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Trudeau calls out the Bloc and Legault for denying systemic racism

The Prime Minister also defended NDP leader Jagmeet Singh following an incident in Parliament yesterday.

In this morning’s press briefing, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that he is disappointed that the Bloc Québécois continues to deny the existence of systemic racism in Canada and Quebec, saying that they “and other levels of government” should do so.

A reporter from Le Devoir had asked Trudeau about this denial on the part of Bloc leader Yves-François Blanchet as well as Quebec Premier François Legault, and though Trudeau didn’t criticize him by name, he was clearly referring to Legault as well.

The question also addressed an incident in Parliament yesterday wherein NDP leader Jagmeet Singh called Bloc MP Alain Therrien a racist for blocking a bill recognizing the existence of systemic racism in the RCMP — Therrien also supposedly gave Singh a dismissive hand gesture. Singh has refused to apologize and was ejected from Parliament yesterday.

“First of all, it is disappointing that the Bloc Québécois continues to refuse to accept that systemic discrimination, systemic racism exists in every part of our country and in all are in situations,” Justin Trudeau said. “Recognizing systemic discrimination is the important first step towards being able to address it and ensure better opportunities, outcomes and lived realities for racialized Canadians and Indigenous Canadians particularly. I do hope that the Bloc and other organizations and levels of government will recognize that systemic discrimination and racism exist in order to be better able to address it.

“It is not for me to criticize any Canadian, particularly not the only racialized leader in the House of Commons, for making other people uncomfortable by calling them out for not recognizing systemic discrimination. I think we need to recognize it. These conversations are going to make people uncomfortable but it has been the lived reality of racialized and Indigenous Canadians for far too long and we need to continue to move forward in a way that attempts to bring people together. But yes, we are going to make people uneasy and recognizing that things have to change.”

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