Thousands of people gather for a peaceful protest in Vancouver, Friday, June 5, 2020 in solidarity with the George Floyd protests across the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Amid anti-racism protests, Trudeau promises to push police body cameras with premiers

Prime minister said everyone should be able to feel safe calling the police

Standing at the Rideau Cottage podium Monday (June 8) morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed to do more to fight systemic racism and police brutality in Canada.

The prime minister has said he watched with “horror and consternation” the police brutality and anti-Black racism in the US., but has been criticized for inaction north of the border. The Liberal government received a failing grade from advocates for its lack of action on the National Inquiry in Missing and Murdered Indigenous Woman and Girls, one year after its completion.

READ MORE: Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

READ MORE: Feds delay national action plan for missing and murdered Indigenous women

On Monday, Trudeau said he will propose equipping police with body-worn cameras to the country’s premiers this week. The prime minister said he discussed the issue with the federal RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki earlier this morning.

“The reality is that many people in this country simply do not feel protected by the police. In fact, they’re afraid of them,” Trudeau said.

The prime minister said Lucki promised “quick, solid action” on how Black Canadians and Indigenous Canadians are treated by police. Trudeau’s words come amid several high-profile, police-involved deaths and assaults.

On Thursday, Chantel Moore, an Indigenous woman, was killed by police during a wellness check in New Brunswick.

Last week, photos emerged of Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam’s bruised and bloody face as a result of an alleged RCMP assault. Adam said his arrest that he says began over expired vehicle registration tags and ended with him facing charges of resisting arrest and assaulting police.

In late May, the family of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a Black woman in Toronto, alleged the police were at fault after she fell from a 24th-floor apartment. Ontario’s police watchdog is investigating.

READ MORE: Indigenous woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

READ MORE: Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

READ MORE: Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Questioned about his attendance of an anti-racism rally in Ottawa where he was seen taking a knee, Trudeau said it was important for him to be there despite COVID-19 restrictions on mass gatherings.

“We are trying to balance very important competing interests,” he said of the balance between forbidding large gatherings amid fears of COVID-19 transmission, but still speaking out against racism.

At a later press conference, chief medical officer Dr. Theresa Tam said it was “unrealistic” for health officials to think people will not protest during a pandemic. Tam said people should assess their own personal risks, as well as wearing masks and using hand sanitizer.

“Public health will be watching very carefully for any increases in transmission because it is setting of risk,” she said. Protesters should monitor and contact their local public health officials if they are concerned about exposure.

However, although COVID-19 is an obvious public health issue, Tam said racism and inequality also affects people’s health.

“Racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism – all those manifestations of stigma and discrimination impact health.”

Tam said discrimination can affect people’s ability to get health care, the amount of violence a person suffers, and lead to chronic stress.

READ MORE: Protests shift to memorializing George Floyd amid push for change


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Policeracism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

UPDATE: Fire above Sparwood no threat to community

Mayor David Wilks reported it may be due to an exposed coal seam

Conservative opposition critic tours through Kootenay riding on listening tour

Pierre Poilievre, the Tory finance critic, gathering local feedback on pandemic supports, recovery issues

EKC makes $5,000 donation to Elk Valley ultrasound campaign

The EKC challenged other businesses to help the campaign hit its $300,000 target

City of Fernie to extend pilot snow removal program

Councillors voted unanimously on Sep. 17 to extend the program due to a lack of data points and disruption due to the pandemic

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Most Read