Justin Trudeau systemic racism police forces institutions RCMP

Justin Trudeau: systemic racism exists in all police forces, including RCMP

“It is a difficult and uncomfortable conversation.”

In this morning’s press briefing at Régimbal Awards and Promotions in Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded to a question about systemic racism in the RCMP by stating that it exists across all institutions and police forces in Canada.

“Systemic racism is an issue right across the country in all our institutions, including in all our police forces, including in the RCMP,” Justin Trudeau said. “That’s what systemic racism is. In many cases it’s not deliberate, it’s not intentional. It’s not aggressive individual acts of racism, although those obviously exist. It is recognizing that the systems we have built over the past generations have not always treated people of racialized backgrounds, of Indigenous backgrounds, fairly through the very construction of the systems that exist. That’s why it’s so difficult to address, because it does require us to look at the very building blocks of our institutions and of our country and say, ‘Okay, this outcome isn’t quite fair. We’re not quite bringing in or creating enough success for everyone.’ That people of privilege have an easier time than people who face discrimination. So it’s a difficult and an uncomfortable conversation. And there are people who highlight that, ‘Well, it’s painting all our institutions with a negative brush and it’s not being proud of the Canada that we have built and that our ancestors have built.’ Nonsense. Canadian exceptionalism isn’t thinking that we are the best, it’s knowing that we could be. It’s knowing that this country remains a work in progress — that we can and we must do better. So as much as we admire and support the RCMP, we know we need to do better. It’s not just the individual examples that we’ve seen. It’s the issues faced by Canadians of diverse backgrounds over years, decades and generations. This is a moment where Canadians are recognizing that there is unfairness built into our system, that it is unfair seemingly towards the same groups of people and that’s what we have to tackle together. But that’s what I know Canadians want to tackle together.”

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