The murder of George Floyd sparked numerous protests all across the United States. While some of them were peaceful, others involved violence. The police’s reaction and actions confirmed once again that there is an issue of racism and police brutality — perfectly described by GEN. Many people took to Twitter to share videos of violence, particularly against peaceful Americans trying to get their voices heard.
Protests are Happening All Over Canada Too
Protests also took place in other countries, particularly in Canada. Activists gathered in downtown Toronto on May 30th to express their anger towards police cruelty and racism. Canada may differ from the United States, but its citizens stand together with the American public. Vancouver saw a peaceful protest with 3500 people, and Winnipeg is currently planning a demonstration of their own — same applies to Edmonton. Calgarians leapt at a chance to show their support too.
City mayors support their residents’ choice to go outside and be vocal about the injustice. John Tory, mayor of Toronto, voiced his support and emphasized the existence of racism in Toronto and Canada. Mayor of Winnipeg, Brian Bowman, addressed George Floyd’s murder and stated:
“Racism is real.”
Don Iveson, Mayor of Edmonton, published an official statement addressing racism as well.
The Prime Minister Speaks Out about Racism in Canada
Canada also has the support of political leaders. Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, issued a statement on June 2nd, showing his support and addressing the problem. Trudeau admitted that racism exists not only in the United States, but Canada as well. However, when asked if he considers Donald Trump’s decision to send armed troops and use force against the protesters, he paused for 21 seconds, yet didn’t mention Trump in his statement. Trudeau responded as follows:
“We all watch in horror and consternation what’s going on in the United States. It is time to pull people together, but it is time to listen. It is a time to learn what injustices continue despite progress over years and decades,”
“But it is a time for us as Canadians to recognize that we, too, have our challenges, that Black Canadians and racialized Canadians face discrimination as a lived reality every single day.”
The Deputy Prime Minister, Chrystia Freeland, also addressed the issue of racism in Canada:
“I think that it’s really, really important for us to set our own house in order and for us to really be aware of the pain that anti-black racism causes here in our own country, of the reality that we do have systemic discrimination here in Canada, and I think that we as Canadians, all of us, need to take this very traumatic moment for many people in the world as an opportunity to look at what we are doing in Canada and to work hard to do better,”
They both avoided openly criticizing Donald Trump, and the local media took notice. It’s important to point out that the head of government isn’t trying to pretend the problem of racism doesn’t exist. However, condemning Trump’s actions may have been more fruitful than staying politically correct.
Should Trudeau Has Been More Honest?
Canadians took to Twitter to discuss Trudeau’s choice of not addressing Donald Trump directly when he had a chance. Some show understanding and express admiration:
Others were not amused about the leader’s decision to be silent about the American president:
Canadian Police Officers are Angry Too
The Canadian police also voiced their outrage about George Floyd’s death. Examples include:
- A statement from the Edmonton police chief.
- Condemnation from the police chief of London.
- Halifax’s mayor’s decision to equip police with body cameras, as Floyd’s murder triggered countless calls to the mayor’s office, demanding to record police officers while on duty.
What About Not-So-Peaceful Protests?
Despite Canadians’ effort to carry out peaceful protests, Montreal didn’t come through on that promise. What started as a peaceful protest mutated into vandalism, which resulted in 11 people being arrested.
Luckily, Canada’s largest city delivered the promise to keep the protest peaceful, with the Toronto police chief thanking activists for that. The city’s police department also indicated they are monitoring social media to be aware of any new potential protests. The local businesses in the city decided to cover their storefronts with boards.
Toronto has experienced its share of police negligence and racism. Last week, young Regis Korchinski-Paquet fell off a balcony of a high-rise apartment building, while police officers were at her apartment. The protest over the weekend didn’t just focus on George Floyd but mentioned Regis as well. People are now demanding the police wear body cameras, similar to Halifax.
What Now, Canada?
The hope is, all the protests stay peaceful, and no one gets hurt. But regardless of how events unfold, Canada stands with the United States and supports the battle against racism end injustice.