Jagmeet Singh press prime minister Trudeau to take action to address the problem of systemic racism within the RCMP.
July 8, 2020 15h20
Updated at 17h02
Singh: the intrusion at Rideau Hall illustrates the systemic racism
The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — If the intruder Rideau Hall had been a person of color, the outcome of the police operation would have been more dramatic, said on Wednesday the leader of the New democratic Party (NDP), Jagmeet Singh.
Mr. Singh, speaking to journalists on Parliament hill, said that this event was in contrast with other over the last few weeks have seen of the police killing of Aboriginal people and people of color, and it reminded us all how systemic racism is real”.
Corey Hurren faces 22 counts related to firearms, but also threats to the place of the prime minister Justin Trudeau. The reservist and businessman in Manitoba is being held in an Ottawa jail pending further proceedings.
According to the royal Canadian mounted police (RCMP), Corey Hurren was arrested on the morning of 2 July at about 200 meters from the front door of the temporary residence of the prime minister in Ottawa. It would have previously stuck with his truck in grills the property of Rideau Hall, and then would have run with a loaded firearm in the direction of the residence of Trudeau, who were not present at this time.
The police have indicated that they have had talks with Corey Hurren, who was always armed, for an hour and a half prior to his arrest without incident.
Mr Singh said he was happy that Mr. Trudeau and his family were able to be safe – they were not at the residence at that time – and said that he regarded the event as “domestic terrorism”.
And when he was asked if he thought the incident would have taken a tragic turn if the suspect had been a person of color, Mr. Singh simply replied: “Yes.”
Mr. Singh mentioned Ejaz Choudry, a man 62 years old who was shot and killed by police in Mississauga, Ontario, on 22 June, after his family has called a help line non-urgent, concerned that Mr Choudry does not take his medication. The man had received a diagnosis of schizophrenia, said his family after his death.
“This contrast – someone has presented himself to potentially kill the prime minister of Canada, or with weapons in his home, and this person has been arrested without violence, and you have the other case of a person who has been killed in her home, said Mr. Singh. For me, it is what it is when we talk about systemic racism in the police force, this disparity.”
Among the other recent interventions involving police officers that resulted in fatalities include:
- Chantel Moore, an elderly Native 26-year-old who was shot and killed by a police officer who had been sent to his home to verify his state of health in Edmundston, New Brunswick, on June 4;
- Rodney Levi, a Native 48-year-old struggling with mental health issues who was killed by police near Miramichi, New Brunswick, on the 12th of June;
- Regis Korchinski-Packet, a black woman, of Toronto, aged 29 years, died after falling from a balcony of the 24th floor while the police were in the apartment for a family dispute following which Ms. Korchinski-Package was in distress.
The member of parliament for the green Party Elizabeth May has pronounced some of their names in the official record of the debates of the House of commons on Wednesday, when she asked if it was time to reconsider the way in which the so-called “controls of well-being” are performed by triggering a federal investigation.
The federal minister of public Safety, Bill Blair, has argued that most of the time, such incidents end peacefully, but he said that Ottawa was working with all levels of government to create national standards on the use of force by the police and to provide training on de-escalation.
Mr. Singh also said that Mr. Trudeau had to actually do something to solve the problem of systemic racism within the RCMP. He recalled that last fall, when images of Mr. Trudeau in “blackface” on a number of old photos have emerged, Mr. Trudeau has asked to be judged by his actions against racism.
These actions, ruled Mr Singh, have been non-existent.
“The more that he has done, it is a vague reference to cameras and equipment (for police)”, launched by Mr. Singh.
“The fact that the president Trump, who has been a disaster on this issue, who said things hateful, and I have denounced it, has done more in terms of concrete changes to policies that the prime minister of Canada, who says he is an ally, it really upsets me. He has literally done nothing.”
In mid-June, when demonstrations erupted across the United States after George Floyd is suffocated by a police officer kneeling on his neck, Mr. Trump has signed a decree prohibiting the “taking effect” unless the life of a police officer is in danger.
Mr. Singh has argued that the prime minister had to make gestures clear, including a revision of the budget of the RCMP to transfer some resources to community-based services so that this is no longer the norm that the police respond to mental health crisis. He also hopes the collection of data on the use of force and the commitment to end racial profiling by law enforcement.
Shortly after the statements made by Mr. Singh, Mr. Trudeau said that his firm had established a plan of work for the summer in order to take concrete measures to combat systemic racism.
Ministers have been appointed to explore reforms to the justice system, the police structures and the use of force; to improve access to financial capital; to consider better protections for temporary foreign workers and to formulate a legislation to recognize the services of the First Nations policing as an essential service.
“We have bread on the board,” said Mr. Trudeau. We are ready for it. The fight against systemic racism, the unconscious prejudices and discrimination is a top priority for our government.”