George Floyd’s needless death, at the hands of white Minneapolis police officers, sparked protests throughout North America. They have been held in most Canadian cities and many towns. A Black Lives Matter rally will be held in Campbell River’s Spirit Square at 11 AM on Saturday, June 6th, 2020.

One of the event organizers, Taylor Ellis, told the Campbell River Mirror, “Racism is a problem in both Canada and in the U.S., and in Canada we’re just kind of brushing it under the rug. It’s easier to just look at the States and what’s going on down there and say that ‘Canada’s not that bad.’ I feel like we need to shed light on how it’s also happening here. We can’t ignore it and say it’s not that bad here. It is and we need to bring justice to the people who have been murdered for the colour of their skin.”

More Likely To Be Jailed

I have had a couple of African friends over the years, but am basically so removed from this issue that I would really prefer to hear from someone with more insight. Never-the-less, there are some facts that are hard to ignore.

According to the John Howard Society

“An analysis of 10,000 arrests in Toronto showed that Blacks were 50% more likely to be taken to a police station for processing after arrest, and 100% more likely to be held overnight than were whites, even taking into account criminal history and age.  When given bail, they had more conditions imposed.” 

“The extent to which blacks and Aboriginals are over represented in Canadian correctional institutions is similar to that of African Americans in the United States”.  Blacks are over represented in federal prisons by more than 300% vs their population, while for Aboriginals the over representation is nearly 500%. The same disparities exist in provincial jails.” 

More Likely To Be  Killed

team of CBC researchers found that a disproportionate percentage of the Canadians killed in encounters with police, between 2000 -2017, are indigenous or Black.  For example: 

  • “black people in Toronto made up on average 8.3% of the population during the 17-year window, but represent nearly 37% of the victims.
  • In Winnipeg, Indigenous people represent on average 10.6% of the population, but account for nearly two thirds of victims.

I believe this says a lot more about our society’s attitudes, than Black or Indigenous peoples.

Campbell River RCMP Statement

The Campbell River RCMP issued a public statement about tomorrow’s rally in Spirit Square 

“ … The Campbell River RCMP supports this peaceful rally, all the while encouraging the public to stay safe and use social distancing.”

“We acknowledge that racism is alive here in Canada and want to reassure the public that the RCMP does not condone behaviour which discriminates against an individual in any capacity. We do not tolerate bullying of any kind, period” says Inspector Jeff Preston. “This is the time to show compassion and empathy for one another and not hatred.”

Poster at top of page adapted from Taylor Ellis’ Facebook page by Roy L Hales