come a long way. However, in light of recent events such as the London Muslim Attack, many people disagree. I, for one, felt somewhat unsafe in public when I heard about the terrorist attack. It made many Muslim families, not only in Ontario but across the country wonder if that could have their family?

With anti-black racism, islamophobia, and other forms of hatred on the rise, it should make us question whether individuals with authority and power are providing enough support and solidarity during these difficult times.

How does the Canadian government respond to racism & discrimination?

The Canadian government has a leading role to play in eliminating systemic racism. It is their responsibility to ensure all Canadians regardless of race, religion or background, benefit equally from public programs and services.

In 2005, the federal government organized Canada’s first approach to fight racism in Canada, entitled Canada’s Action Plan Against Racism (2005-2010). The Department of Canadian heritage led this five-year plan.

In 2010, the Action Plan was evaluated to identify limitations, however there were challenges in measuring the effectiveness of the program. Therefore, the federal government did not renew the plan until 2019, but there were still anti- racism initiatives taking place at the federal level.

From October 2018 to March 2019, the Canadian government launched a study that consulted Canadians, specifically those who experienced racism and discrimination, to gather information to develop the new anti-racism strategy plan.

The strategy was launched in June 2019, known as the Building a Foundation for change: Canada’s Anti-Racism Action Strategy 2019-2022. It highlights the need for the Government of Canada to combat “racism and discrimination that is Anti-Indigenous, Islamophobic, Anti-Semitic, Anti-Black, or homophobic.”

The government made several investments to ensure that goals would be met in municipal, provincial and federal levels. One of their main goals is to address social and employment barriers and bring justice for racialized communities. Their largest investment is in community-based projects, as they allocated $30 million.

How do Politicians respond to racism & discrimination?

In light of the recent terrorist attack committed against the Muslim family in London, Ontario, news spread like wildfire throughout the world. Many politicians attended the memorial in Markham to share her condolences with the community and honour the martyrs.

What are our next steps?

Throughout the years, the Canadian government has been dedicated to creating change and bringing social justice. As citizens of this country, it is our duty to come together as one, regardless of faith differences, race, colour etc. There is a famous saying by Nelson Mandela, “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

Post by Ms. Minahil Haq

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