© Stephen MaturenTwo men wear shirts stating
There’s no place in Ontario for racism, Premier Doug Ford says.
The premier called what happened to George Floyd — asphyxiated under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer now charged with his murder — “disgusting” as protests continue in the United States, Canada and elsewhere around the world.
“I’ve always stood up, my family has always stood up for the black community, anyone in the minority community,” Ford said Tuesday. “We have zero tolerance for racism — zero tolerance.
“There are always bad apples, no matter what profession it is, but, I can tell you, the black community knows I have their back, and I will always have their back.”
Ford was responding to criticism from Liberal MPP Michael Coteau that his Progressive Conservative government has failed to achieve any of the commitments in the three-year-old Anti-Racism Act of Ontario.
The act calls for a three-year anti-racism strategy, the collection of race-based data across government ministries, public consultations and an anti-racism campaign for the education system, Coteau said.
“Premier, the first question I asked you in this legislature almost two years ago was, ‘Do you believe systemic racism is real?’ which you failed to answer,” Coteau asked Ford at Queen’s Park Tuesday.
“I’ll ask you again: Do you believe that systemic racism and anti-black racism is real? If so, what are you going to do as the premier of this great province to combat these forms of racism?”
Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, who has responsibility for the Anti-Racism Directorate, said cross-ministry work is underway, and the Ministry of Health has proactively chosen to trace race-based data for COVID-19.