The Public Service Alliance of Canada joins the condemnation of the many incidents of racism over the course of the current federal election campaign, including Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s past wearing of brownface and blackface on several occasions.
“The photos and video of the Liberal leader are shocking and caused serious harm to black and other racialized people in Canada, as did some of the public discourse that followed,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC national president. “Clearly there is an urgent need for Canada, as a country, to address systemic racism much more urgently and effectively, and our union has a role to play to make sure that concrete action is taken.”
Aylward noted the photos and video of Trudeau are not the only incidents that have made racism a defining issue in the election campaign. There have been allegations of candidates engaging in racist and hateful behaviour. Also, racialized candidates, including NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, have been subjected to overt acts of racism, and have had to counter both conscious and unconscious biases of the media, the public and voters.
“What we need is a real action plan to defeat racism—one that addresses the political, legal, economic and social inequities and gives redress to black and other racialized people,” said Aylward. “And we must look at the platforms of each political party running in this election to see if they are going to deliver such a plan.”
Aylward also called on PSAC members to take individual action to defeat racism:
- Get educated about racism and anti-black racism;
- Challenge our own unconscious biases;
- Find opportunities to have conversations that challenge negative stereotypes such as blackface;
- Challenge racism when it shows up in the workplace;
- Engage in actions that support anti-racism and anti-black racism initiatives in communities and workplaces.
Some resources that are useful in raising our awareness include:
- A Better Way Forward: Ontario 3-Year Anti-Racism Strategic Plan (Ontario Human Rights Commission)
- Anti-Black Racism Strategy (Ontario Human Rights Commission)