People want to live here becau­se Cana­da is a welco­ming coun­try whe­re all races and cre­eds live toge­ther witho­ut persecution

By Brian Giesbrecht
Senior Fel­low
Fron­tier Cen­tre for Public Policy

Pri­me Mini­ster Justin Tru­de­au recen­tly public­ly con­tra­dic­ted RCMP Com­mis­sio­ner Bren­da Luc­ki for say­ing there’s no sys­te­mic racism within the RCMP.

Actu­al­ly, Luc­ki said she didn’t know what “sys­te­mic racism” is.

In her words, “I have to admit, I real­ly strug­gle with the term ‘sys­te­mic racism.’ I have heard abo­ut five or 10 defi­ni­tions on TV. I think that if sys­te­mic racism is meaning that racism is entren­ched in our poli­cies and pro­ce­du­res, I would say that we don’t have sys­te­mic racism.”

The pri­me mini­ster had none of that. Accor­ding to Tru­de­au, not only was the RCMP “sys­te­mi­cal­ly racist” – wha­te­ver that means – all Canada’s insti­tu­tions are sys­te­mi­cal­ly racist.

A tro­op of his poli­ti­cal sup­por­ters then loy­al­ly repe­ated his mantra.

Yet neither the pri­me mini­ster nor his sup­por­ters were able to give a cohe­rent defi­ni­tion of what being “sys­te­mi­cal­ly racist” was – even tho­ugh they had just bran­ded the RCMP and the who­le coun­try with that racist label.

It gets even wor­se: Tru­de­au has accep­ted that he’s the leader of a coun­try that’s com­mit­ting an ongo­ing geno­ci­de aga­inst Indi­ge­no­us people. When the Mis­sing and Mur­de­red Indi­ge­no­us Girls and Women Inqu­iry made that star­tling pro­no­un­ce­ment in 2019, he agre­ed with it.

This could lead to the non­sen­si­cal conc­lu­sion that eve­ry Cana­dian, inc­lu­ding people of colo­ur, are intent on mur­de­ring even the high­ly-paid Indi­ge­no­us commissioners.

Yet Cana­da is not a racist coun­try and neither are its insti­tu­tions. People from all over the world com­pe­te to immi­gra­te to Cana­da for exac­tly that reason. Cana­da is wide­ly known as a welco­ming coun­try, whe­re all races and cre­eds live toge­ther witho­ut persecution.

Yes, the­re are raci­sts among us, but they are few in number.

And Canada’s poli­ce for­ces have never been so non-racist. In the past, that was not always the case. A gene­ra­tion ago, racism and bru­ta­li­ty were defi­ni­te­ly pro­blems in local and natio­nal poli­ce for­ces. Sin­ce then, deca­des of cul­tu­ral tra­ining and edu­ca­tion have pro­du­ced poli­ce for­ces that are far bet­ter trained.

Whi­le there’s always room for impro­ve­ment and the­re will always be rot­ten apples, that applies to any institution.

Cana­dian poli­ce are pro­fes­sio­nals who do a very dif­fi­cult job and they dese­rve our sup­port. The con­stant under­mi­ning of poli­ce by poli­ti­cians and others saps mora­le and, iro­ni­cal­ly, results in less pro­tec­tion for the very mar­gi­na­li­zed gro­ups the “sys­te­mic racism” ortho­do­xy pre­tends to help: the FIDO effect – for­get it, dri­ve on.

We’re seeing in the Uni­ted Sta­tes what play­ing poli­tics with the race issue results in. Going down the “sys­te­mic racism” rab­bit hole isn’t the answer.

Rather than play that futi­le game, best we indi­vi­du­al­ly adopt the Mar­tin Luther King Jr. phi­lo­so­phy. He asked that we jud­ge people by the­ir cha­rac­ter and not by the colo­ur of the­ir skin. My guess is that 99 per cent of Cana­dians alre­ady do exac­tly that.

Play­ing the “sys­te­mic racism” game leads to per­ma­nent racial and eth­nic divi­sion. I think Luc­ki reco­gni­zes that impor­tant fact. Unfor­tu­na­te­ly, and to keep her job, she was made to public­ly repent – tho­ugh toeing the “sys­te­mic racism” line may not be enough.

Quebec Pre­mier Fran­co­is Legault rema­ins one of Canada’s last leaders to refu­se to kne­el at the “sys­te­mic racism” altar. He righ­tly under­stands that it’s his duty to lead and not to divide.

Brian Gies­brecht, a reti­red jud­ge, is a senior fel­low at the Fron­tier Cen­tre for Public Policy.

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